Like promised in our last article we continue on the life of St. Anthony the Great.

The story of Saint Anthony is filled with legend and mystique. His biography tells that he had several encounters with the devil. The most known is the one where the devil kept untying the knots of his prayer rope which we already covered in our last article. But there are several more stories which we will cover in this article.

Salvador Dali’s – St. Anthony’s Temptations 1946

One of the other encounters was when Saint Anthony lived in the desert. The devil tried to afflict him with boredom and laziness. Tempting the Saint with phantoms of women. Through the power of prayer he overcame these temptations. This is a story that has been depicted many times in Christian Art.

After these temptations he moved to a secluded tomb where he locked himself in to devote himself fully to prayer and worship, only relying on some local villagers for food. The devil tormented the saint ones again now even more furious because of Saint Anthony’s strong devotion. He beat Saint Anthony leaving him battered and unconscious. His friends the local villagers found him and brought him to a church.

After he recoverd he returned to the desert to a far mountain by the Nile called Pispir. He

St. Antony’s Beasts – by Nikolaus Manuel 1520

lived in a old Roman fort were he stayed for 20 years. And again the devil fought Saint Anthony. This time he sent phantoms of wild beasts, wolves, lions, snakes and scorpions to ravage him. The Saint just laughed and said “If any of you have any authority over me, only one would have been sufficient to fight me.” After the Saint said these words all the phantoms disappeared. Again the strong Saint came out victorious.

Saint Anthony remained in the Roman fort for a long time not leaving his room. He did not allow anyone to enter. Whoever came to visit had to stand outside and listen to his advise.

This concludes this article on the legend and mystique. In our next article we will cover Saint Anthony’s return to the villagers after his long solitude in the Roman fort.

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You can read our final post on St. Anthony here: Saint Anthony’s later life

Did you know St. Anthony is the inventor of the Prayer Rope?