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Selected Lives of

Selected Lives of

Orthodox Saints


Selected Lives of 1

Orthodox Saints 1

Saint Anthony. 1

Saint Barbara. 3

Saint Basil the Great. 5

Saint Catherine. 12

Saints Constantine and Helen. 17

Saints Cosmas and Damianos the Benevolent. 18

Saint Christina. 20

Saint Cyrus and John the Benevolent. 22

Saint Demetrios. 23

Saint Eugenia. 28

Saint Euphemia. 32

Forty Martyrs of Sebaste. 34

Saint Fotini. 36

Saint George — the Great Martyr. 38

Saint Gerasimos. 43

Saint Gregory the Theologian. 45

Saint Haralambos. 47

Archbishop Innocent of Alaska. 49

Saint Irene. 52

Saint Isidoros and Saint Myrope. 54

Saint John The Baptist. 55

Saint John Chrysostom. 57

St. John the Russian. 66

Juvenal and Peter the Aleut America’s Protomartyrs. 68

Martyr Julian of Tarsus. 69

Saint Justin Martyr, the Philosopher. 70

Saint Kyriaki. 73

Saint Marcella of Chios. 74

Saint Marina. 76

St. Martin of Tours. 78

Saint Matrona of Chios. 80

Saint Nicholas the Miraculous. 83

Saint Nicholas (Kassatkin) enlightener of Japan. 87

Saint Panteleimon. 89

Saint Paraskevi. 93

Saint Phanourios. 96

Saint Philothei. 98

Saint Prokopios. 99

Saint Sophia and her three daughters
Faith, Hope and Love. 101

Saint Spyridon the Miraculous. 102

Saint Stelianos. 106

Saint Theodore Stratilates. 107

Saint Theodore Tyron. 109

Saint Tryphon. 111

Saint Anthony.

(Celebrated January 17).


nthony, the founder of monasticism, was born in Egypt in the year 251 of very pious parents. As a youth, he loathed the burden of studying and found his classmates uninteresting. His education was therefore limited. He did, however, attend church faithfully with his parents and observed the services intensely, trying to enrich his spiritual growth. Progress in itself did not interest him, for he was completely satisfied with what he had.

After the death of his parents, Anthony lived with his sister, and between his 18th and 20th birthdays, he took care of family affairs. During this time he also studied the lives and miracles of the Saints. One day he attended the liturgy and heard the words of Jesus to the wealthy young man, “If thou wilt be perfect, go sell all that thou hast, give it to the poor and come follow me…”

So impressed was he by these words that he immediately set forth to do as Christ had told the young man. He gave his three-hundred plots of farm land to the hungry and all his money to the poor. He entrusted his sister to a Christian home for virgins and he returned to his house, for at this time there were no monasteries. Those who wanted to meditate would build cells a short distance from the city and live there. This is what Anthony did.

An elderly man in a nearby village lived the life of a hermit. In order to support himself, he would handcraft articles and sell them. Because of his virtuosity, he was well liked by all his neighbors. Anthony followed the example set by this man — he prayed, meditated, and fasted in order to overcome the many temptations which are common to young men. He practiced self denial by remaining awake days at a time, eating once a day, sometimes once every two days, and sleeping on the ground. The philosophy behind his actions was that young men should torture their bodies as much as possible so that their resistance to physical and spiritual sickness would be higher.

At the age of thirty-five, Anthony went to the old hermit in the neighboring village. He asked him to accompany him in the desert, away from temptation and sin. The old man did not want to go because of his age and because it was not an accepted practice at that time. Anthony departed on his own. In the desert, he found a derelict fortress in which he barricaded himself. No one entered and he did not leave. A stream which ran within the old structure, and loaves of bread brought to him every six months and left outside the door, were the sum total of his sustenance. Many of Anthony’s friends would come to the fortress and remain outside. They would hear voices coming from within telling them to depart. However, they could not understand whose voices they were, since Anthony was the only one inside.

