Saint Anthony the Great (Mar Mtonios el kbir) was a Christian monastic monk. He lived in Egypt during a flourishing time for Christianity. Saint Anthony was born to devout Christian parents. They died leaving him and his sister orphaned. Anthony took on the responsibility of his sister and took great care of her.
One day Anthony was inspired by reading Matthews Gospel. “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come and follow me.” Matthew 19:21
This moved Anthony, after giving his sister her share of their parents estate he sold his share and distributed to the poor and the churches.
Anthony vowed to live in solitude, he lived in a nearby cave where he spent most of his time fasting and in prayer. Saint Anthony inspired monasticism throughout the east. Monasticism is a religious way of life which renounces worldly possessions to devote oneself fully to spiritual work. Anthony and his way of life was very inspirational that many people would come to see him for advice and healing, some even wanted to live a monastic life also.
In Lebanon there is a monastery dedicated to Saint Anthony in Qozhaya, located in the valley. The Syriac meaning of the valley name ‘Qozhaya’ has been roughly translated to ‘the treasure of life’. Qozhaya is one of the oldest monasteries of the valley of Qadisha (meaning ‘Holy’ in Aramaic), which has sheltered Christian monastic communities for many centuries.
Saint Anthony inspired many to a life free from earthy possessions. In a time where we are so attached to technology, let us be inspired to put down our phone once in a while and use that time that we would normally scroll through our Facebook newsfeed to pray. We pray that technology and material things don’t imprison us from leading humble and prayerful lives.
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