Thursday, October 9, 2008

Between Heaven and Hell: Madmen: Vita S. Antoni

St. Antony of Egypt was a madman, no two ways about it. The following are passages from St. Athanasius' 'Life of Antony' which help to support the claim:

"He had a garment of hair on the inside, while the outside was skin...And he neither bathed his body with water to free himself from filth, nor did he ever wash his feet nor even endure so much as to put them into water, unless compelled by necessity." (209.47)

"He felt ashamed even to see himself naked." (212.60)

"At night they saw the mountain become full of wild beasts, and him also fighting as though against visible beings." (210.51)

"He often continued [vigil] the whole night without sleep; and this not once but often, to the marvel of others." (198.7)

"His food was bread and salt, his drink, water only." (198.7)

"A rush mat served him to sleep upon, but for the most part he lay upon the bare ground." (198.7)

"Antony departed to the tombs, and having shut the door, he remained within alone." (198.8)

"He hurried to the mountain, and having found a fort, so long deserted that it was full of creeping things, he descended as into a shrine, and abode within by himself, never going forth nor looking at any one who came, and received loaves, let down from above, twice a year." (199.12)

That anyone should imitate such a man would warrant their own insanity, as sanity is regarded in the eyes of the world...

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