On his Jan. 17 feast day, both Eastern and Western Catholics celebrate the life and legacy of St. Anthony of Egypt, the founder of Christian monasticism whose radical approach to discipleship permanently impacted the Church.
In Egypt’s Coptic Catholic and Orthodox Churches, which have a special devotion to the native saint, his feast day is celebrated on Jan. 30.
Anthony was born around 251, to wealthy parents who owned land in the present-day Faiyum region near Cairo. During this time, the Catholic Church was rapidly spreading its influence throughout the vast expanses of the Roman empire, while the empire remained officially pagan and did not legally recognize the new religion.
In the course of his remarkable and extraordinarily long life, Anthony would live to see the Emperor Constantine’s establishment of Christianity as the official religion of the Roman empire. Anthony himself, however, would establish something more lasting – by becoming the spiritual father of the monastic communities that have existed throughout the subsequent history of the Church.
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Encyclopedia Britannica article
Venerable and God-bearing Father Anthony the Great from the Orethodox Church in America
Christianity Today Anthony of Egypt