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Encyclopedia > Athanasius of Alexandria
Saint Athanasius

Saint Athanasius
Doctors of the Church
Born around 293, Alexandria, Egypt
Died May 2, 373, Alexandria, Egypt
Venerated in Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Church, Oriental Orthodox Churches, Lutheran Church, Anglican Communion
Major shrine Saint Mark Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Cairo, Egypt
Santa Croce, Venice, Italy
Feast May 2 (Western)
January 18 (Eastern Orthodox)
May 15 = 7 Pashons, 89 A.M. (Coptic Orthodox)
Attributes bishop arguing with a pagan; bishop holding an open book; bishop standing over a defeated heretic
Saints Portal

Athanasius of Alexandria (Greek: Αθανάσιος, Athanásios; c 293May 2, 373) was a Christian bishop, the Bishop of Alexandria, in the fourth century. He is revered as a saint by the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Lutheran Church, the Anglican Communion, and the Oriental Orthodox Church, and regarded as a great leader of the Church by Protestants. He is the earliest living of those declared Doctors by the Roman Catholic Church, and he is counted as one of the four Great Doctors of the Eastern Church. His feast day is January 18 in the Eastern Orthodox Churches and May 2 in Western Christianity and the Coptic Orthodox Church. Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... In Catholicism, a Doctor of the Church (Lat. ... Events March 1 - Diocletian and Maximian appoint Constantius Chlorus and Galerius as Caesars. ... Alexandria (Greek: , Coptic: , Arabic: , Egyptian Arabic: Iskindireyya), (population of 3. ... May 2 is the 122nd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (123rd in leap years). ... Events The Battle of the Tanais River near the Don where the Huns defeat the Alans. ... Alexandria (Greek: , Coptic: , Arabic: , Egyptian Arabic: Iskindireyya), (population of 3. ... The Roman Catholic Church or Catholic Church (see terminology below) is the Christian Church in full communion with the Bishop of Rome, currently Pope Benedict XVI. It traces its origins to the original Christian community founded by Jesus Christ and led by the Twelve Apostles, in particular Saint Peter. ... The Eastern Orthodox Church is a Christian body that views itself as: the historical continuation of the original Christian community established by Jesus Christ and the Twelve Apostles, having maintained unbroken the link between its clergy and the Apostles by means of Apostolic Succession. ... Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ... The Lutheran movement is a group of denominations of Protestant Christianity by the original definition. ... The Anglican Communion uses the compass rose as its symbol, signifying its worldwide reach and decentralized nature. ... Eastern Orthodox shrine Buddhist shrine just outside Wat Phnom. ... Cathedral of St. ... Nickname: Al Qahirah (The Triumphant City) Egypt: Site of Cairo (top center) Coordinates: Government  - Governor Dr. Abdul Azim Wazir Area  - City 214 km²  (82. ... For the basilica in Florence, see Basilica di Santa Croce di Firenze Santa Croce is one of the six sestieri of Venice. ... Venice (Italian: Venezia, Venetian: Venezsia) is the capital of region Veneto, and has a population of 271,663 (census estimate January 1, 2004). ... The calendar of saints is a traditional Christian method of organising a liturgical year on the level of days by associating each day with one or more saints, and referring to the day as that saints day. ... May 2 is the 122nd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (123rd in leap years). ... Western Christianity is a form of Christianity that consists of the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church and Protestantism. ... January 18 is the 18th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... The Eastern Orthodox Church is a Christian body that views itself as: the historical continuation of the original Christian community established by Jesus Christ and the Twelve Apostles, having maintained unbroken the link between its clergy and the Apostles by means of Apostolic Succession. ... May 15 is the 135th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (136th in leap years). ... 6 Pashons - Coptic calendar - 8 Pashons All fixed commemorations below are observed on 7 Pashons by the Coptic Orthodox Church Pope Athanasius the Apostolic (373 A.D.) Category: ... Christ - Coptic Art Coptic Orthodox Christianity is the indigenous form of Christianity that, according to tradition, the apostle Mark established in Egypt in the middle of the 1st century AD (approximately AD 60). ... Saint symbology was important to people who couldnt read because they can figure out what symbols mean. ... Image File history File links Gloriole. ... Events March 1 - Diocletian and Maximian appoint Constantius Chlorus and Galerius as Caesars. ... May 2 is the 122nd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (123rd in leap years). ... Events The Battle of the Tanais River near the Don where the Huns defeat the Alans. ... Christianity is a monotheistic[1] religion centered on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as presented in the New Testament. ... Christ - Coptic Art Coptic Orthodox Christianity is the indigenous form of Egypt in the middle of the 1st century AD (approximately AD 60). ... In traditional Christian iconography, Saints are often depicted as having halos. ... The Roman Catholic Church or Catholic Church (see terminology below) is the Christian Church in full communion with the Bishop of Rome, currently Pope Benedict XVI. It traces its origins to the original Christian community founded by Jesus Christ and led by the Twelve Apostles, in particular Saint Peter. ... The Eastern Orthodox Church is a Christian body that views itself as: the historical continuation of the original Christian community established by Jesus Christ and the Twelve Apostles, having maintained unbroken the link between its clergy and the Apostles by means of Apostolic Succession. ... The Lutheran movement is a group of denominations of Protestant Christianity by the original definition. ... The Anglican Communion uses the compass rose as its symbol, signifying its worldwide reach and decentralized nature. ... The term Oriental Orthodoxy refers to the churches of Eastern Christian traditions that keeps the faith of only the first three ecumenical councils of the undivided Church - the councils of Nicea, Constantinople and Ephesus. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... The Roman Catholic Church or Catholic Church (see terminology below) is the Christian Church in full communion with the Bishop of Rome, currently Pope Benedict XVI. It traces its origins to the original Christian community founded by Jesus Christ and led by the Twelve Apostles, in particular Saint Peter. ... The term Eastern Church is variously used to refer to: The Eastern Orthodox Church, or Any of the Oriental Orthodox churches, or Any of the Eastern Rite Catholic churches, or The three groups collectively, when speaking of things they share in common with each other but not with Western churches. ... January 18 is the 18th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Eastern Orthodoxy (also called Greek Orthodoxy and Russian Orthodoxy) is a Christian tradition which represents the majority of Eastern Christianity. ... May 2 is the 122nd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (123rd in leap years). ... Western Christianity is a form of Christianity that consists of the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church and Protestantism. ... Christ - Coptic Art Coptic Orthodox Christianity is the indigenous form of Christianity that, according to tradition, the apostle Mark established in Egypt in the middle of the 1st century AD (approximately AD 60). ...

