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Antony

c.251-356. Pioneer of anchoritic* monasticism. Born at Coma in middle Egypt, his well-to-do Christian parents not long dead, at about the age of twenty Antony heard read in church, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell, . . .” followed by “Do not worry about tomorrow” (Matt. 19:21; 6:34). Bequeathing his property to the poor and his sister to a convent, he became an ascetic devotee, directed by an older solitary-first near his house, later outside Coma, and then in a tomb further afield. Seeking isolation about 285, he crossed the Nile eastward to his Outer Mountain, where for twenty years he occupied a disused fort at Pispir. Finally, after 312 he retreated to his remote Inner Mountain, Mt. Colzim, near the Red Sea. Although opting out of civilization to escape from one's troubles was not uncommon in third-century Egypt, Antony was the first to attract influential publicity in “taking to the bush” (anachomrein), for Christian reasons. His utterances enjoy first place in the Sayings of