Anthony, Saint

Anthony, Saint ăn´tənē, ăn´thənē [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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