Troparion – Tone 4
You imitated the ways of zealous Elijah,
and followed the straight path of John the Baptist.
You became a desert dweller
and strengthened the world by your prayers.
Father Anthony, intercede with Christ our God that our souls may be saved.
Kontakion – Tone 2
You rejected the tumult of this life
and lived your life to the end in solitude,
imitating the Baptist in every way.
With him we honor you, most venerable Anthony, foundation of the Fathers.
St. Anthony was born into a wealthy family. When his parents died, he and his sister shared their wealth. Since his sister was a minor, he made sure she was cared for and then gave away all his portion of the inheritance to the poor and went into the desert to live the life of asceticism as a monk. St. Anthony took to heart the words of the Lord: “If you desire to be perfect, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow me” (Mark 10:21). Many people imitated his example and went and lived close to him, thus “populating the desert.” St. Anthony is considered the Father of Orthodox Monasticism, for his kind of monasticism, that of “living alone with God as his only companion,” remained the most cherished monastic ideal for the monks of the Christian Orthodox Church throughout the ages.
While in the desert, St. Anthony preoccupied himself with prayer and study. Before teaching himself how to read and write, it is said that he memorized most of the Sacred Scriptures simply by having other monks read God’s Word to him!
St. Anthony was committed to refining the rules of monasticism and to establishing a number of monasteries throughout Egypt and the surrounding region. Soon his fame spread throughout the East, and those who thirsted for spiritual fulfillment constantly sought his wise counsel. Once when a number of Greek philosophers tried to test him and impress him with their knowledge, he posed this profound question to them: “Which is older: the book, or the wisdom it contains?” St. Anthony used to say “Learn to desire humility, for that will cover your sins. All sin is hateful to God, but the most hateful of all is pride of heart. Do not consider yourself learned or wise, or all your toil will be lost and your ship will arrive empty at the shore…If you have great power, threaten no man with death; know that according to nature you also are subject to death and that each soul takes off its body as its final clothing.”
Because of the great respect that the entire Church had for him, St. Anthony was invited to attend the First Ecumenical Council in Nicea in 325 A.D. Although he held neither title nor power, he was called upon to give a defense of the Orthodox faith concerning the Divinity of Christ against the Arian heresy.
St. Anthony died in 356 A.D. at the age of 105 in his beloved desert monastery.
and from here Nicole Khoury of St. Antonios, Halifax, wrote the following:
“I never really paid attention to St. Anthony it wasn’t until a little while ago I read his story. I never knew what made him great or what was it that made him a Saint. But now I know what made him so close to God! See everyone wants to be perfect and no one knows how.
Everyone thinks that it all comes in your skills, good grades, and a polite manner. But now I know that ‘perfect’ isn’t really the skills or the talent; ‘perfect’ is God’s doing. Feeding God when he was hungry; clothing God when he had no clothes; helping Him when he was helpless.
In our eyes St. Anthony was just feeding the hungry, giving to the poor; but in God’s eyes St. Anthony was feeding God, clothing God, and helping God when He needed help and that’s what I think made him the honorable and holy Saint that he is today.”