Icon of St. Anton of Martqopi - (1AM12)

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 Commemorated January 19

 St. Anton is one of the 13 Syrian monks who traveled from Mesopotamia to the kingdom of Georgia to preach the Gospel of Christ.  Wherever he traveled, he carried an icon of the Savior "Not Made By Hands."  Because he loved solitude, he went off on his own once the group reached Georgia.  He settled in a remote mountainous area called Kakheti, where deer visited him every evening and nourished him with their milk.

One day the deer came earlier than usual, with a wounded faun.  Supposing that something had frightened them, he retraced their path and found a band of hunters, led by a pagan nobleman.  The nobleman accused him of trespassing on his hunting grounds and ordered one of his followers to cut the monk's hands off.  When the man raised his sword, however, he became paralyzed.  The saint made the sign of the cross over him and he was healed.  In gratitude, the nobleman gave St. Anton permission to live on his mountain and offered him any other gift he might request.  St. Anton simply asked for a block of salt for his deer.

After this incident, the people in the region began to come to the saint for baptism.  In time he founded a monastery, where he presided as spiritual father.  At the end of his life he left the monastery in search of more solitude.  He lived the last 15 years of his life on top of a stone column on a nearby mountain peak.