The abbot gave Anthony the job of expanding monasticism in his native land, which had only recently begun its conversion to Christianity. Anthony returned to Kiev, and was ordered by local princes to found several monasteries based on the Greek model.
At the death of Vladimir I of Kiev, Anthony was forced to return to Mount Athos by a fratricidal war for the throne between Vladimir's sons.
Being deeply influenced by the lives of the desert fathers he eventually returned to Russia and sought out solitude in a cave near the village of Berestovo, (Kiev). He became known for his humility and virtuous character.
Anthony rejected being called a priest and never took any church rank. He never lead the new community of monks but simply guided them by his example of faith and wisdom. .
As the community became larger, Anthony appointed an abbot and withdrew to another place to dig a new cave where he secluded himself. Eventually monks began to settle around his new cave. This was the inception of the Near and Far Caves Monasteries. In time small wooden church, was built over the Far Caves.
He again withdrew for more solitude, eventually returning to the community to die among his beloved brethren.
He is venerated as a Holy Father (a person whose example is worthy of following) in the Eastern Orthodox Church.
- Having departed from worldly tumults,
- In leaving the world you followed Christ according to the Gospel.
- You reached the quiet refuge of the Holy Mount Athos,
- Living there a life equal to the angels.
- Therefore, with the blessing of the Fathers,
- You came to the Kievan hills.
- There having fulfilled a life loving of labors,
- You illumined your homeland.
- And having shown a multitude of monastics
- The pathway leading to the heavenly kingdom,
- You led them to Christ.
- Beseech him, O Venerable Anthony,
- That he may save our souls!
- Troparion (Tone 4)
compiled from several sources
graphics.: top left a modern icon of Anthony. bottom right the rock-monastery-in-lyadova