Anthony of Padua

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St. Anthony with the baby Jesus, painting by Guercino (1656)

Antonius von Padua ( Latin Antonius Patavinus , baptismal name Fernandus ; * around 1195 (the date of birth is unknown; traditionally August 15 is given; the year of birth is sometimes also assumed to be 1193 , 1191 or "around 1188 ") in Lisbon ; † 13. June 1231 in Arcella near Padua ), sometimes also called Anthony of Lisbon , was a Portuguese religious priest of the Franciscan order . He is in the Roman Catholic Church asVenerated saint and Doctor of the Church .


Antonius came from a Portuguese noble family. In 19th century research it was speculated that his parents were Martin von Buglion (or Bulhen) and Theresia von Tavera and that he had two brothers and two sisters. At the age of 15 he became an Augustinian canon . He studied in Lisbon and Coimbra and was ordained a priest . In 1220 he converted to the Franciscans and took the name of the late antique desert father Antonius Eremita , the patron of the church at which the Franciscan community in Coimbra was active. Following the example of the proto-martyrs of the Franciscan order executed in Marrakech in early 1220 , Antony moved to Morocco as a missionary in order to find martyrdom as well. Because of an illness he had to leave Africa again and was blown to Sicily by a storm . For a while he lived as a hermit near Assisi and took part in the General Chapter of the Franciscans in 1221, where he met the founder of the order, Francis of Assisi .

Antonius stood out because of his extraordinary gift for speech. Therefore, in the autumn of 1223, he was commissioned to preach in Romagna , which was shaken by political unrest at that time and, from an ecclesiastical point of view, was threatened by the spread of the Cathar and Waldensian denominations, which deviated from the Catholic faith .

In a document addressed to Antonius, the text of which has survived and which was probably written around the turn of the year 1223/1224, Francis acknowledged him “my bishop” (Episcopo meo) and allowed him to give theological lectures to the brothers “if only you didn't through this study extinguish the spirit of prayer and devotion ”.

Hans Fries : Sermon of St. Anthony of Padua, 1506
Sculpture in the Church of St. Anna in Heidelberg
Sculpture in Čakovec ( Croatia )

Antonius stayed at the University of Bologna for about a year , where he worked as a lecturer in theology for the Franciscans, before moving to southern France in 1225 to preach to the Albigensians there too. He returned to Northern Italy around the year 1227, where he worked as a superior , study director and penitential preacher . Even during his lifetime he was considered the most important preacher of his time.

Exhausted from his numerous tasks and journeys, he retired from his offices in 1230. After Easter 1231 he went on another preaching trip to Padua and spent the last weeks of his life in the hermitage of Camposampiero . He died on June 13, 1231 on his way back to nearby Padua.


Of the numerous writings that were later ascribed to him, research only considers the sermones ("sermons") to be authentic, which contain brief drafts and ideas for Sunday and feast day sermons. Depending on the count, there are between 70 and 250 sermons, which are not fully formulated, but are available as sketches. In addition to being used as a preaching aid, he could also have used his notes in theology class.

In his sermons he used allegorical interpretations of words and vivid images from nature and the everyday environment as “hooks” to explain the beliefs and biblical passages in a meaningful way and to captivate the audience. In the foreword to his collection of sermons he wrote about this method:

“Due to the hollow knowledge of its readers and listeners, our time has come so far that it becomes weary of reading and does not like to listen when it reads or hears not chosen, well-considered and modern-sounding words. That is why I [...] interpreted certain scientific discussions about things and animals and explanations of names for moral life and included them in my work. "

- Anthony of Padua : Prologue of the "Sermons"

It is noteworthy that the compendium does not contain any specific arguments or polemics against heretics, but only explanations of the Christian truths of faith and general warnings to avoid sin . This is in some contrast to the popular legends about the saint, most of which portray him in controversy with heretics .


The creation of legends about the life of St. Anthony began during his lifetime. Even in early sources he is said to have had numerous miracles , such as the sermon given to the fish near the city of Rimini : since his attempt to preach to the townspeople against the teachings of the Cathars failed, the saint addressed his words on the seashore the fish, which, according to tradition, listened to him as reverently as the birds to St. Francis of Assisi.

At the stormy request of the people, Antonius was already eleven months after his death on May 30, 1232 by Pope Gregory IX. canonized , the shortest duration of a canonization process yet. On January 16, 1946, Antony of Pope Pius XII. elevated to a doctor of the church .