Contents

Historical significance

Early Life

The Alexandria of his boyhood was an epitome--intellectually, morally, and politically--of the ethnically diverse Graeco-Roman world. It was the most important center of trade in the whole empire; and its primacy as an emporium of ideas was more commanding than that of Rome or Constantinople, Antioch or Marseilles. Its famous "Catechetical School", while sacrificing none of its famous passion for orthodoxy since the days of Pantaenus, Clement, and Origen, had begun to take on an almost secular character in the comprehensiveness of its interests, and had counted influential pagans among its serious auditors (Eusebius, Hist. Eccl., VI, xix). Alexandria (Greek: , Coptic: , Arabic: , Egyptian Arabic: Iskindireyya), (population of 3. ... Saint Pantaenus (d. ... Clement is an adjective for clemency, and also the name of a number of notable figures: Saint Clement of Alexandria Saint Clement of Ohrid Any of several popes named Clement. ... Origen Origen (Greek: Ōrigénēs, 185–ca. ... Eusebius is the name of several significant historical people: Pope Eusebius - Pope in AD 309 - 310. ...


Athanasius seems to have been brought early in life under the immediate supervision of the ecclesiastical authorities of his native city. A story has been preserved by Rufinus (Hist. Eccl., I, xiv). The bishop Alexander, so the tale runs, had invited a number of fellow prelates to meet him at breakfast after a great religious function. While Alexander was waiting for his guests to arrive, he stood by a window, watching a group of boys at play on the seashore below the house. He had not observed them long before he discovered that they were imitating the elaborate ritual of Christian baptism. He sent for the children and, in the investigation that followed, it was discovered that one of the boys (none other than Athanasius), had acted the part of the bishop, and in that character had actually baptized several of his companions in the course of their play. Alexander determined to recognize the make-believe baptisms as genuine, and decided that Athanasius and his playfellows should go into training in order to prepare themselves for a clerical career. Tyrannius Rufinus or Rufinus of Aquileia (between 340 and 345–410 CE) was a monk, historian, and theologian. ... For other uses, see Alexander (disambiguation). ...


Sozomen speaks of his "fitness for the priesthood", and calls attention to the significant circumstance that he was "from his tenderest years practically self-taught". "Not long after this," adds the same authority, the Bishop Alexander "invited Athanasius to be his commensal and secretary. He had been well educated, and was versed in grammar and rhetoric, and had already, while still a young man, and before reaching the episcopate, given proof to those who dwelt with him of his wisdom and acumen" (Soz., II, xvii). That "wisdom and acumen" manifested themselves in a varied environment. While still a deacon under Alexander's care, he seems to have been brought for a while into close relations with some of the solitaries of the Egyptian desert, and in particular with the great St. Anthony, whose life he is said to have written. Salminius Hermias Sozomen (c. ...


Opposition to Arianism

