The American Cyclopædia (1879)/Anthony, Saint

1219719The American Cyclopædia — Anthony, Saint

ANTHONY, Saint. I. Surnamed the Great, born in Upper Egypt in 251, died in 356. He was rich and well educated, but sold all his possessions, gave the money to the poor, and retired into the desert, where he spent a great many years in ascetic solitude. At the age of 54 he was persuaded to become the director of a number of anchorets who wished to enjoy his instructions. They dwelt in detached cells in Fayoom, near Memphis, and from this establishment dates the foundation of the monastic system. St. Anthony twice left his retreat and visited Alexandria: once during the persecution by Maximian in 311, when he hoped to obtain the crown of martyrdom; and again in 355, to support his friend Athanasius against the Arians. During his seclusion he is said to have neglected ablutions, clothed himself simply in a hair shirt, and fought with devils. He was reported to have cured a cutaneous disease known before his time as the “sacred fire,” but afterward as St. Anthony's fire, and later as erysipelas. On this tradition an order bearing his name was founded (1095) for the care of patients with this disease by Gaston, a rich French nobleman, at St. Didier-la-Mothe, in gratitude for a supposed cure wrought on his son by the reputed bones of the saint. II. Of Padua, born in Lisbon, Aug. 15, 1195, died in Padua, June 13, 1231. He was one of the leaders of the newly established order of Franciscan monks, and, desirous of martyrdom, embarked for Africa, was shipwrecked on the coast of Italy, and preached with wonderful eloquence and success in the cities of Montpellier, Toulouse, Bologna, and Padua. He was canonized by Pope Gregory IX. in 1232, and is honored especially in Portugal and Italy.