Anthony, St, Orders of

Anthony, St., Orders of

1. The monastic orders of the Eastern (Greek, Armenian, Jacobite, Coptic, Abyssinian) churches call themselves either after St. Anthony or St. Basil. Neither Anthony himself nor his disciples had founded a religious order, but when the rule of Basil began to spread in the Eastern churches, and most of the monks called themselves after him, some, out of veneration for Anthony, preferred to assume his name. Among the Eastern churches united with Rome, the Chaldeans, Maronites, and United Armenians have orders of Antonian monks. The Chaldeans have only one convent, Man Hormes, near Mosul, called after St. Hormisdas. The Maronite Antonians are subdivided into three classes: the Aleppines, who have their monasteries in the cities, and the Baladites and Libanensians,whose monasteries are on the Lebanon. Together, they have about 60 monasteries, with 1500 monks. The Armenian Antonians are divided into two classes — an older branch on the Lebanon, and a younger one established by Mekhitar. SEE MEKHITAR. The Antonians of the Eastern churches together number about 3000. — Helyot, Ord. Religieux, 2, 504; P. Karl vom heil. Aloys, Jahrbuch, 1862, p. 70.

2. A military order, founded by Albert of Bavaria, count of Hainault, Holland, and Zealand, in 1382, when he was about to make war on the Turks, and styled "The Order of the Knights of St. Anthony." They wear a collar of gold, fashioned like the girdle of a hermit, to which is appended a bell and crutch, such as are represented in pictures of St. Anthony. — Helyot, Ordres Relg. 2, 506; Landon, s.v.

3. A congregation of Regular Canons, founded in 1095 at Vienna (see Reimbold, De Antonianis, Lips. 1737). The so-called "relics of St. Anthony" were brought from the East in 1070 by Josselin of Touraine, who founded for their reception the "Church of St. Anthony," in La Mothe St. Didier, of which town he was lord. The disease vulgarly called "St. Anthony's fire" was then very prevalent; and it is reported that wonderful cures were wrought at the shrine of St. Anthony. Two gentlemen, named Gaston, who devoted all their property to the work, assisted by seven others, built, for their accommodation, a hospital in the town. One account says that Gaston's son had been cured, and that this charity was the fulfillment of a vow. It is to these hospitallers that the order of St. Anthony owes its origin. The order soon took root in most of the kingdoms of Europe, and even in Asia and Africa. Gaston was made grand-master of the order, and all the other establishments recognised that at La-Mothe, or, as it came now to be called, St. Antoine, as their chief. Eventually, all these houses became so many commanderies, which were divided into (1.) General, i.e. dependent immediately on that in the city of St. Antoine; and (2.) Subaltern, i.e. dependent on one or other of the general commanderies. The hospitallers were bound to a uniform and common mode of life, and bore a figure resembling the Greek Tau on their dress. In 1297, Aimon de Montagni, the seventeenth master, perceiving that the malady which had been the origin of the order was fast disappearing, and fearing lest, with the cessation of the disease, the order itself should cease, demanded of Pope Boniface VIII a new form of constitution. This the pope granted, and the new hospitallers of St. Anthony became regular canons, following the rule of St. Augustine; and the hospital founded by Gaston, and the church built by Josselin, being united to the priory of Benedictines, which previously existed there, and which was ceded to the new order, together formed the abbey-in-chief of the order of St. Anthony, which in after ages received vast possessions and privileges. After many disorders, the fraternity fell into decay in the 18th century, and was united in 1775 to the order of Malta, which it enriched by the addition of 42 houses. The Antonians soon repented of having entered this union, and reclaimed against it in 1780, but in vain. A single commandery, Hoechst, in Germany, existed until 1803, when the order became entirely extinct. — Helyot, Ordres Religieux, 1, 264; Landon, s.v.

 
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