Known as the Father of All Monks, St. Anthony the Great was a Christian saint from Egypt, and a prominent leader among the Desert Fathers. He is often erroneously considered the first monk, but as his biography and other sources make clear, there were many ascetics before him. Anthony was, Accounts of Anthony enduring supernatural temptation during his sojourn in the Eastern Desert of Egypt inspired the often-repeated subject of the temptation of St. Anthony in Western art and literature.however, the first known ascetic going into the wilderness (about AD 270–271), a geographical move that seems to have contributed to his renown.
One day after a teaching on Jesus saying to the people, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasures in heaven; and come, follow Me" (Matthew 19:21), St. Anthony sold everything he owned, gave the proceeds to the poor, and left the city behind to live in the desert.
Although he held no titles or position, his holiness marked him as one whose wisdom commanded respect. When the Synod of Nicea was convened, he was invited to participate. His eloquent defense of the Orthodox doctrine concerning the person of Jesus Christ was instrumental in weakening the position of Arianism. His witness led to the eventual and complete elimination of Arianism.
He instructed his followers to bury his body in an unmarked, secret grave, lest his body become an object of veneration. The monastic rules of Saint Anthony, the "patriarch" of monastic life, have served as the basis for countless monasteries.
Anthony is appealed to against infectious diseases, particularly skin diseases. In the past, many such afflictions, including ergotism, erysipelas, and shingles, were historically referred to as St. Anthony's fire.
Read "Saint Anthony the Great: Angel of the Desert" Translated from the Greek by Thomas Arnis.
Troparion to Saint Anthony the Great (Arabic)