The Dominican Bartholomew of Trento was one of the first writers to report on the life of Anthony of Padua. In his writing Liber epilogorum in gesta sanctorum on the deeds of the saints, written between 1240 and 1245, he claims to have known Saint Anthony personally.

Originally restricted to the Padua area and the Franciscan order, it spread mainly in the 14th and 15th centuries and reached its peak in the 16th century. In the post-medieval period it largely supplanted the previously widespread worship of St. Anthony the Great . In the area of popular piety there were often also transmissions: This is how the invocation of St. Anthony of Padua as the patron saint of swineherd on an iconographic attribute of St. Anthony the Great, who was sometimes depicted in the company of a pig.

Above the grave of St. Anthony in Padua rises the mighty Basilica di Sant'Antonio , which contains many art treasures and relics . This church has been the destination of many pilgrims for centuries. There is, among other things, the relic of the tongue of St. Anthony, who, when the relics of the saint were raised in 1263, in the presence of St. Bonaventure is said to have been found intact.


Saint Anthony statue in Balibo Vila ( East Timor )

The saint is the patron saint of the cities of Padua, Lisbon, Paderborn , Hildesheim and Menden (Sauerland) as well as the bakers, swineherd, miners, travelers and social workers. He is called in the event of infertility, fever, plague, shipwreck, war troubles, cattle diseases and also to find lost objects (hence the joke nickname "Schlampertoni" in Bavaria or "Schussels Tünn" in the Rhineland). He should also help in finding a partner . B. Single pilgrimages to Padua are offered. This has also been the subject of several TV productions. In addition, it should help to a good birth, to grow old, to a good harvest and to a rich mushroom discovery (mushroom greeting: "Antonius guard '"). He is also considered the patron saint of women and children, lovers, marriage, horses and donkeys. His patronage over the poor is particularly well-known ( donations for the needy are collected under the name Antoniusbrot ).

Memorial day

The feast day of the saint in the liturgy of the Catholic Church is June 13th. It is an obligatory day of remembrance in the general Roman calendar .

On June 13th, a festival in honor of the saint takes place annually in Manatuto , East Timor , in front of Santo António de Manatuto . Men dress up as scarecrows with simple masks made of cardboard, fabric or plastic and wear robes that are decorated with straw. Equestrian games with magnificently decorated Timor ponies are also part of the festival . Moradores and school bands also perform .

In Portugal, too, town festivals and parades traditionally dedicated to Anthony take place. In particular, the celebrations in Lisbon in honor of its patron saint and son of the city should be mentioned: every year on the night of June 13th, large, sometimes carnival-like parades take place on large avenues such as Avenida da Liberdade , but also street parties in the alleys the old town, especially the Alfama .

Iconographic saints attributes

St. Anthony is shown in the habit of a Franciscan and usually with the baby Jesus , often sitting on a book, in his arm and a lily in his left hand. These iconographic attributes have only been known since the 15th century. The earliest attribute of the saint is the book, in the middle of the 14th century a flame in the hand was added. The best-known attributes of St. Anthony are the baby Jesus, which goes back to a vision of the saint, and the white lily as a symbol of virginity. The depiction with the child goes back to a vision of the saint first documented in 1350. Iconographically, this motif can only be proven from 1500. Probably the oldest surviving depiction of Anthony is a fresco by Giotto in the church in Padua dedicated to the saint .

Pawn rule

The remembrance day peasant rules are:

  • "When Sankt Anton laughs good weather, Sankt Peter (June 29th) does a lot in the water."
  • "If it rains on St. Anthony's Day, the weather will be later as it may."

Reception in art

The motif of the fish sermon is taken up and parodied in the folk song collection Des Knaben Wunderhorn compiled by Achim von Arnim and Clemens Brentano in the folk song Des Antonius von Padua Fish Sermon . Although the Pisces are enthusiastic as listeners, they still do not convert:

Antonius for the sermon [sic!]
The church finds single
He goes to the rivers
and preaches to the fish […]

The crabs are going back,
The stockfish remain thick,
The carp eat a lot,
The sermons are forgotten.
The sermon was approved,
you remain like everyone else .

Gustav Mahler set Des Antonius von Padua fish sermon to music in his songs from Des Knaben Wunderhorn . In the third movement of his second symphony , he took up the musical material of the song again.