He remained there many years and many men came to him expressing a desire to follow his example, living the life of a hermit, and undergoing spiritual struggles. He taught his brothers to prefer their love for Christ over everything else. In time, this became the first monastery, established in 305 A.D. It is for this reason that Saint Anthony is generally known as the Father of Monasticism. From this one brotherhood, many more sprouted throughout the known world. Rules were soon established which were to be followed by all hermit monks.

During the time of the persecutions under the Emperor Maximian, Anthony and several other monks traveled to Alexandria to encourage and comfort the many suffering Christians. In 325, Saint Anthony and his monks helped defeat the Arian heretics at the First Ecumenical Council in Nicaea.

Many miracles are attributed to this religious father.

A soldier named Martinianos arrived at the monastery with his daughter who was extremely ill. He asked Anthony to cure his daughter. The soldier was told that he was a sinner, but if he put his faith in Christ, his daughter would be cured. The father and Saint Anthony prayed together, and the girl was cured. News of the miracle spread and soon many more came and waited outside the monastery to be healed. His solitude now endangered, Anthony decided to leave for Upper Thevaeda where he was unknown. Taking some loaves of bread, he went to the sea hoping to find a ship. Suddenly, he heard a voice asking him where he was going. He responded by saying that the crowds were annoying him and that he was going to Upper Thevaeda. The voice told him that he would be annoyed at Thevaeda also. To find what he sought, he had to go to the outer wilderness. Just then, a band of Saracens passed by; overjoyed at having Anthony as their companion, they took him to the desert. The Saracens gave him some bread and left him on a mountain.

When his brothers discovered where he was, they brought him his necessities. Anthony pitied them, since they had to travel a great distance to bring him food; therefore, he asked them to bring him some seeds for planting. He cleared a field and planted the seeds which were watered by a near-by stream. The seeds yielded wheat, and thus, Anthony became self-supporting. Seeing that people were still coming to receive his blessing, he decided to also plant some greens with which to feed them.

Many wild animals came and drank from the stream, causing a great amount of damage to his crops in the process. Catching one of the animals, he said to it, “I have done you no harm, yet you keep coming here and ruining my crops; therefore, leave now and never return to this spot.” After this, no animal came to drink from the stream.

Several monks came to the mountain asking Anthony to visit their monastery and preach to the other brothers. The Saint agreed, but on the way to the monastery, their water supply was exhausted. They were near death as Anthony lifted his hands and prayed to God. Miraculously, water sprang from the sand, and the monks were saved. After arriving at the monastery, he preached to the brothers about spiritual struggles and the rules of monasticism. While in this area, Anthony visited his sister, who had now become a nun, and then he returned to his mountain. Since his location was now disclosed, many monks came to hear Anthony’s words of wisdom and philosophy.

A ruler of Egypt, named Flonton suffered from epilepsy and almost complete blindness. Hearing of the miracles of Saint Anthony, Flonton decided to seek his help. Anthony told him to return home and he would be cured. When he arrived in Alexandria, his vision and epilepsy were indeed cured.

At another time, a girl from Tripoli had become extremely ill and paralyzed. Her parents, having heard of the Saint’s powers, took her to him. They were accompanied by several monks. When they arrived at the mountain, the monks went ahead to tell him of the girl’s arrival and sickness. Anthony told them to return to the girl for she had been cured by the mercy of Christ. The monks returned and found the girl in perfect health.

Anthony’s fame reached even to Constantinople. Constantine the Great and one of his sons would write letters to Anthony asking for his blessing and advice. He advised them to remember that Christ was the true King and that they should emulate Him; they should be philanthropists, help the poor, and rule their Empire justly.

It should be remembered that, Saint Anthony, as well as the other great workers of the Church, were only vehicles through which Christ would perform miracles. They themselves did not possess this holy ability, but were worthy enough to act as Christ’s agents.

Anthony died on January 17, 356 A.D. at the age of one-hundred and five. He instructed two of his monks to bury him secretly. This they did, and his resting place is still unknown.

From his history, the reader can understand the type of person that Saint Anthony was. From his youth to his death, he engaged in spiritual struggles and in this respect, he is considered the Father of Monasticism, an institution which had perpetuated our Orthodox Faith throughout its history.

2014-07-19 18:44
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