The Life of Saint Antony

The Life of Saint Antony

The Life of Saint Antony

The Life of Saint Antony

Excerpt

The present volume contains the most important document of early monasticism, The Life of St. Antony, whose author is no less a man than the great St. Athanasius himself.

Antony, generally considered the father of Christian monachism or monasticism, was born about the year 250 of well-to-do parents in Middle Egypt. If Sozomen's information is not confused, his home town was Coma. His parents were Christians. Athanasius stresses that the boy was attached to them and to home life, finding school and companionship with other children distasteful.

He was eighteen or twenty years of age when his parents died, leaving him guardian of his younger and only sister. One day, about six months later, he happened to enter the church when he was struck by the reading of the Gospel in which the Lord speaks to the rich young man: If thou wilt be perfect, go sell all that thou hast, and give it to the poor; and come, follow me and thou shalt have treasure in Heaven. Applying this to himself, he went home and distributed his land--a fertile farm of more than two hundred acres--among the townspeople. He sold all his other belongings. He did not wish the goods of the world to hamper himself or his sister, and so he also disposed of the money received, giving it to the poor. Only a small sum was retained for his sister.

But once again as he went to church, he was moved by a lesson of the Gospel: Be not solicitous for the morrow.

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