Saint Anthony, who was born in the province of Chernigov, was tonsured in the Monastery of Esphigmenou on the Holy Mountain, Athos, from whence he was sent by his abbot to Kiev to plant the monastic life in 1013, two years before the death of Saint Vladimir, Great Prince of Kiev. Dwelling at first as a hermit, the Saint gradually drew to himself others wishing to emulate his way of life. When the number of the brethren grew, a wooden church in honour of the Dormition of the Theotokos was built, thus laying the foundation of what was to become the renowned Kiev Caves Lavra. Refusing the abbotship, Saint Anthony entrusted this to his disciples, first to the blessed Barlaam, then to Saint Theodosius (See May 3), and his whole life struggled as a cave-dwelling hermit. He reposed in peace in 1073 at the age of ninety.
Having left the turmoil of the world, thou didst follow Christ according to the Gospel by renouncing the world; and having lived a life equal to the Angels, thou didst attain to the quiet haven of Holy Mount Athos. Thence, with the blessing of the fathers, thou camest to the mountain of Kiev, and living there an arduous life, thou didst illumine thy fatherland. And showing a multitude of monastics the path that leadeth to the Heavenly Kingdom, thou didst bring them to Christ. Pray to Him, O Saint Anthony, that He save our souls.
Surrendering thyself to God Whom thou didst love from thy youth above all, O Saint, thou didst lovingly follow Him with thy whole soul. And counting the material things of the world as a vanity, thou didst make a cave in the earth, where thou didst fight the good fight against the wiles of the invisible enemy, and like a brilliant sun thou didst illumine all the ends of the earth. Thence thou didst pass rejoicing to the heavenly palaces. And now as thou standest with the Angels before the Master's throne, remember us who honour thy memory, that we may cry to thee: Rejoice, O Anthony our Father.
Reading courtesy of Holy Transfiguration Monastery
Apolytikion courtesy of Holy Transfiguration Monastery
Kontakion courtesy of Holy Transfiguration Monastery