Every year in San Bartolome de Pinares, west of Madrid, during the celebration of the patron saint of animals of St. Anthony Abeda, professional Spanish riders jump through flaming fires, defying death itself.
Before the sparks horse blessed the priest and the ritual has been going on for 500 years.
St. Anthony Abed Egyptian origin was recognized as the patron saint of animals from the Middle Ages
Anthony the Great or Antony the Great (c. 251–356), also known as Saint Anthony, Anthony the Abbot, Anthony of Egypt, Anthony of the Desert, Anthony the Anchorite, Abba Antonius (Ἀββᾶς Ἀντώνιος), and Father of All Monks, was a Christian saint from Egypt, a prominent leader among the Desert Fathers. He is celebrated in many churches on his feast days: 17 January in the Eastern Orthodox Church and Western churches; and Tobi 22, (January 30) in the Coptic Orthodox Church and the Coptic Catholic Church.
The biography of Anthony’s life by Athanasius of Alexandria helped to spread the concept of monasticism, particularly in Western Europe through Latin translations. He is often erroneously considered the first monk, but as his biography and other sources make clear, there were many ascetics before him. Anthony was, however, the first known ascetic going into the wilderness, a geographical shift that seems to have contributed to his renown.
Anthony is appealed to against infectious diseases, particularly skin diseases. “Saint Anthony’s fire” has described different afflictions including ergotism, erysipelas and shingles.
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