In about 319, when Athanasius was a deacon, a presbyter named Arius came into a direct conflict with Bishop Alexander. It appears that Arius approached Alexander for what he felt were misguided or heretical teachings being taught by the bishop.[1] Arius’ theological views appear to have been firmly rooted in Alexandrian Christianity, and his Christologial views were certainly not radical at all.[2] He embraced a subordinationist Christology (that God did not have a beginning, but the Logos did), heavily influenced by Alexandrian thinkers like Origen,[3]. Arius was subsequently excommunicated by Alexander, and he would begin to elicit the support of many bishops who agreed with his position. Athanasius may have accompanied Alexander to the First Council of Nicaea in 325, the council which produced the Nicene Creed and anathematized Arius and his followers. On May 9, 328, he succeeded Alexander as bishop of Alexandria. As a result of rises and falls in Arianism's influence after the First Council of Nicaea, Emperor Constantine I banished him from Alexandria to Tyre, only to be later restored after the death of Constantine I by his son Constantine II. Athanasius was restored on at least five separate occasions, perhaps as many as seven. This gave rise to the expression "Athanasius contra mundum" or "Athanasius against the world". During some of his exiles, he spent time with the Desert Fathers, monks and hermits who lived in remote areas of Egypt. Despite his doctrinal firmness, he showed diplomatic flair in rallying the Orthodox at the Council of Alexandria in 362. Events Chandragupta I succeeds his father Ghatotkacha as ruler of the Gupta Empire Births Saint Bassiano, first Bishop of Lodi, Italy. ... Deacon is a role in the Christian Church which is generally associated with service of some kind, but which varies among theological and denominational traditions. ... Presbyter in the New Testament refers to a leader in local Christian congregations, a synonym of episkopos, which has come to mean bishop. ... Arius (AD/CE 256 - 336, poss. ... Arius (AD/CE 256 - 336, poss. ... For other uses, see Alexander (disambiguation). ... Arius (AD/CE 256 - 336, poss. ... Christology is a field of study within Christian theology which is concerned with the nature of Jesus the Christ. ... Look up logos in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Alexandria (Greek: , Coptic: , Arabic: , Egyptian Arabic: Iskindireyya), (population of 3. ... Origen Origen (Greek: ÅŒrigénÄ“s, 185–ca. ... For other uses, see Alexander (disambiguation). ... St. ... The First Council of Nicaea, held in Nicea in Bithynia (in present-day Turkey), convoked by the Roman Emperor Constantine I in 325, was the first ecumenical[1] conference of bishops of the Catholic Church, and most significantly resulted in the first uniform Christian doctrine, called the Nicene Creed. ... Events May 20 - First Council of Nicaea - first Ecumenical Council of the Christian Church: The Nicene Creed is formulated, the date of Easter is discussed. ... Icon depicting the Holy Fathers of the First Council of Nicaea holding the Nicene Creed. ... Anathema (in Greek Ανάθεμα) meaning originally something lifted up as an offering to the gods; later, with evolving meanings, it came to mean: to be formally set apart, banished, exiled, excommunicated or denounced, sometimes accursed. ... Arius (AD/CE 256 - 336, poss. ... May 9 is the 129th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (130th in leap years). ... Events May 9: Athanasius is elected bishop of Alexandria Births Valens, Roman Emperor Wong Tai Sin Deaths April 17: Alexander I, Patriarch of Alexandria Categories: 328 ... This article is about theological views like those of Arius. ... Bronze statue of Constantine I in York, England, near the spot where he was proclaimed Emperor in 306 For other uses, see Constantine I (disambiguation). ... The Triumphal Arch Tyre (Arabic , Phoenician , Hebrew Tzor, Tiberian Hebrew , Akkadian , Greek Týros) is a city in the South Governorate of Lebanon. ... Constantine II as caesar. ... The Desert Fathers were Christian Hermits who lived in the Sahara desert of Egypt, beginning in about the third century. ...


