The City of San Antonio is a very Roman Catholic city – starting with the first naming of our city in honor of Saint Anthony de Padua on June 13, 1691. On the Saint’s feastday, Spanish explorers and missionaries had stumbled across a native American settlement on the banks of a beautiful river, deciding to name the spot after this great 13th century saint of Padua, Italy. Since then Saint Anthony has become the namesake and benefactor of the seventh largest city in the US, a great basketball team and at least 3 pages of yellow pages businesses. I’m sure this humble and pious saint would be so proud (insert eye roll here).
When my Orthodox parish was founded 30 years ago this September, we kept up the patronage of Saint Anthony, but had to look to a pre-schism Orthodox saint and naturally Saint Anthony the Great was an easy choice.
Saint Anthony the Great and Saint Anthony of Padua, while separated by centuries, culture and continent, both left all they had to unreservedly and totally commit themselves to following the Gospel.
In their words they were even of the same love for God and his Kingdom and knew what struggles and fruits could come from the ascetic life:
Attribute to God every good that you have received. If you take credit for something that does not belong to you, you will be guilty of theft. Saint Anthony de Padua
I saw the snares that the enemy spreads out over the world and I said groaning, “What can get through from such snares?” Then I heard a voice saying to me, “Humility”. Saint Anthony the Great
Last night we gathered at 7 p.m. for a pan-Orthodox celebration of Great Vespers and had a little socializing in the Fellowship Hall. (A very disappointing turnout I have to say – maybe all our missing parishioners were honoring Saint Anthony de Padua by staying home to watch his basketball team play.) Divine Liturgy will start at 9 a.m. this morning, and we’ll top off the weekend with a luncheon after Liturgy tomorrow.
For 30 years Saint Anthony has been our protector and benefactor in the spiritual life and God willing, he will continue for 30 more.
Troparion of Saint Anthony
Imitating the zealous Elijah in behavior
and following the Baptist on the straight path.
You became an inhabitant of the desert, O Father Anthony and by your prayers you made secure the whole world! Therefore, intercede with Christ our
God that our souls may be saved.