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On January 17 in the Holy Orthodox Church, we commemorate our righteous and God-bearing Father Anthony the Great.

Anthony was an Egyptian, born about the year 250 A.D. in the village of Koman near Herculea.  Following the deaths of his noble and wealthy parents, he divided the inherited estate with his sister, who was a minor, and provided for her with some relatives.  Anthony distributed his half of the estate to the poor and, he, in his twentieth year, dedicated himself to the ascetical life for which he yearned from his childhood.  In the beginning Anthony lived near his village but, in order to flee the disturbances of people, he withdrew into the wilderness on the shore of the Red Sea. There, he spent twenty years as a recluse not associating with anyone except with God through constant prayer, reflection and contemplation, patiently enduring unspeakable temptations from the devil.  His fame spread throughout the entire world and many disciples gathered around him whom he placed on the path of salvation by his example and words.  Anthony died at age 105, leaving behind an entire army of his disciples.  Even though Anthony was not a scholar, he was a counselor and teacher of the most learned men of that time.  When certain Greek philosophers tempted him with literary wisdom, Anthony shamed them with the question: “Which is older, the understanding or the book?  Which of these two was the cause of the other?”  Filled with many years of great works, Anthony died in the Lord in 355 A.D.

Through his intercessions, O Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy upon us, and save us.  Amen.
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