Commemoration of St. Anton the Hermit
Some time after the spreading of Christianity the hermits’ movement started. Hermits were those persons who devoted themselves to God, went to uninhabited places and deserts and spent their life there praying and fasting. Thus, by God’s will they overcame the human faults and attained spiritual perfection. After many years of ascetic life the hermits were granted the grace of working wonders and healing the sick by means of prayers.
St. Anton the Hermit is the founder of ascetic and monastic life. He was born in the village Koma, Egypt, in 251, in a noble family. After his parents’ death Anton inherited their wealth. Once in the church he listened the evangelical commandment, in which Jesus says: “If you want to be perfect, go and sell all you have and give the money to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven; then come and follow me.” (Mt 19:21). Being led by this commandment, Anton sold all of his property and lived in the spirit of praying, fasting and doing charity. After some time he left his native village and began to live in a cave, where according the hagiographers he struggled against the demons and devils who constantly appeared to him in the appearance of wild beasts. Patiently facing all temptations the saint left for a desert and lived there completely isolated for 20 years. Becoming aware of his ascetic and secluded life, many people left their houses and went the desert to live ascetic life. Upon the request of his spiritual brothers St. Anton came out of his cave and explained the assembled people monastic cannons and rules, which later became the guideline for monastic life. The saint passed away at the age of 105.
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