Saint Anthony the Great
Saint Anthony the Great (St. Anton) (251 – 356), a hermit, celebrated saint of the Armenian Apostolic Church. In 302, St. Gregory the Illuminator, arriving in Greater Armenia from Caesarea, initiated and brought with him the Greek hermits Anton and Cronides. Anton and Cronides lived in the monastery of St. Garabed of Mush, founded by Gregory the Illuminator, at the site of the Gisane shrine of the Daron Inaknyan(Nine-Springs Heights). Here they established a congregation, appointing the son of the Zenob Glak, the prelate of Daron, who was one of their disciples Epiphanes as dean. Anton and Cronidides served in St. Karapet Monastery in Moush for about 15 years, then spent 40 years in the surrounding forests.
Anton’s tomb is pointed out in a chapel near St. Karapet Monastery in Moush. The Armenian Church commemorates St. Anthony and St. Cronides on the Monday following the 5th Sunday of Khachverats, the feast of Raising of the Cross, with other celebrated Armenian hermits. Although there is no separate hymn dedicated to them, however, the hymn dedicated to Seven Herbivor monks also mentions them.
Saint Trypon, Parsam and Vonoprios Commemoration day
Sometime after the spread of Christianity, the hermit movement began. The hermits were people who were completely devoted to God, heading to deserted places, praying and fasting, overcoming God’s weaknesses with God’s grace, reaching spiritual perfection. Years later, hermits also received the gift of healing through miracles and prayers.
St. Anton (Saint Anthony the Great) the Hermit or St. Anton of the desert Desert is the father and founder of hermitage and monastic life. The blessed widow was born in Koma village, Egypt, in 251, to a family of noble parents. After the death of his parents, Anton inherits their wealth. But one day in the church, he hears the gospel message that Jesus says: “If you want to be perfect, go sell your property and give it to the poor, and you will have treasures in heaven.” (Matt. 19:21)
Guided by this commandment, Anton sells all his possessions and lives in the spirit of prayer, fasting, and doing charity. After some time, he leaves his native village and settles in a nearby cave where, according to “the book of Acts of saints”, he wages spiritual warfare with the demons that appear to him in the form of wild beasts. Resisting all temptations, the saint leaves a desolate desert and lives in solitude for 20 years.
Hearing of his way of a sanctified life, many leave their homes headed to the desert. Hearing the prayers of his spiritual brothers, the saint comes out of his hermitage and explains to the brethren the monastic rules, which later become the guide of monastic life. The saint dies at the age of 105, receiving the holy Halo of heaven, with his infinite faith and great spiritual power becoming an example for Christians of all times.
Like Saint Anthony, there also existed other hermits, who were martyred in the city of Nikia during the reign of Emperor Decos. Saint Trypon, Saint Parsam who lived mid 5th century in the Syrian desert, and Saint Vonoprios the Egyptian Hermit (4th century) who went to the monastery for some time, then left for the desert, where he lived for 60 years without meeting anyone. Like other hermits, Vonophrius healed many by prayer and saved them from suffering. That is why this saint is especially prayed for when healing children and having a difficult birth.
The Armenian Apostolic Church gives particular importance to hermits and has festivities dedicated to their memory.