St Anthony was born in Egypt in 251 to wealthy parents. When he was around 18 years old his parents died leaving him a substantial inheritance of land and the responsibility of caring for his younger sister.
At the age of 34, whilst at church, St Anthony heard the reading of Matthew 19:21 and the words of Christ “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell your possessions, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” St Anthony immediately walked out of church and gave away all his property leaving only that which he and his sister needed to live on. Later he heard the reading of Matthew 6:34, “So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today,” Acting on this, St Anthony gave away the remaining property he had, entrusted his sister to a convent and left the village to begin a life of complete solitude in the desert.
St Anthony was repeatedly tempted by the devil but remained steadfast. His faith attracted a number of disciples to a hermit’s life in the desert and a small monastery was formed at the place. People of all social classes came to him for advice. One of his closest personal friends was St Athanasios, who later became his biographer. St Anthony was widely believed to have carried out miracles during his life and many were converted by him.
St Anthony died in 356 in one of his communities on Mount Kolzion at the age of 105 years.
Feast Day: 17 January