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Saint Anthony

Anthony, Saint (ănˈtənē, ănˈthənē) [key], 251?–c.350, Egyptian hermit, called St. Anthony of Egypt and St. Anthony the Abbot. At the age of 20 he gave away his large inheritance and became a hermit. At 35 he went into seclusion and at that time he experienced, says tradition, every temptation the devil could devise, but he repelled them. A colony of hermits grew up about him, and after 20 years he emerged to rule them in a community, the monks being in solitude except for worship and meals. After a few years he went away to the desert near Thebes, where he lived most of the rest of his long life. St. Anthony was the father of Christian monasticism; his community became a model, particularly in the East, but he did not write the rule ascribed to him. His type of community is seen in the West among the Carthusians. He is a patron of herders. St. Athanasius wrote his life. The temptation of St. Anthony has inspired works of literature, particularly a novel by Flaubert, and became a popular theme early in the history of Western art. Feast: Jan. 17.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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