Saint Anthony of Egypt | Patron saint of butchers

Saint Anthony of Egypt


Feast day: January 17
Patron saint of butchers


St. Anthony was a hermit, not a butcher, and his ascetic lifestyle and practice of bodily mortification probably left little opportunity for eating meat. But he’s often portrayed with a pig at his feet, hence his association with butchers and bacon, in particular.

St. Anthony’s relation to pigs is something of a mystery. One theory is that pig fat was used in the Middle Ages to treat itchy rashes and St. Anthony is the patron saint of skin diseases. Another theory holds that pigs are sometimes used as symbols of the devil, and St. Anthony was a spiritual healer who endured epic battles with demons. 

The saint was born to a wealthy family, but gave up his property after his parents died. He moved to the desert and lived alone, or tried to, even as pilgrims flocked to his cell for healing and counsel. He lived to be 105 years old.