Where does the term “St. Anthony’s fire” come from and What does St. Anthony’s fire mean?

St. Anthony, “The Great” (A.D. 251?-356?), was an Egyptian ascetic, and one of the pillars of the early Christian Church.

During his life he was reportedly tempted sorely by the devil, who took many forms, including that of a pig.

It was through this temptation that St. Anthony became the patron of pigs, which, in turn, has given his name to St. Anthony’s nut and St. Anthony’s turnip, both of which are foods favored by swine.

His bones, discovered in 561, were finally enshrined at Vienne, France, where they are said to have performed miracles of healing during an epidemic of erysipelas in the eleventh century.

For this reason, erysipelas, a feverish disease accompanied by reddening and itching of the skin, has since been popularly named St. Anthony’s fire.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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