Athanasius of Alexandria and Anthony the Great

Athanasius of Alexandria and Anthony the Great

Athanasius of Alexandria or Athanasius the Great is the second throne saint of the Kyiv-Cyril Church, the pair of St. Cyril of Alexandria.

He, a Greek by birth, became a bishop at the age of 33. He was an uncompromising fighter against Arianism. Due to his principled theological issues, Athanasius was repeatedly in exile. He had a warm friendly relationship with the founder of monasticism – St. Anthony the Great, who even came from the desert to Alexandria to support and protect a friend.

Anthony himself, at the age of 20, decided to dedicate his life to God and secluded himself in the desert, where he spent 85 years. During this time, he endured the terrible mockery of the demons, who beat him to death, suffered sorrow and loneliness, finding salvation in prayer and work. Anthony achieved incredible holiness. When he came out after his 20-year imprisonment, time did not seem to touch him: Anthony was strong physically, saw clearly, and did not lose a single tooth. The saint had a radiant face, was immersed in mystery, and was overwhelmed by God. He often quoted 1 Epistle of John the Theologian: “I no longer fear God, but I love him, for perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18).

People from all over the world came to Anthony for advice. Impressed by the communication with him, some people opened monasteries in their homeland.

Before his death, 105-year-old St. Anthony presented St. Athanasius his mantle. It was very poor and miserable, but Athanasius kept it as a relic and wore it only for Christmas and Easter.

Life of St. Anthony the Great was described by St. Athanasius the Great, who was called the thirteenth apostle. Such words were told about St. Athanasius: “If you see him and he talks to you, write down his words. If there is no paper and ink – write with chalk on the robe. If there is no chalk – scratch on a palm leaf. If you want, write with a knife on your hand, but do not forget what he told you, because these are great words, they are from God.”

Images of these amazing saints enrich the picturesque ensemble of the Kyiv-Cyril Church.

Author – Maryna Pronina