This biography of St. Anthony—the recognized father of monasticism—is widely considered the most important document of early monasticism. Athanasius' The Life of Antony is one of the foremost classics of Christian asceticism. It tells the spiritual story of St. Antony, the founder of Christian monasticism. Written at the request of the desert monks of Egypt to provide "an ideal pattern of the ascetical life," it immediately became astonishingly popular. This work contributed greatly to the establishment of monastic life in Western Christianity. From a literary perspective, it created a new Christian genre for the lives of saints.
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“there were not yet so many monasteries in Egypt, and no monk even knew of the faraway desert” (Page 20)
“there he was a daily martyr to his conscience, ever fighting the battles of the Faith” (Page 60)
“Then he assimilated in himself what he had obtained from each and devoted all his energies to realizing in himself the virtues of all.” (Page 21)
“going to Alexandria and publicly denouncing the Arian heretics and ‘Christ-fighters’” (Page 6)
“They should flee conceit and pray continually, sing Psalms before sleeping and after, commit to heart the commandments enjoined in the Scriptures, and hark back to the deeds of the saints, that the soul by keeping in mind the commandments might train itself on the example of their zeal.” (Page 67)
Athanasius of Alexandria, also called Athanasius the Great, Athanasius the Confessor or, primarily in the Coptic Orthodox Church, Athanasius the Apostolic, was the 20th bishop of Alexandria. His on-again-off-again episcopate spanned 45 years, of which over 17 encompassed five exiles, when his episcopate was replaced on the order of four different Roman emperors. Athanasius was a Christian theologian, a Church Father, the chief defender of Trinitarianism against Arianism, and a noted Egyptian leader of the fourth century.