Saints and Their Symbols – Saint Anthony

[Saint Anthony the Abbot]Article

A.D. 357, January 17, was born at Alexandria, of rich and noble parents; but having been always of a thoughtful and melancholy disposition, as scon as he was old enough, he gave all his possessions to the poor and withdrew into the desert, where already a small company of hermits had retreated. Here the piety and firmness of Saint Anthony were assailed by every possible form of temptation the devil could devise, evil spirits attacking and tearing him till he was almost dead. Yet never for one instant did he fail, though he remained for twenty years in one cell, sustaining incessant and violent conflict, unseen by man, but miraculously supported and strengthened. When at length he emerged from his solitude, his preaching and miracles had such power that they drew five thousand hermits around him in the wilderness. After seventy years’ life in the desert, when he was ninety years old, pride crept into his heart at the thought that no one had lived in solitude and self-denial so long as he. But then it was revealed to him that there was one Paul, who had been alone in the wilderness ninety years. Therefore he set forth in search of Paul, meeting on the way a centaur and a satyr, the latter of whom begged him to pray for himself and his race. At length Anthony found Paul in a cave, but was only admitted after many prayers and entreaties. They held long conversation together, during which a raven suddenly flew down to them with a loaf in its beak, and Paul explained that every day for ninety years this raven had brought him half a loaf, but now for Anthony’s sake the portion was doubled. After they had eaten and returned thanks, Paul told Anthony he was about to die, and bade him return and fetch his cloak to bury him in. Full of grief, Anthony obeyed, and on his return found Paul already dead. He wrapped his body in the cloak, and then two lions appeared, coming out of the desert, and they dug the grave, in which Anthony buried him. Anthony survived Paul fourteen years, dying in peace at the age of 105. Emblem – Bell. Blue T on his shoulder. Crutch with a bell hanging from it. Crutch. Fire near him. Fire under his feet. Hog. Old man. Pig. Rod.

MLA Citation

  • E A Greene. “Saint Anthony”. Saints and Their Symbols, 1909. CatholicSaints.Info. 20 August 2013. Web. 2 March 2021. <>