The saint for May 02
St. Athanasius
Bishop and Doctor of the Church
 
Memorial
Roman Calendar

I love this old Icon of St. Athanasius standing shoulder to shoulder with Jesus the Teacher, with Jesus' arm draped fondly around St. Athanasius' shoulders.  It is so appropriate because Athanasius spent his life defneding the True teachings of the Church.


Athanasius was born c. 295 c.e. in Alexandria, Egypt, where he studied classics and theology.  By 319 he was ordained deacon and became secretary to the then Bishop, Alexander.  In 325 he attended the council of Nicea where he used his brilliant intellect and staunch attitude of adherence to truth to combat Arianism; which was to be his life-long battle.  Athanasius  formulated the doctrine of  homo-ousianism, which declares that Christ is of the same substance as the Father, in opposition to the heresy of Arianism, which teaches that Christ was different from, and a creation of, God the Father.

When the Patriarch Alexander was nearing death, he indicated that his choice for successor would be Athanasius, and in consequence, he was acclaimed Bishop in 326.  This episcopal responsibility was a white martyrdom for Athanasius, who spent many of his years of episcopacy in hiding or in exile, as he continued to fight the Arian heresy, which politics had brought to the forefront of his day.
Athanasius has among his titles the Father of Orthodoxy, which is singularly appropriate to him.  Among his many works are On The Incarnation, The History of the Arians, a biography of St. Anthony of the Desert and many Epistles and Treatises.


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