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Saint Anthony

Saint Anthony

Birth
Death 14 Apr 1437
Burial Vilnius, Vilnius City Municipality, Vilnius, Lithuania
Memorial ID 3985 · View Source
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Russian Orthodox and Roman Catholic Saint. Saint Anthony of Vilnius (birth name Nezhilo) was a Lithuanian at the court of Prince Algirdas (or Olgerd). When Algirdas (c. 1296-1377) married the Russian Orthodox princess, Maria Yaroslavna of Vitebsk, Nezhilo and his brother Kumets were converted to Christianity by Maria’s priest, Nestor, taking the Christian names Anthony and John, respectively, upon baptism. However, after Maria’s death in 1346, Algirdas refused further tolerance of Christianity and ordered Anthony and his brother to abandon their faith. To be specific, he attempted to force Anthony to eat meat during a time when he was fasting on an Orthodox holiday, and, when Anthony refused, he was imprisoned for a year, tortured, and finally martyred on April 14, 1347. Also martyred were Anthony’s brother John and their cousin, who had taken the Christian name Eustace. In 1374, the remains of the three were taken to Constantinople, capital of the Byzantine empire, but Algirdas, allegedly motivated by a desire for a political relationship with the Byzantine leaders, eventually had the bodies returned to Vilnius, burying them in a wooden chapel whose construction he had ordered upon the site of the martyrdom. This structure was later replaced by one of stone. During World War I, the remains of the three again left Vilnius when, in an effort to save them from the ravages of war, they were transferred to Moscow, where they remained until the end of World War II, at which time the Patriarch of Moscow saw to their return to Vilnius once again.

Bio by: Eileen Cunningham


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 11 Nov 1998
  • Find A Grave Memorial 3985
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Saint Anthony (unknown–14 Apr 1437), Find A Grave Memorial no. 3985, citing Orthodox Church of the Holy Spirit, Vilnius, Vilnius City Municipality, Vilnius, Lithuania ; Maintained by Find A Grave .