Wilhelm Busch wrote the picture story St. Anthony of Padua in 1870 , in which, however, he mainly used motifs from the life of St. Anthony the Great , such as the Temptation of St. Anthony in the desert, or his iconographic saint attribute, the pig. Saint Anthony of Padua led the Offenburg public prosecutor to prosecute and remained banned in Austria until 1902.

In 1931 the Italian film Antonio di Padova, Il santo dei miracoli (director: Giulio Antamoro ) with Carlo Pinzauti as Antonius von Padua was made. The feature film Antonius von Padua ( Antonio di Padova , director: Pietro Francisci ) with Aldo Fiorelli in the leading role was also made in 1949, also in Italy .

In 2017 Michael Köhlmeier published the novella The Man Who Finds Lost Things about Antonius von Padua.

See also


  • Andreas Murk (Ed.): Assidua. A biography of Saint Anthony of Padua . Echter-Verlag, Würzburg 2018, ISBN 978-3-429-04458-9 . (The oldest surviving Vita of St. Anthony of Padua, 1232, the year after his death, written by an unknown brother)
  • Jean Rigaud: The life of St. Antony of Padua. Catholic Truth Society, London 1904. (English translation of a hagiographic Vita of Antonius by the French Minorite and Bishop Jean Rigaud , written between 1300 and 1315 and known as “Rigaldina”. (Digitized version ) )
    • German translation: Andreas Murk (Ed.): Rigaldina. A biography of Saint Anthony of Padua . Echter-Verlag, Würzburg 2018, ISBN 978-3-429-04459-6 .


  • Andreas Pazifikus Alkofer OFMConv: Antonius von Padua. Franciscans in a roundabout way. Echter, Würzburg / Ed. Messaggero, Padua 1994, ISBN 3-429-01619-3 .
  • Andreas Pazifikus Alkofer OFMConv: Saint Anthony of Padua. Schnell and Steiner, Regensburg 1995, DNB 945189214 , (= hagiography, iconography, folklore , volume 40118).
  • Athanasius Bierbaum OFM: Saint Anthony of ÜPadua as a youth role model and youth patron. Especially dedicated to the dismissed school children. Duelmen 1917.
  • Sophronius Clasen OFM (Ed.): Teacher of the Gospel. Selected texts from the sermons of St. Anthony of Padua. 2nd Edition. Dietrich-Coelde-Verlag, Werl 1954, 1985.
  • Sophronius Clasen OFM: Antonius, Servant of the Gospel and the Church. Dietrich-Coelde-Verlag, Werl 1959.
  • Lothar Hardick OFM: “He came to you so that you might come to him.” Sketches on the life and teaching of St. Anthony of Padua. Dietrich-Coelde-Verlag, Werl 1986, ISBN 3-87163-158-2 (Books of Franciscan Spirituality, Vol. 27).
  • Raphael M. Huber: St. Anthony of Padua, Doctor of the Church Universal: A Critical Study of the Historical Sources of the Life, Sanctity, Learning, and Miracles of the Saint of Padua and Lisbon. The Bruce Publishing Company, Milwaukee 1948 ( digitized ).
  • Beda Kleinschmidt OFM: Antonius of Padua in life and art, cult and folklore. (= Series “Research on Folklore”, edited by Georg Schreiber, issue 6–8). Düsseldorf 1931.
  • Justin Lang OFM: Meeting Antony of Padua. Sankt Ulrich Verlag, Augsburg 2007, ISBN 978-3-936484-94-6 .
  • Fernando Félix Lopes OFM: Santo António de Lisboa, Doutor Evangélico. Missões Franciscanas, Braga 1954.
  • Reinhard Rinnerthaler : Antonius von Padua - miraculous about the saint. Verlag St. Peter, Salzburg, 5th edition 2003
  • Anton Rotzetter OFMCap: Antonius of Padua. Life and legends . Dietrich-Coelde-Verlag, Werl / Antonius-Verlag, Solothurn 1995, ISBN 3-87163-212-0 / ISBN 3-85520-034-3 .
  • Jacques Toussaert: Anthony of Padua. Attempt at a critical biography. JP Bachem publishing house, Cologne 1967.
  • Maximilian Wagner OFM: Heaven and earth touch each other. Symbol and sacrament in the sermons of Anthony of Padua. Butzon and Bercker, Kevelaer 2002, ISBN 3-7666-2092-4 ( plus dissertation, Pontifical University of Rome, 2000/2001). ( Review by Andreas P. Alkofer )
  • Klaus Wankmiller: Antonius chapels in the Füssener Land and in Ausserfern. An inventory of the history of the subject, in: Alt Füssen - Yearbook of the Historical Association of Alt Füssen (2003), pp. 102–141.

