Athanasius of Alexandria was born in 295 in Alexandria. He was made a citét in 312 and a deacon in 318, after which he became secretary to Patriarch Alexander. As deacon and secretary, he accompanied the patriarch to the Council of Nicaea in 325, where he played a decisive role in combating and condemning Arianism. He was elected bishop of Alexandria on the death of St Alexander – on 8 June 328.
Athanasius of Alexandria was bishop until 373, 45 years. He suffered five exiles, but these did not prevent him from carrying out a rich theological activity – especially an anti-Arian church policy. Succeeded in avoiding the replacement of the Nicene symbol with the Rimini symbol among the bishops of Africa and supported St. Basil the Great in his efforts for the religious appeasement of the East. They also sent a letter in recognition of the New Testament.
He wrote extensively against Arianism and Apollinarism. Athanasius displayed an ideal synthesis of severity and mildness in all acts of ecclesiastical administration. He died on May 2, 373, after 45 years as bishop, of which about 20 were spent in exile. Also, he was one of the first unmartyred bishops to receive public worship.
Who was Athanasius of Alexandria?
An incomparable defender of the orthodox teaching formulated at Nicaea, St. Athanasius took a linear stance on the significant issues of the Church, not allowing himself to be intimidated by anyone.
St. Athanasius was one of the most outstanding pastors of the Christian Church in the 20th century. His life and manner became the norm for the episcopate. He was “the pillar of the Church.”
St. Athanasius was a great traditionalist who always held alive the enlightened and correct teaching of the Church before him. St. Athanasius theologizes using three arguments: right reason, Holy Scripture, and Holy Tradition.
Biography of Athanasius of Alexandria
Full name: Saint Athanasius the Apostolic
Date of birth: 0293 AD
Year of death: 2 May 0373 AD
The thread of life: 80 years old
Place of birth: Alexandria, Egypt
Father's name: It is not known.
Mother's name: It is not known.
Successor: Peter II
Nationality: African roots.
Summary of life: Saint Athanasius the Great, had as his homeland the city of Alexandria, the most exalted city in Egypt, and Christian parents who lived according to God. But what he was to be like later on was revealed in his childhood.
Life lessons: Athanasius of Alexandria learned the lessons of humility and humiliation. As St. Nicholas of Ohrid tells us, there were few saints who suffered as many persecutions as St. Athanasius the Great. The Arians plotted incessantly against St. Athanasius, whom they persecuted, succeeding in driving him from the archiepiscopal see of Alexandria many times.
Life accomplishments: In the year 339 he is deposed again from the step. He arrives in Rome and together with Pope Julius I convenes a Synod (341) in which he condemns Arianism. After two years he was reinstated as bishop and in 345 was allowed to return to Alexandria.
Death cause: Natural causes.
What beliefs does Saint Athanasius have?
His theology cannot be considered a system, a set of principles that coordinate dogmatic truths and draw the respective conclusions, but his contribution to theology is considerable. Among his many merits is that of defending the decisions of the Council of Nicaea with great vigor. The depth of his theological thought, his perfect knowledge of the problems, and his ability to solve them make St. Athanasius a builder of the theology of the 20th century. IV.
According to biblical sources, against Arian, St. Athanasius affirms and believes that the name of Son implies the notion of born, of a child, and to be paid means to come not from the will but the being of the Father. The Son has divine fullness. This birth of the Son from the Father is not like a human birth. In the case of the holy delivery, the One born is eternal of one being with the Birthgiver. The Son and the Father are in a union after being.
Fighting against and ironizing the Arians, St. Athanasius says that if the Logos does not coexist from eternity with the Father, there is no eternal Holy Trinity. If the Son was not born from the being of the Father but came from nothing, the Holy Trinity is formed from nothing. There was, therefore, a time when there was no Holy Trinity. The Logos is the Son, but not by participation because only facts have divine grace by participation.
What is Athanasius famous for?
The living and deathless image of good works who rose to the pleasure of God, that is, Saint Athanasius the Great, had a homeland in the city of Alexandria, the beloved town of Egypt, and Christian parents who lived according to God. But what he was to be like later on was revealed in his childhood.
Saint Athanasius is famous because he was bishop for 46 years and left behind him the heir to see the blessed Peter, his friend and sharer in all his troubles. And he went away to take the bright crowns and the black rewards of goodness from Christ.
St. Athanasius, the old soldier of Christ, after his long labors and many needs for the right faith, and after so many banishments, now living a little while in peace on his throne, rested in the Lord, and went to his fathers, to the patriarchs, to the prophets, to the apostles, to the disciples, and the confessors; for he was in need like them on earth.
