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St. Anthony the Roman, abbot of Novgorod

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3/16 August

The saint was born in Rome in 1067 of wealthy parents, who adhered to the Orthodox confession of faith, and was brought up by them in piety. Having been deprived of his parents at seventeen years of age, he took up the study of the writings of the Fathers in the Greek language. Then he distributed part of his inheritance to the destitute, while he put the other part into a wooden barrel and released it into the sea. He himself accepted the tonsure in one of the desert scetes, where he lived for twenty years. Persecution on the part of the Latins against the Orthodox forced the brethren to disperse. Venerable Anthony wandered about, passing from place to place, until he found a large rock on a deserted seashore, on which he lived for a whole year in fasting and prayer. A terrible storm, which broke on 5 September 1105, tore off the rock on which Venerable Anthony was, and carried it into the sea. On the eve of the feast of the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos, the rock stopped three versts [two miles] from Novgorod on the banks of the river Volkhov near the Volkhov village. This event is testified to in the Novgorod chronicles. On this site, the venerable one, with the blessing of Hierarch Nikita the Recluse (+1109, commemorated on the 14th of May), founded a monastery in honor of the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos. The next year, fishermen fished out the barrel with Venerable Anthony's inheritance that had been released into the sea many years before. Having pointed out what was in the barrel, the Venerable one took the barrel and bought land for the monastery. Spiritual asceticism was joined to intense physical labor.


enerable Anthony took care that help be rendered to the poor, to orphans and widows from the monastery's revenues. In 1117, the saint began stone construction in the monastery. The catholicon in honor of the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos, built during the life of the venerable one from 1117-1119, has been preserved till our days. In 1131, Hierarch Niphont of Novgorod appointed Venerable Anthony as hegoumen of the monastery. He died on 3 August 1147 and was buried by Hierarch Niphont. Venerable Anthony was glorified in 1597.

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  • Washington, D.C., 20011

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