ANTONY (Saint) Abbot (January 17) (4th century) The “Patriarch” of the monastic life, as was his contemporary, Saint Paul, the first hermit, of the eremitical. Born at Coma, near Heraclea in Upper Egypt (A.D. 251), he, after the decease of his parents, well-to-do Egyptians, retired into the solitudes of the neighbouring desert, where by dint of prayer and penance he overcame the most terrible temptations. Numerous disciples soon flocked to him, and (A.D. 305) he founded his first monastery in the Thebais. The awful persecution of Christianity at the close of the third century, by driving countless men and women as fugitives into the wilds surrounding the valley of the Nile, no doubt quickened the impulse felt by many in all ages to separate themselves permanently from the world. Saint Antony’s wise government of his monks, coupled with his supernatural gifts, spread his fame both in the East and in the West and enabled him to contribute efficaciously to the victory of the Catholics over the Arians at the Council of Nicaea in A.D. 325. Saint Antony died, A.D. 356, at the age of one hundred and five. From the submissiveness of animals to him, he is regarded as the Patron Saint of herdsmen. His life, written by Saint Athanasius, is a religious classic.