Writings

Athanasius spent a good deal of his energy on polemical writings against his theological opponents. Examples include: Orations Against the Arians, his defence of the divinity of the Holy Spirit (Letters to Serapion) in the 360s, and On the Holy Spirit) against the Macedonian heresy. In Christian religions that trace their roots to belief in the Nicene Creed, the Holy Spirit (Hebrew: Ruah haqodesh; Greek: ; Latin: ; also called the Holy Ghost) is the third consubstantial Person of the Holy Trinity or the Godhead. ... The Macedonians were a Christian sect of the 4th century AD, named after Patriarch Macedonius I of Constantinople. ...


Arguably his most read work is his biography of Anthony the Great entitled Vita Antonii, or Life of Antony. This biography later served as an inspiration to Christian monastics in both the East and the West. The so-called Athanasian Creed dates from well after Athanasius's death and draws upon the phraseology of Augustine's De trinitate. Saint Anthony the Great (251 - 356), also known as Saint Anthony of Egypt, Saint Anthony of the Desert, Saint Anthony the Anchorite, and The Father of All Monks, was an Egyptian Christian saint and the outstanding leader among the Desert Fathers, who were Christian monks in the Egyptian desert in... Monasticism (from Greek: monachos — a solitary person) is the religious practice in which one renounces worldly pursuits in order to devote ones life fully to spiritual work. ... The Athanasian Creed (Quicunque vult) is a statement of Christian doctrine traditionally ascribed to St. ...


New Testament canon

Athanasius is also the first person to identify the same 27 books of the New Testament that are in use today. Up until then, various similar lists of works to be read in churches were in use. A milestone in the evolution of the canon of New Testament books is his Easter letter from Alexandria, written in 367, usually referred to as his 39th Festal Letter. Pope Damasus, the Bishop of Rome in 382, promulgated a list of books which contained a New Testament canon identical to that of Athanasius. A synod in Hippone in 393 repeated Athansius' and Damasus' New Testament list (without the Epistle to the Hebrews), and a synod in Carthage in 397 repeated Athanasius' and Damasus' complete New Testament list. John 21:1 Jesus Appears to His Disciples--Alessandro Mantovani: the Vatican, Rome. ... A biblical canon is a list published by a religious authority of those books of the Bible that are considered inspired by God. ... Events First Listing of the New Testament by St Athanasius of Alexandria. ... Damasus I ( 305 - 383) was pope from 366 to 383. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Pope. ... Events October 3 - Theodosius I commands his general Saturninus to conclude a peace treaty with the Visigoths, allowing them to settle south of the Danube. ... Hippone was a Phoenician trading post, established in the 9th century BC which became a prosperous Numidian city. ... Events Gao Zu succeeds Tai Zu as Emperor of the Later Qin Empire in China. ... Christians believe that Jesus is the mediator of the New Covenant (see Hebrews 8:6). ... Carthage (Greek: , from the Phoenician Kart-hadasht meaning new town, Arabic: ‎, Latin: ) refers both to an ancient city in North Africa located in modern day Tunis and to the civilization that developed within the citys sphere of influence. ... Events Council of Carthage: Definitive declaration of the biblical canon Candida Casa founded by Saint Ninian. ...


