Saint Aninas was born at Chalcedon into a Christian family. After the death of his parents, he withdrew at age fifteen into a monastery, where he received monastic tonsure. In search of complete solitude, he went off into the heart of the desert where the River Euphrates separates Syria from Persia. There he came upon an Elder named Maium and settled there with him. Both ascetics led a very strict life. During the forty days of the Great Fast they ate nothing, taking delight and joy instead in spiritual nourishment.

Every day St Aninas carried drinking water from afar. Once, he returned with full water pitchers earlier than usual, since an angel had filled the vessels with water. The Elder Maium realized that his disciple had attained to high level of spiritual accomplishment, and he in turn asled St Aninas to become his guide, but he refused out of humility. Later, the Elder went to a monastery, and St Aninas remained alone in the wilderness.

By constant struggles the saint conquered the passions within himself, and he was granted gifts of healing and clairvoyance. Even the wil