Anthony the Great (Greek: Ἀντώνιος Antṓnios; Arabic: القديس أنطونيوس الكبير; Latin: Antonius; Coptic: Ⲁⲃⲃⲁ Ⲁⲛⲧⲱⲛⲓ; c. 12 January 251 – 17 January 356), was a Christian monk from Egypt, revered since his death as a saint. He is distinguished from other saints named Anthony, such as Anthony of Padua, by various epithets: Anthony of Egypt, Anthony the Abbot, Anthony of the Desert, Anthony the Anchorite, Anthony the Hermit, and Anthony of Thebes. For his importance among the Desert Fathers and to all later Christian monasticism, he is also known as the Father of All Monks. His feast day is celebrated on 17 January among the Orthodox and Catholic churches and on Tobi 22 in the Coptic calendar.
Anthony the Great
|Venerable and God-bearing|
Father of Monasticism
Father of All Monks
|Born||12 January 251 (reputedly)|
Herakleopolis Magna, Egypt
|Died||17 January 356 105) (aged|
Mount Colzim, Egypt
|Venerated in||Assyrian Church of the East|
Eastern Orthodox Church
Oriental Orthodox Churches
Roman Catholic Church
Eastern Catholic Church
|Major shrine||Monastery of St. Anthony, Egypt |
|Feast||17 January (Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodoxy, Anglican Communion), Lutheranism (ELCA)|
22 Tobi (Coptic Calendar)
|Attributes||bell; pig; book; Tau Cross Tau cross with bell pendant|
|Patronage||Animals, skin diseases, farmers, butchers, basket makers, brushmakers, gravediggers, Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, Rome|
The biography of Anthony's life by Athanasius of Alexandria helped to spread the concept of Christian monasticism, particularly in Western Europe via its Latin translations. He is often erroneously considered the first Christian monk, but as his biography and other sources make clear, there were many ascetics before him. Anthony was, however, among the first known to go into the wilderness (about AD 270), which seems to have contributed to his renown. Accounts of Anthony enduring supernatural temptation during his sojourn in the Eastern Desert of Egypt inspired the depiction of his temptations in visual art and literature.
Anthony is appealed to against infectious diseases, particularly skin diseases. In the past, many such afflictions, including ergotism, erysipelas, and shingles, were referred to as Saint Anthony's fire.