Scholars have debated whether Athanasius' list in 367 was the basis for the later lists. Because Athanasius' canon is the closest canon of any of the Church Fathers to the canon used by Protestant churches today, many Protestants point to Athanasius as the father of the canon. They are identical except that Athanasius includes the Book of Baruch and the Letter of Jeremiah and places the Book of Esther among the apocrypha along with the Wisdom of Solomon, Sirach (Ecclesiasticus), Judith, Tobit, the Didache, and the Shepherd of Hermas.[4] See the article, Biblical canon, for more details. It has been suggested that Epistle of Jeremy be merged into this article or section. ... Letter of Jeremiah is an Apocryphal book consisting of a letter ascribed to Jeremiah to the Jews in exile in Babylon warning them against idolatry by demonstrating its unreasonableness. ... The Book of Esther is a book of the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) and of the Old Testament. ... The biblical apocrypha includes texts written in the Jewish and Christian religious traditions that either were accepted into the biblical canon by some, but not all, Christian faiths, or are frequently printed in Bibles despite their non-canonical status. ... Wisdom or the Wisdom of Solomon is one of the deuterocanonical books of the Bible. ... The Wisdom of Ben Sira, (or The Wisdom of Yeshua Ben Sira or merely Sirach), called Ecclesiasticus (not to be confused with Ecclesiastes) by Christians, is a book written circa 180–175 BCE. The author, Yeshua ben Sira, was a Jew who had been living in Jerusalem, who may in... For other uses of Judith, see Judith (disambiguation). ... Tobias and the Angel, by Filippino Lippi The Book of Tobit (or Book of Tobias in older Catholic Bibles) is a book of scripture that is part of the Catholic and Orthodox biblical canon, pronounced canonical by the Council of Carthage of 397 and confirmed for Roman Catholics by the... The Didache (, Koine Greek for Teaching[1]) is the common name of a brief early Christian treatise ( 70–160), containing instructions for Christian communities. ... The Shepherd of Hermas is a Christian work of the first or second century which had great authority in ancient times and was considered by some as one of the books of the Bible. ... A biblical canon is a list published by a religious authority of those books of the Bible that are considered inspired by God. ...


Later Life and Veneration

St. Athanasius Shrine (where the saint's relics are preserved) under St. Mark's Cathedral, Cairo
St. Athanasius Shrine (where the saint's relics are preserved) under St. Mark's Cathedral, Cairo

In the spring of 365, after the accession of Emperor Valens to the throne, troubles again arose. Athanasius was once more compelled to seek safety from his persecutors in concealment (October 365), which lasted, however, only for four months. In February 366 he resumed his episcopal labours, in which he henceforth remained undisturbed. On the 2nd of May 373, having consecrated Peter II, one of his presbyters as his successor, he died quietly in his own house. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1152x864, 119 KB) File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1152x864, 119 KB) File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Cathedral of St. ... Nickname: Al Qahirah (The Triumphant City) Egypt: Site of Cairo (top center) Coordinates: Government  - Governor Dr. Abdul Azim Wazir Area  - City 214 km²  (82. ... Solidus minted by Valens in 376. ... Peter II may refer to several monarchs or nobles: Peter II of Russia Peter II of Yugoslavia Peter II of Aragon Pedro II of Brazil Peter II of Portugal Peter II, Duke of Brittany Peter II, Duke of Bourbon Peter II of Cyprus This is a disambiguation page: a list...


