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June 13 Saints of the Day – Anthim of Iberia and Anthony of Padua

On this date in 1927, Charles Lindbergh received a ticker-tape parade down 5th Avenue in New York City. It went smoothly except for a tense moment with Snoopy collided with Bullwinkle around 42nd Street.

Anthim of IberiaAnthim of Iberia (ანთიმოზ ივერიელი) (ca. 1650 – 1716) was fluent in Greek, Romanian, Slavonic, Arabic, Turkish, and Georgian; was well-versed in theology, literature, and science; and was unusually gifted in painting, engraving, sculpture, and calligraphy. Feel overwhelmed yet? After being taken prisoner, sold into slavery, and set free, he went to Wallachia to run the royal print shop, turning Bucharest into the publishing powerhouse of the Orthodox east. Next he became abbot of the Snagov Monastery, where he (surprise!) founded a print shop and started turning out service books in multiple languages. He was possibly the first non-Arabic type to create Arabic type.

After a stint as bishop, he was made Metropolitan of Hungro-Wallachia, which gave him a bully pulpit for Wallachian independence. This won the disfavor of the Phanariote, the rich Greeks who helped the Ottomans oppress Christians. (I’m sure they’d tell a different story, but this is my blog.) Mavrokordatos, the Phanariote in charge of Wallachia, called a council (to which no Romanians were invited) that excommunicated and anathematized Anthim. It also declared him unworthy of being a monk, which was just uncalled-for. Mavro was still not satisfied, though, so he had him banished to Mt. Athos. The entourage was intercepted en route by Turkish soldiers, however, and Anthim was murdered and dumped in the closest river. (Some historians think maybe Mavro had something to do with it, can you imagine?)

A monastery which the saint had built in Bucharest was renamed the Antim Monastery in his honor, and the trophy the Romanian and Georgian rugby teams battle for annually is called the Antim Cup.

Anthony of PaduaAnthony of Padua (1195 – 1231) started out in the other Iberia as an Augustinian named Fernando, but don’t let that fool you. After a top-notch education, he settled down as a canon in Coîmbra, you would have thought immovably. But when five Franciscan friars passed through on their way to preach in Morocco, then returned as relics, Fernando burned with the desire to preach the gospel to Muslims and/or become a martyr, not much caring which came first. Since Portuguese Augustinians rarely achieve martyrdom in Morocco, he switched to the Franciscans, taking the name Antony from a pile by the door.

Once in Morocco, he became deathly ill. They bundled him onto the next ship to Portugal, only to have it blown off course and land in Sicily. He wandered up to Assisi, but nobody wanted him in their friary on account of his health. He finally wound up washing dishes and scrubbing floors at a rural hospice, never once saying, “Here I am with a university education, washing pans.” (I’m not sure I’d make a good saint.) On one special occasion, the hospice played host to a host of Dominicans. The Franciscans had expected the Dominicans to preach because that’s their bag, and the Dominicans hadn’t expected to preach because they were guests, and the idea of letting the occasion pass without a sermon was unthinkable. Anthony was fingered for the job, and after protesting and being overruled, he gave a sermon that people are still writing about. (See?)

He was then tapped to preach throughout Lombardy, to rave reviews. His preaching drew crowds, caused shops to be shuttered, even made fish sit up and listen. (He preached in several languages, apparently including Fish.) Francis was so impressed he appointed Anthony to teach theology (something he (Francis) had hitherto been allergic to) throughout friardom. Short, chubby, swarthy, and fearless, Anthony radiated holiness, and just seeing him caused (some) sinners to fall to their knees. He condemned the oppressors of the poor, and worked to abolish debtor’s prisons and usury.

Long after his death, his old prayer book went missing. Eventually a novice sheepishly produced it, admitting he had “borrowed” it, and was led to return it by a vision of a rather angry Anthony. Since then people have asked Anthony to help find lost things and persons.

Copyright © 2013 Alex Riggle. All Rights Reserved.

June 13 (Wikipedia)
St Anthimus, Bishop of Georgia (OCA) – Main source
Anthim the Iberian (Wikipedia)
Antony (Anthony) of Padua, OFM Doctor, Priest (St. Patrick DC) – Main source
Saint Anthony of Padua (SQPN)
Anthony of Padua (Wikipedia)


About Your Intrepid Blogger

I live in the Tacoma area. When not writing things some people think are funny, I teach technology to 7th and 8th graders at a local middle school.

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