By Bishop Grigorios of Mesaoria
Today, January 17, our Church commemorates one of the greatest fathers of departing monasticism (anachorites), Venerable and God-bearing Anthony of the Desert and teacher of the monastic state, who is rightly called great, for great deeds he did.
Anthony the Great was born in Upper Egypt in 251 AD. At a young age he consciously decided to devote himself fully to the will of God through monastic life. He distributed his possessions to the poor and withdrew near his home at first, then near his village, and eventually marched into the depths of the Egyptian desert, where he lived with full devotion to spiritual exercise for more than 80 years until his venerable sleep.
His life, written by his disciple Athanasius the Great, Archbishop of Alexandria, is a persumption of salvation and a spiritual guide not only for monks but for every struggling man. Of the many inspired words of Anthony the Great let us cite and retain the following:
“God has given us temperance, forbearance, prudence, patience, sufferance and the like with such great and virtuous strengths. He gave them to us as antidotes and resistances to their respective evils. If we train these strengths and always have them handy, then we will realize that nothing difficult or sad or unbearable is happening to us anymore. Because we will realize that everything is human and our virtues can overcome it.”
Source: Church of Cyprus