The saint was originally buried in Alexandria, but his body was later transferred to Italy. Pope Shenouda III restored the relics of St. Athanasius back to Egypt on 15 May 1973 [1], after his historic visit to the Vatican and meeting with Pope Paul VI. The relics of St. Athanasius the Great of Alexandria are currently preserved under the new St. Mark Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Deir El-Anba Rowais, Abbassiya, Cairo, Egypt. Alexandria (Greek: , Coptic: , Arabic: , Egyptian Arabic: Iskindireyya), (population of 3. ... HH Pope Shenouda III, 117th Pope of Alexandria and of the Apostolic See of St Mark Pope Shenouda III (Arabic:البابا شنودة الثالث), (August 3, 1923 – ), born Nazeer Gayed (Arabic:نظير جيد), is the 117th Pope of Alexandria and the Patriarch of All Africa on the Holy Apostolic See of Saint Mark the Evangelist of... This article does not cite its references or sources. ... Mark the Evangelist (מרקוס, Greek: Μάρκος) (1st century) is traditionally believed to be the author of the Gospel of Mark and a companion of Peter. ... A Copt is a native Egyptian Christian (also see Coptic Christianity). ...


The following is a troparion (hymn) to St. Athanasius sung in some Orthodox churches. Troparion (also tropar, plural: troparia) in Byzantine music and in the religious music of Eastern Orthodoxy is a short hymn of one stanza, or one of a series of stanzas (this may carry the further connotation of a hymn interpolated between psalm verses). ...

O holy father Athanasius,
like a pillar of orthodoxy
you refuted the heretical nonsense of Arius
by insisting that the Father and the Son are equal in essence.
O venerable father, beg Christ our God to save our souls.

Criticism of Athanasius

Controversy in Athanasius’ Life

Athanasius’ life was mired in controversy, and recent scholarly works at time paint a less than flattering picture of the saint. His ascension to the station of Bishop in Alexandria occurred under questionable circumstances. Upon the death of his predecessor Alexander, in 328 C.E., more than fifty bishops gathered to confer a new leader to the Alexandrian see. While Alexander had been priming Athanasius to assume the bishopric after his death, he was not unanimously supported, and questions of his age (the minimum age to become a bishop was thirty, and questions remain to this day if he was yet that old), as well as less than overwhelming support, did not help his candidacy. Growing impatient, Athanasius took a small number of bishops who supported his claim, and held a private consecration making him bishop. His ascension would later be declared the will of the people.[5] Throughout most of his career, Athanasius would be haunted by allegations of defiling an altar, selling Church grain that had been meant to feed the poor for his own personal gain, and for suppressing dissent through violence and murder.[6] It cannot be claimed, beyond all doubt, if any or all of these specific allegations were true, but Athanasius almost certainly employed violence when it suited his cause or personal interests,[7] and his administration of the Alexandrian see has even been likened to an “ecclesiastical mafia”.[8] Serious questions also surround the reliability of his historical accounts. Athanasius seems to have severely misrepresented his own life and events, in order to warp the truth behind his own actions, and those of his enemies; especially when discussing his theological opponents, the Arians. Alexandria (Greek: , Coptic: , Arabic: , Egyptian Arabic: Iskindireyya), (population of 3. ... For other uses, see Alexander (disambiguation). ... Alexandria (Greek: , Coptic: , Arabic: , Egyptian Arabic: Iskindireyya), (population of 3. ... For other uses, see Alexander (disambiguation). ... Alexandria (Greek: , Coptic: , Arabic: , Egyptian Arabic: Iskindireyya), (population of 3. ... Arian may refer to one of the following. ...


Allegations of violence

Some modern historians suggest that the tactics of Athanasius were a significant factor in his success. He did not hesitate to back up his theological views with the use of force. In Alexandria, he assembled a group that could instigate a riot in the city if needed. It was an arrangement "built up and perpetuated by violence."[9] Along with the standard method of excommunication he used beatings, intimidation, kidnapping and imprisonment to silence his theological opponents. Unsurprisingly, these tactics caused widespread distrust and led him to being tried many times for "bribery, theft, extortion, sacrilege, treason and murder.[10] While the charges rarely stuck, his reputation was a major factor in his multiple exiles from Alexandria. He justified these tactics with the argument that he was saving all future Christians from hell. Athanasius stubbornly refused to compromise his theological views by stating, "What is at stake is not just a theological theory but people's salvation."[11] He played a clear role in making the Constantinian shift a part of the theology of the church. Sacrilege is in general the violation or injurious treatment of a sacred object. ... Battle of the Milvian Bridge, Raphael, Vatican Rooms. ...


