Saint Athanasius was an early Christian bishop, theologian, and writer who lived from 296 to 373 AD. He is revered as a saint by both the Eastern and Western Churches and is considered one of the four great doctors of the Eastern Church.
Athanasius was born into a Christian family in the city of Alexandria, in the Roman province of Egypt. He was a student of the noted Christian theologian, Origen of Alexandria, who was a great influence on his thought and theology. He was ordained a priest by Alexander, the bishop of Alexandria, in 319. He was appointed as Alexander’s successor when Alexander died in 328.
Saint Athanasius is the patron saint of theologians and against heresies and is widely recognized for his fight against the Arian heresy. Arianism was a Christological heresy that denied the divinity of Jesus Christ and claimed that he was a created being rather than the eternal Son of God. Saint Athanasius spent much of his life refuting this heresy and was exiled five times by various Roman emperors for his opposition to it.
One of the most significant contributions of Saint Athanasius was the formulation of the Nicene Creed, a statement of faith that is still used by many Christian denominations today. He also wrote numerous theological works, including "On the Incarnation of the Word", which is considered one of the most important works of early Christian theology. He is also believed to have written the first biography of Saint Anthony the Great, a founder of Christian monasticism.
Saint Athanasius was canonized as a saint by the Catholic Church and is remembered on May 2nd.
Saint Athanasius was a crucial figure in early Christianity and his legacy continues to impact the Church today. He is remembered for his fight against the Arian heresy, his contributions to the Nicene Creed, and his many theological writings that helped shape Christian thought.