Tuesday, January 17, 2006

St. Anthony of Egypt

St. Anthony (Of Egypt, The Great, The Abbot) is one of the people held to be a saint by the Orthodox, Coptic and Roman Catholic Churches. Born into wealth, St. Anthony made sure his sister finished her education and then gave all of his money to the poor. His life is the prototype for the image of the Holy Hermit.

One of his symbols is the Tau cross. This links us even deeper into the Old Testament. It was a tau cross that Moses used, at God's command, with the snake upon it in the desert. This is often seen as a foreshadowing of the sacrifice of Christ as it was by Christ Himself (Numbers 21: 8-9 and John 3:14).

Anthony's feast day is today. He is a saint with deep ecumenical meaning. Embraced by Orthodox, Coptic and Roman Catholics he speaks to us of what we all hold holy. He is linked by the Tau to the Old Testament (Ezekiel 9:4 and Numbers 21:8-9) and the deep history of salvation, where he speaks to us of our common heritage.

And his example of self denial can be imitated by each of us in smaller ways as we work toward an interior life focused on God.

(link) Patron Saints Index on St. Anthony
(link) Anthony on Wikipedia
(link) Anthony on Orthodoxwiki

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