What does the Christological doctrine support?
If the works of the divinity of the Word had not been done with the body, man would not have been deified. “The Logos of God became man, that we might be exalted. He revealed Himself in the flesh that we might know the unseen Father. He endured the mockery of men that we might inherit immortality.” “The Son of God became man, that we might be indwelt in Him” is the central idea.
The Christological doctrine holds that Christ is one Person and that His works belong simultaneously to both natures. The Logos took upon Himself the sufferings of His body. Christ has two wills: one human, which is of the body, and one divine, which is of God. The Blessed Virgin Mary is the Birth of God. In adoration of Christ, we worship the Son of God and a man.
God, through His Logos, made the human race in His image; consequently, He endowed it with the knowledge of divine eternity, and through divine grace and the power given to the Logos by the Father, the human race was happy, lived in close union with God and led a carefree, serene and immortal life. After sin, people no longer remained as they had been created but lost what they had received.
Was Athanasius an African?
Saint Athanasius was ordained deacon at the age of 24 by Archbishop Alexander. In this capacity, he participated in the First Ecumenical Council of Nicaea, where the heresy of Arian was fought.
According to historical sources and biblical analysts, Athanasius was an African. Saint Athanasius the Great is celebrated on 18 January. Saint Athanasius was born in Alexandria at the end of the 3rd century (296-298) and passed away on 2 May 373.
Various charges were brought against him, and at the Synod of Tyre, he was deposed and exiled to Treveri in Germany. Although the emperor approved his deposition and exile, he did not order anyone else to be appointed in his place, nor did he forbid him to communicate with those he was shepherding.
Key Verse related to Athanasius of Alexandria
The Lord did not come to make a display. He came to heal and teach suffering men. For one who wanted to make a display, the thing would have been to appear and dazzle the beholders. But for Him Who came to heal and to teach the way was not merely to dwell here, but to put Himself at the disposal of those who needed Him, and to be manifested according to as they could bear it, not vitiating the value of the Divine appearing by exceeding their capacity to receive it.
Are Athanasius’ teachings his creation?
In his teaching, the Church was founded, and he who falls from it is no longer and is no longer called a Christian. Thus, there is a holy and perfected Trinity, theologized in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Having nothing mixed up and nothing outside and unconnected from the Creator and created. But he was being all creative and making. His persons are alike and indistinguishable by nature, and one is His work. For the Father does all things through the Son in the Holy Spirit. And thus the unity of the Holy Trinity is preserved”.
According to historical accounts, Athanasius’ teaching is not his creation but merely a testimony to what the Apostles believed and lived. He bases his teaching on the Holy Tradition born in the Church. He confessed here: “Let us see, however, besides these, the teaching and faith of the universal Church, which the Lord gave, the Apostles preached, and the Fathers guarded.
As he testifies, he has added nothing to what the Holy Fathers have treated: “So I, who spend my time in the wilderness, indignant at the impudence of those who have strayed from the truth. And heedless of those who wish to mock the weakness. And the lack of proving by word their deviation, have written these briefly to you and sent them to your godliness. Praying much that, reading them, you may correct some of them and forgive me for those written with weakness. For I have written them according to the apostolic faith taught to us by the Fathers, not taking anything from outside, but what I have learned, I have written by the Holy Scriptures.
What did Athanasius represent for the church?
Athanasius is one of the most powerful appearances in the history of the Church. Never before has there been a church decision on the importance of the neophyte at Nicaea, and never back has a church decision provoked such a struggle as between the Oceans and the Anti-Oceans. No doubt the antinuclear party split into opposing camps, sufficiently characterized by names such as anomie, one, and omissions.
According to historical sources, Athanasius of Alexandria was, for the whole East, the pillar of the Church. He hoped against hope. He never doubted the ultimate victory of his cause. Also, he knew no self-interest. His person is faultless. The hatred of his adversaries has forced him to resort to all sorts of lies. Nor could the newer critics discover anything un noble or objectionable in him.
Even today, the sacrifice of St. Athanasius, like that of all the great confessors of the faith, is despised. The Saint is persecuted, indirectly, even after his death and proslavery, by being considered as something of nothing, which can quickly be passed over for the sake of stupid love, more precisely, the Masonic commandments of universal Christian union. Even St. Athanasius would be considered proud, loveless, extremist, and fundamentalist if he were still alive, for his delight in dogmatic details so insignificant to today’s apostates.
Whose disciple was Athanasius of Alexandria?
As a man who put into words the greatest truth of the world and life, Saint Athanasius had to suffer to the point of blood for that truth until 373 A.D., when the Lord gave him rest in His kingdom as a beloved servant of His.
