St. Athanasius Of Alexandria
And St. Antony The Great

St. Athanasius, 20th Pope of Alexandria (See of St. Mark) St. Antony the Great, the First Monk and Father of All Monks

St. Athanasius (A.D. 297-373, left icon) was the 20th Pope of Alexandria and See of St. Mark. He was also a great theologian; he fought Arianism and was persecuted and exiled many times for this reason. Arius taught that Christ was a creature distinct in essence from God. St. Athanasius maintained He was God from God, Light from Light, Very God from Very God, begotten not made, and One in essence with the Father (Consubstantial with the Father). The Council of Nicaea (A.D. 325) condemned Arianism, deciding in favour of St. Athanasius' position, and anathematized all those who say, 'Once He was not,' or 'Before His generation He was not,' or 'He is of other subsistence or essence' or 'created' or 'alterable,' or 'mutable.'

St. Athanasius was also the one who applied the term 'canonical' to the exact 27 books of our canonical New Testament. His many writings include: Against The Heathen; The Treatise On The Incarnation Of The Word; Deposition Of Arius; Apologia Contra Arianos; De Decretis Or Defence Of The Nicene Definition; Apologia Ad Constantium (Defence Before Constantius); Historia Arianorum (History Of The Arians); Four Discourses Against The Arians; Vita St. Antoni; Letters; and many more...

Pope Athanasius wrote Vita St. Antoni (The Life Of St. Antony) between A.D. 356 and 362. St. Antony the Great (right icon) was the first monk in the world and is therefore considered to be the father of all monks. Monasticism began in Egypt with St. Antony about A.D. 250-275 and spread throughout the empire...

St. Antony was by descent an Egyptian: his parents were of good family and possessed considerable wealth, and as they were Christians he also was reared in the same Faith. After the death of his father and mother he was left alone with one little sister: his age was about eighteen or twenty, and on him the care both of home and sister rested.

Now it was not six months after the death of his parents, and going according to custom into the Lord's House, he communed with himself and reflected as he walked how the Apostles left all and followed the Saviour; and how they in the Acts sold their possessions and brought and laid them at the Apostles' feet for distribution to the needy, and what and how great a hope was laid up for them in heaven. Pondering over these things he entered the church, and it happened the Gospel was being read, and he heard the Lord saying to the rich man, 'If thou wouldest be perfect, go and sell that thou hast and give to the poor; and come follow Me and thou shalt have treasure in heaven.' Antony, as though God had put him in mind of the Saints, and the passage had been read on his account, went out immediately from the church, and gave the possessions of his forefathers to the villagers--they were three hundred acres, productive and very fair--that they should be no more a clog upon himself and his sister. And all the rest that was movable he sold, and having got together much money he gave it to the poor, reserving a little however for his sister's sake.

And again as he went into the church, hearing the Lord say in the Gospel, 'be not anxious for the morrow,' he could stay no longer, but went out and gave those things also to the poor. Having committed his sister to known and faithful virgins, and put her into a convent to be brought up, he henceforth devoted himself outside his house to discipline, taking heed to himself and training himself with patience. For there were not yet so many monasteries in Egypt, and no monk at all knew of the distant desert; but all who wished to give heed to themselves practised the discipline in solitude near their own village.

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