By Archimandrite Elpidios Vagianakis (in greek)
SAINT ANTHONY THE GREAT
FOUNDER OF CHRISTIAN MONASTICISM
(Commemorated on January 17th)
HIS CHILDHOOD YEARS
Saint Anthony was born in 251 A.D. in Koma, a small village in south Memphis in Egypt near the banks of the Nile River, during the era of the Roman Emperor Decius, a notorious persecutor of Christians.
His parents were rather wealthy but also devout Christians. By his nature little Anthony was an extremely sweet, polite, and humble child. Everyone loved him as their own child for the goodness and respect which he showed to all people.
He loved everyone, even the most scorned person. Whenever Anthony saw a poor, orphaned or sick child, he was inclined to assist them.
Even though he was so young, his words were full of wisdom and prudence.
But what most impressed everyone and made them refer to him as a child of God was his great devotion and tender love towards Jesus Christ. Whenever he spoke of Him, his heart would burn like lava in a volcano.
His greatest joy was attending divine services with his beloved parents in their small village church. There, he would listen carefully to the reading of the Gospels, which he had an eager desire to follow and apply precisely in his life.