St. Anthony the Abbot


 
St. Anthony the Abbot Feast Day:
Roman Rite Calendar - 01/17


Patron Of: Against Eczema, Against Epilepsy, Domestic Animals, Grave Diggers, Hermits, Monks, Pigs, Swineherds

Also known as
    Anthony of Egypt
    Anthony the Great
    Father of Cenobites
    Father of Western Monasticism

Memorial
    17 January

Profile
    Following the death of his parents when he was about 20, he insured that his sister completed her education, then sold his house, furniture, and the land he owned, gave the proceeds to the poor, joined the anchorites who lived nearby, and moved into an empty sepulchre. At age 35 he moved alone to the desert, living 20 years in an abandoned fort.

    Anthony barricaded the place for solitude, but admirers broke in. He miraculously healed people, and agreed to be the spiritual counselor of others. His recommendation was to base life on the Gospel. Word spread, and so many disciples arrived that Anthony founded two monasteries on the Nile, one at Pispir, one at Arsinoe. Many of those who lived near him supported themselves by making baskets and brushes, and from that came his patronage of those trades.

    Anthony briefly left his seclusion in 311, going to Alexandria to fight Arianism, and to comfort the victims of Maximinus' persecution. At some point in his life, he met with his sister again. She, too, had withdrawn from the world, and directed a community of nuns. Anthony retired to the desert, living in a cave on Mount Colzim.

    Descriptions paint him as uniformly modest and courteous. His example led many to take up the monastic life, and to follow his way. Friend late in life of Saint Paul the Hermit, and buried the aged anchorite, leading to his patronage of gravediggers. His biography was written by his friend Saint Athanasius.

    His relationship with pigs and patronage of swineherds is a little complicated. Skin diseases were sometimes treated with applications of pork fat, which reduced inflammation and itching. As Anthony's intervention aided in the same conditions, he was shown in art accompanied by a pig. People who saw the art work, but did not have it explained, thought there was a direct connection between Anthony and pigs - and people who worked with swine took him as their patron.

Born
    251 at Heracleus, Egypt

Died
    356 at Mount Colzim of natural causes; relics near Vienne

Canonized
    Pre-Congregation

Name Meaning
    inestimable

Patronage
    against eczema
    against epilepsy
    against ergotism
    against erysipelas
    against pestilence
    against skin diseases
    against skin rashes
    amputees
    animals
    basket makers
    basket weavers
    brushmakers
    Burgio, Sicily, Italy
    butchers
    Canas, Brazil
    Castrofilippo, Agrigento, Italy
    cemetery workers
    Chiaravalle, Ancona, Italy
    domestic animals
    epileptics
    Fontainemore, Italy
    gravediggers
    graveyards
    hermits
    hogs
    Hospitallers
    monks
    Mook, Netherlands
    pigs
    relief from pestilence
    Saint Anthony's fire
    swine
    swineherds



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All information used with permission of the Patron Saint Index.

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