Known as Antony the Great, he was born to wealth, an Egyptian monk, who exemplified scripture, “Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor.” Mark 10:21b
Antony’s long life spanned the years 251AD – 356AD, and he spent much of that time as a solitary ascetic, practicing personal mortification, devotion to prayer, and manual labor. He was, however, not an antisocial man, and many people sought him out for spiritual guidance and healing.
If we trace his life in years lived, we arrive at the following:
Age 20 Began to practice asceticism
Age 35 Withdrew to absolute solitude on a mountain along the
The Nile named Pispir (now Dayr al-Maymun)
Age 54 Ended his retreat and organized the monastic life of
nearby like-minded hermits
Age 60 Desired to be a martyr in the Roman persecution
of Christians, exposing himself to danger
Age 88 An ardent soldier against the Arian heresy
Age 105 Died of natural causes in a cave on Mt. Kolzim, Egypt
Saint Antony was a Holy Man who lived a holy life. As a result of his example, many adopted an ascetic lifestyle, and Antony earned the title Father of Monasticism. Perhaps the greatest achievement of this quiet, shy man was his ability to inspire the love of God and the assurance of a joyful life without fear.