Lexicon entries

Individual evidence

  1. The frequently mentioned patronymic Martini ( Port. Martins) and the descent from a family Bullone (Port. Bulhem) are uncertain and only mentioned since the 14th century; the names of the parents are not evident from the early sources. See José Geraldes Freire: Santo António de Lisboa 1995: Library of the Centro de Estudos Clássicos e Humanísticos of the University of Coimbra , Santo António de Lisboa. Retrieved April 15, 2010 .
  2. So Jacques Toussaert: Anthony of Padua. Attempt at a critical biography. Cologne 1967, p. 140.
  3. According to the Portuguese biographer Fernando Félix Lopes ( S. António de Lisboa, doutor evangélico. Published as Franciscan monthly Boletim Mensal , Braga 1946).
  4. Gabriel Meier: St. Anthony of Padua. His life, his miracles and his worship. 2nd Edition. Gebr. Karl & Nikolaus Benziger, Einsiedeln and others 1883, p. 9 f.
  5. See Erich Wimmer: Antonius von Padua. In: Lexicon of the Middle Ages . Volume 1, column 732.
  6. Lothar Hardick , Engelbert Grau (ed.): The writings of St. Francis of Assisi. Werl 1981, p. 12.
  7. Cf. Ariane Czerwon: Sermon against Heretics: Studies on the Latin Sermones of Berthold von Regensburg (= late Middle Ages, Humanism, Reformation 57). Tübingen 2011, p. 110.
  8. Prologus , p. 4. Translation after Sophronius Clasen : Teacher of the Gospel. Selected texts from the sermons of St. Anthony of Padua. Werl2 1985, p. 52. Quoted from: Ariane Czerwon: Sermon against heretics: Studies on the Latin sermones of Berthold von Regensburg. Tübingen 2011, p. 112.
  9. Cf. Ariane Czerwon: Sermon against heretics: Studies on the Latin sermones of Berthold of Regensburg. Tübingen 2011, p. 112.
  10. : Preachers and converts. (No longer available online.) Archived from the original on January 1, 2012 ; Retrieved January 15, 2012 .
  11. Gabriel Meier: St. Anthony of Padua. 1883, pp. 187–190 ( life descriptions of St. Anthony ).
  12. Raphael M. Huber (1948), p. 118 f. ( Digitized version ).
  13. a b Cf. Erich Wimmer: Antonius von Padua. In: Lexicon of the Middle Ages . Volume 1, column 733.
  14. Cf. Ekkart Sauser: Antonius Abbas (the great), star of the desert, father of the monks. In: Lexicon of Christian Iconography . Volume 5, Column 207.
  15. Single - love - partnership: four saints + helpers for love - (Grabler, accessed on January 20, 2015)
  16. Christine Dohler: Special trip for love. Die Zeit 48/2008, November 22, 2008, accessed on October 16, 2016.
  17. Three women for Toni . Documentary by Johanna Bentz 2010 ( ( Memento from December 29, 2013 in the Internet Archive )
    Pilgrimage to Padua . TV comedy by Jan Ruzicka 2011 with Gisela Schneeberger , Herbert Knaup and others.
  18. Festival St. Antonio (Manatuto)
  19. ^ Heidrun Reinhard: Lisbon , Polyglott, Munich 2002, p. 43 ( ISBN 3-493-58908-5 )
  20. Impressions from the celebrations of Santo António in Lisbon , video clip of the state tourism agency Visit Portugal on YouTube , accessed on April 25, 2020
  21. ^ Klaus Zimmermanns: Antonius von Padua. In: Lexicon of Christian Iconography . Volume 5, column 220.
  22. Gabriel Meier: St. Anthony of Padua. His life, his miracles and his worship. 2nd Edition. Gebr. Karl & Nikolaus Benziger, Einsiedeln and others 1883, p. 184.
  23. Des Knaben Wunderhorn. Old German songs collected by L. Achim von Arnim and Clemens Brentano. Winkler Verlag, Munich 1980. ISBN 3-538-06560-8 , p. 237.
    Des Antonius von Padua Fischpredigt. Complete text in: Die Deutsche Gedichtebibliothek
  24. Review notes on The Man Who Finds Lost Things at

Web links

Commons : Anthony of Padua  - Collection of images, videos and audio files