Today's Saint (May 2): Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria

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Raised by Christian parents, Athanasius (c. 296 - 373) was educated at schools in Alexandria, and became the Bishop of Alexandria.

He is best known for defending the Faith against the Arian heresy, which denied the divinity of Our Lord. The Council of Nicaea in 325 condemned this heresy, and Athanasius was present as a deacon and secretary to his bishop, Alexander.

Athanasius was a staunch defender against the Arians and, as a consequence, underwent continual persecutions throughout his life.

He endured lawsuits, quarrels and numerous exiles at the hands of his enemies. He is a powerful example of stedfastness to moderns, whose temptations are as strong, even though more subtle at times.

He is especially a powerful patron for clergy - deacons, priests and bishops - in his colourful reminder that there are costs, temporally speaking, of standing up for the faith, and that even when they drag you into courts of law and utter quarrelsome lies against you, Christ is your Saviour, Master and Defender.

"We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed: we are perplexed, but not in despair: persecuted, but not forsaken: cast down, but not destroyed: always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus." (The day's epistle, page E 57, The People's Anglican Missal).

The Day's Propers
Catholic Encyclopedia article

Books Worth Considering
On The Incarnation (Enhanced Version)
Athanasius (Harper Collins Spiritual Classics)
Champion of Truth: The Life of Saint Athanasius

Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church
The Concise Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church