> Commemoration: Saint Athanasius

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Sunday May 2, 2021 All Day
Annually on May 2

Saint Athanasius 

Bishop of Alexandria and Teacher of the Faith

d. 373 A.D.


Icon retrieved from Joyful Papist.


PRAYER (traditional language):

Uphold thy Church, O God of truth, as thou didst uphold thy Servant Athanasius, to maintain and proclaim boldly the catholic faith against all opposition, trusting solely in the grace of thine eternal Word, who took upon himself our humanity that we might share his divinity; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

St. Athanasius Quotes:

"When a portrait is spoiled, the only way to renew it is for the Subject to come back to the studio and sit for the artist all over again. That is why Christ came--to make it possible for the divine image in man to be recreated. We were made in God's likeness; we are remade in the likeness of his Son."

"What a responsibility the Church has, to be Christ's 'body,' Showing him to those who are unwilling or unable to see him in providence, or in creation! Through the Word of God lived out in the Body of Christ they can come to the Father, and themselves be made again 'in the likeness of God.'"

"IF... it is by the sign of the cross and by faith in Christ That death is trampled underfoot, it is clear that it is Christ Himself and none other Who is the Archvictor over death and has robbed it of its power. Death used to be strong and terrible, but now, since the sojourn of the Savior and the death and resurrection of His body, it is despised; and obviously it is by the very Christ Who mounted on the cross that it has been destroyed and vanquished finally."

From Holy Women, Holy Men:

Rarely in the history of the Church has the course of its development

been more significantly determined by one person than it was by

Athanasius in the fourth century. Gregory of Nazianzus called him

“the pillar of the Church,” and Basil the Great said he was “the Godgiven physician of her wounds.”

Athanasius was born about 295 in Alexandria, and was ordained

deacon in 319. He quickly attracted attention by his opposition to the

presbyter Arius, whose denial of the full divinity of the Second Person

of the Trinity was gaining widespread acceptance. Alexander, the

Bishop of Alexandria, took Athanasius as his secretary and adviser to

the first Ecumenical Council, at Nicaea in 325, which dealt with the

Arian conflict. Athanasius was successful in winning approval for the

phrase in the Nicene Creed which has ever since been recognized as

expressing unequivocally the full godhead of the Son: “of one Being

with the Father” (homoousios).

When Alexander died in 328, Athanasius became bishop. He fearlessly

defended the Nicene Christology against emperors, magistrates,

bishops, and theologians. Five times he was sent into exile. He often

seemed to stand alone for the orthodox faith. “Athanasius contra

mundum (against the world)” became a by-word. Yet, by the time of

his last exile, his popularity among the citizens of Alexandria was so

great that the Emperor had to recall him to avoid insurrection in the


Athanasius wrote voluminously: biblical interpretation, theological

exposition, sermons, and letters. His treatise, On the Incarnation of

the Word of God, is a still widely read classic.

In it, he writes, “The Savior of us all, the Word of God, in his great

love took to himself a body and moved as Man among men, meeting

their senses, so to speak, half way. He became himself an object for the

senses, so that those who were seeking God in sensible things might

apprehend the Father through the works which he, the Word of God,

did in the body. Human and human-minded as men were, therefore,

to whichever side they looked in the sensible world, they found

themselves taught the truth.”

To learn about Saint Athanasius, click the link below.


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