17 January 2020 (MIA)
Macedonian Orthodox Church Calendar
The synaxis of the seventy disciples
The Seventy Disciples and Apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ are those whom our Saviour chose in addition to the Twelve and sent forth unto the work of preaching. With the passage of time, others were added to their number by the Holy Apostles, who, with the accompaniment and assistance of the Seventy, were preaching the Gospel of Christ in various lands. Although their number eventually exceeded seventy, they were all nonetheless referred to as “of the Seventy” out of reverence for the number of Apostles which the Lord chose. The Church in particular venerates and praises the 70 Disciples in that they taught to honour the trinity one-in-essence and undivided.
St. Anthony the Abbot
Known also as St Antony of the Desert, this saint was born in 250 near Hieracleus in Upper Egypt. Upon the death of his parents, he sold everything and retired into the desert. He began to live a life of great austerity, eating only bread and water, and that only once a day, after sunset. The devil attempted to frighten him from his retreat by assuming many terrible shapes, but St Antony stuck fast. His admirers became so many and so insistent that he was eventually persuaded to found two monasteries for them and to give them a rule of life. These were the first monasteries ever to be founded, and St Antony is, therefore, the father of cenobites or monks. In 311 he went to Alexandria to take part in the Arian controversy and to comfort those who were being persecuted by Maximinus. This visit lasted for a few days only, after which he retired into a solitude even more remote so that he might cut himself off completely from his admirers. When he was over ninety, he was commanded by God in a vision to search the desert for St Paul the Hermit, and he is said to have survived until the age of a hundred and five, when he died peacefully in a cave on Mount Kolzim near the Red Sea.