Anti-arianism

Athanasius presented his opponents, the Arians as a cohesive group that backed Arius’ views and followed him as a leader. It is now accepted by most scholars that the Arian Party were not a monolithic group.[12] It is now believed that Arius’ supporters held drastically different theological views that spanned the early Christian theological spectrum.[13][14][15] They supported the tenets of Origenist thought and theology,[16] but had little else in common. The term Arian was first coined by Athanasius. Athanasius used the term Arian to describe many of his opponents, except for Melitians.[17] He used the term in a derogatory fashion to chide Arius’ supporters[18] who did not see themselves as followers of Arius.[19] As stated by Timothy Barnes; Athanasius used “invented dialogue to ridicule his adversaries”, and used “suppression and distortion” to serve his own means.[20] He often blamed charges and accusations leveled at him on “Arian madmen” who he claimed conspired to destroy him and Christianity. The Arian party, as described by Athanasius, may not have existed in the form he portrayed it in his writings. The view of Arianism that existed for over a thousand years, would not have existed were it not for Athanasius. Arian may refer to one of the following. ... Arius (AD/CE 256 - 336, poss. ... Arian may refer to one of the following. ... Arian may refer to one of the following. ... Arian may refer to one of the following. ... Arian may refer to one of the following. ... This article is about theological views like those of Arius. ...


Defenders of Athanasius

However, there are also many modern historians who object to this view and point out that such hostile attitude towards Athanasius is based on an unfair judgment of historical sources.[21] There are at present two completely opposite views about the personality of Athanasius. While some scholars praise him as an orthodox saint with great character, some see him as a power-hungry politician, or even a violent gangster. Both parties claim to have strong evidence supporting their views.


See also

A creed is a statement or confession of belief — usually religious belief — or faith. ... Icon depicting the Holy Fathers of the First Council of Nicaea holding the Nicene Creed. ... The Apostles Creed (Latin: Symbolum Apostolorum), sometimes titled Symbol of the Apostles, is an early statement of Christian belief, a creed or symbol. ... The Athanasian Creed (Quicunque vult) is a statement of Christian doctrine traditionally ascribed to St. ... The Shield of the Trinity or Scutum Fidei is a traditional Christian visual symbol which expresses many aspects of the doctrine of the Trinity, summarizing the first part of the Athanasian Creed in a compact diagram. ...

References

  • Arnold, Duane W.-H., 1991 The Early Episcopal Career of Athanasius of Alexandria
  • Barnes, Timothy D., Athanasius and Constantius : Theology and Politics in the Constantinian Empire (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1993).
  • Barnes, Timothy D., Constantine and Eusebius (Cambridge Mass: Harvard University Press, 1981)
  • Brakke, David, 1995. Athanasius and the Politics of Asceticism
  • Chadwick, Henry, “Faith and Order at the Council of Nicaea”, Harvard Theological Review LIII (Cambridge Mass: 1960), 171-195.
  • Ernest, James D., The Bible in Athanasius of Alexandria (Leiden: Brill, 2004).
  • Haas, Christopher “The Arians of Alexandria”, Vigiliae Christianae Vol. 47, no. 3 (1993), 234-245.
  • Kannengiesser, Charles, “Alexander and Arius of Alexandria: The last Ante-Nicene theologians”, Miscelanea En Homenaje Al P. Antonio Orbe Compostellanum Vol. XXXV, no. 1-2. (Santiago de Compostela, 1990), 391-403.
  • Kannengiesser, Charles “Athanasius of Alexandria vs. Arius: The Alexandrian Crisis”, in The Roots of Egyptian Christianity (Studies in Antiquity and Christianity), ed. Birger A. Pearson and James E. Goehring (1986), 204-215.
  • Ng, Nathan K. K., 2001 The Spirituality of Athanasius
  • Rubenstein, Richard E., When Jesus Became God: The Epic Fight over Christ’s Divinity in the Last Days of Rome (New York: Harcourt Brace & Company, 1999).
  • Williams, Rowan Arius: Heresy and Tradition (London: Darton, Longman and Todd, 1987).

