St Athanasius, May 2

Ikone Athanasius von Alexandria.jpg


St Athanasius is extremely important not just as a Father of the Church, but also from a monastic point of view, for his Life of St Antony.  The reading for his feast at Matins is as follows:
Athanasius was Bishop of Alexandria, and a most vigorous defender of the Catholic religion. When he was still a deacon, he refuted the impiety of Arius at the Council of Nicaea, and earned such hatred from the Arians that, from that time on, they never ceased to lay snares for him. Driven into exile, he went to Treves in Gaul. He endured unbelievable hardships and wandered over a great part of the world, being often driven from his Church, and often restored by the authority of Pope Julius and the decrees of the Councils of Sardica and Jerusalem. All this while, he was persecuted by the Arians. Finally, rescued, by the help of God, from so many great dangers, he died at Alexandria during the reign of Emperor Valens. His life and death are marked by great miracles. He wrote many works, both of devotion and of catechetics, and, with great holiness, he ruled the Church of Alexandria, in those most troubled times, for forty-six years.

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