Athanasius of Alexandria was a disciple and deacon of Archbishop Alexander, whom he accompanied to the First Ecumenical Council of Nicaea (325). At this council, Athanasius was known for his teaching, love, and zeal for Christianity. He wrote the Symbol of Faith which was adopted at that Council.
After Alexander’s death, Athanasius was made bishop of Alexandria, in which capacity he remained for forty years, though he did not spend all of them on the archiepiscopal throne. With little respite, he was persecuted by heretics all his life.
Athanasius Defines the New Testament
The Bible is all that God intends it to be. The Bible has no problem. The problem was in how I had individualized it, subjecting it to my interpretations – some weren’t bad, and some weren’t so great. The New Testament didn’t exist. Even the Old Testament was still being written because the Jews didn’t decide on a definitive list or canon of Old Testament books until after the advent of Christianity. As I progressed in my study, I discovered that the early Christians used a Greek translation of the Old Testament called the Septuagint.
According to the records made after the Council of Nicaea, Athanasius defines the first complete list of the New Testament in the Paschal Letter of 367 AD. The first comprehensive list of the books of the New Testament, as it stands today, did not appear until 300 years after Christ’s death and resurrection.
The New Testament itself speaks of the existence of such accounts. St. Luke’s Gospel begins with the words, “Since many have tried to make up a history of the facts fully true among us, I have found a way to write them down for you one by one” (Luke 1:1:3). At the time Luke was writing, Matthew and Mark were the only other two canonical Gospels that had been written.
Did Athanasius accept the inclusion of Revelation in the New Testament?
The father of the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century, Martin Luther, argued that all the books of the New Testament should be “hierarchical” and that some were more inspired by the Holy Spirit than others (that there is a canon within a canon). Luther, therefore, ranked the Epistle to the Hebrews, the Epistle of St. James, the Epistle of St. Jude, and the Apocalypse as having secondary rank, placing them at the end of his translation of the New Testament.
St Athanasius supported the inclusion of Revelation in the canonical New Testament texts, mainly due to him that it was later received into the Eastern New Testament canon. The early Church seems to have compromised internally on Revelation and the Epistle to the Hebrews. The East would have excluded Revelation from the canon, while the West would have gone ahead without Hebrews.
Some consider the earliest to be the Muratorian Canon, which dates from the latter part of the 2nd century. This canon excludes Hebrews, James, and the two Epistles of Peter but includes the Apocalypse of Peter and the Book of Wisdom of Solomon. It is not until 200 AD, 170 years after Christ’s death and resurrection, that we first notice the term ‘New Testament’ used in Tertullian. Origen lived in the 3rd century and is often regarded as the first systematic theologian.
- Of his writings, essential for spirituality is “The Life of St. Anthony,” which has established itself as a model of hagiography throughout the Christian world.
- Saint Athanasius the Great fervently defended Christian teaching until his death on 2 May 373.
- He was buried in Alexandria, but his body was later taken to Italy. Pope Shenouda III returned his relics to Cairo on 15 May 1973 after meeting Pope Paul VI at the Vatican.
Athanasius the Great, Archbishop of Alexandria, remembered today in the calendar of the Church, is one of the Holy Fathers who created a theology in the 4th century, when the teaching of faith had to respond to the challenges of heresies. He was born in Alexandria at the end of the 3rd century (296-298) and moved to heaven on 2 May 373. His writings on the Incarnation of the Son of God were a reference point in the preparation and conduct of the First Ecumenical Council and later became canonical in the Church.
In 335, he had to appear before an Arian synod meeting in Tyre, where he was accompanied by 50 bishops ready to bear witness to their archpastor. Once there, they realized that the trial was a sham and the accusers were outnumbered. He left that synod, heading for Constantinople to see the emperor. St Constantine was returning from the hunt when, in the middle of a street, he met St Athanasius, who asked for an audience.
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Trivia about Athanasius of Alexandria
- Ernest, J. D. (1993). Athanasius of Alexandria: the scope of Scripture in a polemical and pastoral context. Vigiliae christianae, 341-362.
- Ernest, J. D. (2021). The Bible in Athanasius of Alexandria. Brill.
- Gwynn, D. M. (2006). The Eusebians: The Polemic of Athanasius of Alexandria and the Construction of the Arian Controversy. OUP Oxford.
- Gwynn, D. M. (2012). Athanasius of Alexandria: Bishop, Theologian, Ascetic, Father. Oxford University Press.
- Kannengiesser, C. (1973). Athanasius of Alexandria and the foundation of traditional Christology. Theological Studies, 34(1), 103-113.