Saint Athanasius of Alexandria

St. Athanasius (296-373 A.D.) was born in Alexandria, Egypt, to noble Christian parents. He received an excellent education in theology, philosophy, rhetoric, and law, which he directed to the service of God. He made great progress in both wisdom and virtue, and made a spiritual retreat in the Egyptian desert with St. Anthony the Great. St. Athanasius became the Bishop of Alexandria and served in that role for 46 years. He tirelessly and courageously devoted most of his life to defeating the Arian heresy, which denied the divinity of Christ. When the majority of his fellow bishops were Arian heretics, which threatened the integrity of the whole Church, Athansius stood firmly and almost single-handedly against their error using his philosophical knowledge, theological wisdom, rhetorical skill, and strength of spirit. Despite having the support of several popes, he suffered great trials, scandals, and persecutions at the hands of his doctrinal enemies, and spent much of his life in exile. He was a participant in the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D. and did much of the theological work which supported the condemnation of the Arian heresy and the formulation of the Nicene Creed. St. Athanasius is known as one of the greatest champions of Catholic doctrine to have ever lived, earning the title, "Father of Orthodoxy." St. Athanasius was later declared a Doctor of the Church. His feast day is celebrated on May 2nd.

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