Saint Brigid Religious Education
100 Mayflower Street
West Hartford, CT 06110
Feast day: May 2
Athanasius led a tumultuous but dedicated life of service to the Church.
He was the great champion of the faith against the widespread heresy of
Arianism. The vigor of his writings earned him the title of doctor of
a Christian family in Alexandria, Egypt, and given a classical
education, Athanasius became secretary to Alexander, the bishop of
Alexandria, entered the priesthood and was eventually named bishop
himself. His predecessor, Alexander, had been an outspoken critic of a
new movement growing in the East. Arianism.
Athanasius assumed his role as bishop of Alexandria, he continued the
fight against Arianism. At first it seemed that the battle would be
easily won and that Arianism would be condemned. Such, however, did not
prove to be the case. The Council of Tyre was called and for several
reasons that are still unclear, the Emperor Constantine exiled
Athanasius to northern Gaul. This was to be the first in a series of
travels and exiles reminiscent of the life of St. Paul.
Constantine died, his son restored Athanasius as bishop. This lasted
only a year, however, for he was deposed once again by a coalition of
Arian bishops. Athanasius took his case to Rome, and Pope Julius I
called a synod to review the case and other related matters.
times Athanasius was exiled for his defense of the doctrine of Christís
divinity. During one period of his life, he enjoyed 10 years of relative
peace, reading, writing and promoting the Christian life along the lines
of the monastic ideal to which he was greatly devoted. His dogmatic and
historical writings are almost all polemic, directed against every
aspect of Arianism.
his ascetical writings, his Life of St. Anthony (January 17)
achieved astonishing popularity and contributed greatly to the
establishment of monastic life throughout the Western Christian world.
St. Athanasius died in Alexandria on May 2, 373, and to this day he is
honored on May 2.