Notes

  1. ^ Kannengiesser, Charles, “Alexander and Arius of Alexandria: The last Ante-Nicene theologians”, Miscelanea En Homenaje Al P. Antonio Orbe Compostellanum Vol. XXXV, no. 1-2. (Santiago de Compostela, 1990),398
  2. ^ Williams, Rowan, Arius: Heresy and Tradition (London: Darton, Longman and Todd, 1987),175
  3. ^ Williams, 175
  4. ^ Excerpt from Letter 39
  5. ^ Rubenstein, Richard E., When Jesus Became God: The Epic Fight over Christ’s Divinity in the Last Days of Rome (New York: Harcourt Brace & Company, 1999), 105-106
  6. ^ Barnes, Timothy D., Athanasius and Constantius : Theology and Politics in the Constantinian Empire (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1993),37
  7. ^ Rubenstein,106
  8. ^ Barnes, Timothy D., Constantine and Eusebius (Cambridge Mass: Harvard University Press, 1981), 230-231.
  9. ^ Barnes, 230.
  10. ^ Rubenstein, 6.
  11. ^ Olson, 172.
  12. ^ Haas, Christopher, “The Arians of Alexandria”, Vigiliae Christianae Vol. 47, no. 3 (1993), 239
  13. ^ Chadwick, Henry, “Faith and Order at the Council of Nicaea”, Harvard Theological Review LIII (Cambridge Mass: 1960),173
  14. ^ Williams, 63
  15. ^ Kannengiesser "Alexander and Arius", 403
  16. ^ Kannengiesser, “Athanasius of Alexandria vs. Arius: The Alexandrian Crisis”, in The Roots of Egyptian Christianity (Studies in Antiquity and Christianity), ed. Birger A. Pearson and James E. Goehring (1986),208
  17. ^ Barnes "Athanasius and Constantius",135
  18. ^ Barnes "Athanasius and Constantius",14
  19. ^ Williams, 82
  20. ^ Barnes "Athanasius and Constantius",128
  21. ^ Arnold, 24-99; Ng, 273-292.

External links

  • Background information, plus his actual writings
  • The Athanasian Creed
  • Athanasius Select Resources, Bilingual Anthology (in Greek original and English)
  • Two audio lectures about Athanasius on the deity of Christ, Dr N Needham
  • Concorida Cyclopedia: Athanasius
  • Christian Cyclopedia: Athanasius
Preceded by
Alexander
Patriarch of Alexandria
328373
or
328-339
346-373
Succeeded by
Peter II

Gregory of Cappadocia (arian antipatriarch, not acknowledged)
Peter II

  Results from FactBites:
 
Athanasius of Alexandria - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (975 words)
Athanasius accompanied Alexander to the First Council of Nicaea in 325, which council produced the Nicene Creed and anathematized Arius and his followers.
Athanasius is also the first person to identify the same 27 books of the New Testament that are in use today.
Because Athanasius' canon is the closest canon of any of the Church Fathers to the canon used by Protestant churches today many Protestants point to Athanasius as the father of the canon.
Athanasius of Alexandria - definition of Athanasius of Alexandria in Encyclopedia (414 words)
Athanasius of Alexandria (also spelled "Athanasios") was a Christian bishop of Alexandria in the fourth century.
Athanasius responded that the Father's begetting of the Son, or uttering of the Word, was an eternal relationship between them, not an event that took place within time.
Athanasius is also the first person to identify the same 27 books of the New Testament that are in use today; up until his Easter letter, various similar lists were in use.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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