Anthony the Great

Egyptian Christian monk and hermit (died 356)
(Redirected from Saint Anthony)

Saint Anthony the Great (251–356) was a Christian saint, also known as Saint Anthony of Egypt, Saint Anthony of the Desert, Saint Anthony the Anchorite, and honorifically as the Father of All Monks. He was a leader among the Desert Fathers, Christian monks in the Egyptian desert in the 3rd and 4th centuries A.D.

If we would despise the enemy, our thoughts must always be of God and our souls always glad with hope.
To those who have an active belief, reasoned proofs are needless and probably useless.

From St. Athanasius' Life of St. Antony

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  • If we would despise the enemy, our thoughts must always be of God and our souls always glad with hope.
    • Book II, Chapter 10
  • To one whose mind is sound, letters are needless.
    • Book IV, Chapter 17
  • To those who have an active belief, reasoned proofs are needless and probably useless.
    • Book IV, Chapter 17
  • I am going the way of my fathers, as the Scripture says, for I see myself called by the Lord. Be you wary and undo not your long service of God, but be earnest to keep your strong purpose, as though you were but now beginning. You know the demons who plot against you, you know how savage they are and how powerless; therefore, fear them not. Let Christ be as the breath you breathe; in Him put your trust. Live as dying daily, heeding yourselves and remembering the counsels you have heard from me. … So do you also be earnest always to be in union first with the Lord and then with the Saints, that after death, they also may receive you into everlasting tabernacles as known friends. Ponder these things, and mean them. … And now God save you, children, for Antony departs and is with you no more.
    • Book IV, Chapter 20 (his last words), St. Athanasius. Trans. Dom J.B. McLaughlin, O.S.B. St. Antony of the Desert. Rockford: Tan Books and Publishers, Inc, 1995.
  • Whoever hammers a lump of iron, first decides what he is going to make of it, a scythe, a sword, or an axe. Even so we ought to make up our minds what kind of virtue we want to forge or we labour in vain.
    • The Living Testament: The Essential Writings of Christianity Since the Bible (1985), p. 66.
as translated by Benedicta Ward (Cistercian Publications: 1975)
  • Just as fish die if they stay too long out of water, so the monks who loiter outside their cells or pass their time with men of the world lose the intensity of inner peace. So like a fish going towards the sea, we must hurry to reach our cell, for fear that if we delay outside, we will lose our interior watchfulness.
    • Saying 10, Page 3


  • Abba Anthony said, "A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him saying, 'You are mad, you are not like us.'"
    • Saying 25, Page 6


  • Hate the world and all that is in it. Hate all peace that comes from the flesh. Renounce this life, so that you may be alive to God.
    • Saying 33, Page 8


  • Whoever hammers a lump of iron, first decides what he is going to make of it, a scythe, a sword, or an axe. Even so we ought to make up our minds what kind of virtue we want to forge or we labor in vain.
    • Saying 35, Page 8

Quotes about Anthony the Great

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  • As soon as this earth's great elder, the blessed Antony, who prayed for the whole world, departed, everything has been torn apart and is in anguish, and the Wrath devastates Egypt. While he was truly on earth, he extended his hands and prayed and spoke with God all day long. He did not let the Wrath descend on us. Lifting up his thoughts, he kept it from coming down. But now that those hands are closed, no one else can be found who might halt the violence of the Wraththat may devastate the whole region. I write to you therefore because the churches are filled with desolation, and the city streets are filled with blasphemies. Many crimes, fornication, all sorts of filth fill our city. The source of the corruption: the mad minds of the Arians. The Church of God has no ministers, the sanctuaries stand deserted. People have left the churches deserted, empty.
    • Serapion of Thmuis, Ep. ad discipulos Antonii 5, 7–8, 19–20. Translation and adaptation by Harmless, William (2004). Desert Christians: An Introduction to the Literature of Early Monasticism. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-516222-6. 

See also

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