Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Saint Anthony the New of Kion in Bithynia

St. Anthony the New (Feast Day - December 1)

Verses

Looking toward Anthony the Great,
He was viewed as being like him also in his ways of asceticism.

By St. Nikodemos the Hagiorite

Regarding this Saint Anthony the New, the following is written in the Evergetinos, p. 199. That is, he once was the owner of splendid property, then became a Monk. Having lived in quietude for many years, he struggled supernaturally. Once, upon reading the discourse on obedience of Saint John Climacus, he came upon these final words: "He who has come to know his illness by living in solitude, and has then changed his place and sold himself to obedience, has without trouble recovered his sight and seen Christ." Wherefore he departed quietude, and gave himself over to a Coenobium, which was in Kion, in the province of Bithynia.

Having been received by the Abbot of the Coenobium, first he was appointed to serve in the church. Such a service was a heavy burden. After enduring for a time there, he asked for a more difficult ministry. The Abbot handed him over to the task of being head worker of the vineyard in order to prune them. Because he was inexperienced in such work, many times he cut the fingers of his hands. Remaining in this ministry until the time of digging and harvesting the vines, he was then sent to work in the dining room. His garment became torn and shoes beaten up. Wherefore he suffered from the cold, and his feet were torn from the frozen marble. And the Abbot gave him neither a garment, nor shoes, in order to test his patience.

The Saint was therefore tested for his great patience in the Coenobium, and became weary from his labors. He said to God with the secret lips of his heart: "Behold Lord my humility and labors and remit all my sins." Wherefore one night, he saw a glorious man in his sleep, holding scales. On the left side were all the sins of his youth. On the right was the axe with which he uprooted the wild grass of the land of the Coenobium. Whence as the scale became heavier on the side of the axe, it caused his sins to vanish. Then that wondrous man said to Anthony: "Behold, the Lord has accepted your labors, and forgiven your sins."

When the Abbot saw his many years of patience, and that he decided in his thoughts to endure magnanimously every laborious and miserable job of the Coenobium, he invited him over that day and said: "May God, Father, compensate you for your labors, for the souls you benefited by your coming among us and your conduct according to God. The brothers who are under my authority have not benefited from anyone else as much, than by your God-given presence and perfect obedience. Wherefore I am giving you garments and shoes, and whatever else you need." Therefore whenever the Abbot saw he needed something, he secretly brought it to the place where he slept. When Anthony saw these things at his place of rest, he treated himself to it for the needs of the body.

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