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Athanasius, known as “the Champion of Orthodoxy,” was born in Alexandria in approximately 297. Nothing is known of his family except that his parents were Christians and that he had a brother, Peter.

From his youth he was close to the hermits of the desert, specially the great St. Anthony whose life he wrote. He was highly educated in Greek, literature, philosophy and rhetoric, jurisprudence and Christian doctrine, and had an exceptional knowledge of the Holy Scriptures. Around 318, he was received into the diaconate and was appointed secretary to Bishop Alexander of Alexandria.

About the year 323, a presbyter of Libyan origins by name Arius, scandalized Christianity by teaching that Christ, although a superlative human, was not divine. Bishop Alexander called a council of Egyptian bishops who condemned the doctrine as heresy, and deposed Arius and eleven priests and deacons. The heresiarch continued to win over prelates and “intellectuals”, disseminating his doctrine in songs set to popular tunes, which chanted in marketplaces and by sailors, spread like wildfire throughout the Mediterranean.

Athanasius was present at the First Council of Nicaea in 325 which formerly defined the heresy and set forth the true doctrine of the divinity of Christ, excommunicated Arius and promulgated the Nicene Creed.

At the death of Bishop Alexander, shortly after the council, Athanasius was nominated his successor though not yet thirty years of age.

In 330, the Arian Bishop Eusebius of Nicomedia persuaded the Emperor Constantine to write to Athanasius bidding him re-admit Arius into communion. Athanasius replied that the Catholic Church could hold no communion with heretics who attacked the divinity of Christ. He was to lead the struggle against Arianism for the rest of his life.

The embattled bishop was accused of everything from exacting a tax on church linen to killing a dissenting bishop (very much alive in hiding). After these accusations, his life was plagued with harassment, banishments, the need to defend himself before councils with periods of reprieve depending on which emperor reigned.

At one point his diocese was even usurped by an Arian bishop.

Five times he was driven from his post, spending a total of seventeen years as a bishop in exile. When banished, Athanasius followed the example of his friend St. Anthony and retired to the desert.

Finally, Emperor Valens, fearing an uprising of the Egyptians who loved their prelate, revoked a fifth edict of banishment, and Athanasius was escorted back to his see in triumph.

He reigned undisturbed for the last seven years of his life, dying in Alexandria on May 2, 373.

His body was later translated first to Constantinople and then to Venice.

 


 

 

Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for February 19, 2020

This world and the world to come are two enemies. We cannot...

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February 19

 

This world and the world to come
are two enemies.
We cannot therefore be friends to both; but
we must decide which we will forsake
and which we will enjoy.

Pope St. Clement I

  
My Mother, I will stand with you on OCTOBER 10, 2020

Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Boniface of Lausanne

Boniface’s eight years as bishop of Lausanne were riddled...

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St. Boniface of Lausanne

Boniface was born in Belgium in 1205, and when he was just 17, was sent to study at a university in Paris. Once he completed his education, he remained at the university as a teacher, and over the course of seven years, became a very popular lecturer.

When the students at the university became locked in a dispute with their teachers and started boycotting classes, Boniface left Paris to fill a post at the cathedral school in Cologne.

Just two years later, in 1230, Boniface was elected Bishop of Lausanne. He accepted his new position enthusiastically and devoted all his energies to the spiritual leadership of his diocese.

But his eight years as Bishop of Lausanne were riddled with disputes, and the people of his diocese were discontented with his frank and open ways in the pulpit: he publicly scolded Emperor Frederick II and the local clergy for their corruption.

As a result of this rebuke, in 1239 he was attacked and gravely wounded by Frederick's men. This caused Boniface to ask Pope Gregory IX for permission to resign as bishop. The pope agreed, and Boniface returned to his native Belgium and began living at the Cistercian monastery at La Cambre. Although he stayed there for the rest of his life and wore the habit of the order, he apparently never became a Cistercian.

Boniface was canonized in 1702.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

Handing him a Rosary she asked him to go to Mass for a week....

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Payback

At Anna’s mother’s funeral a man came up to her and after offering his deepest sympathy, took the grieving daughter aside, “I must tell you a story about your good mother and something she did for me…”

He proceeded to recount how, many years before he was involved in an extra-marital affair. One day, when dining with the woman in a restaurant, Anna’s parents had come in and pretended they had not seen them.

But next day he picked up the phone to hear Anna’s mother inviting him over for a piece of pie.

“You know how good your mother’s pie was…But there was also a tone of urgent authority in her voice, so I went.”

After enjoying his piece of pie, Anna’s mother revealed that she had, indeed, seen him and his girl-friend the night before.

“Though I vehemently denied it, your mother would not relent...She proceeded to remind me of the time when I was out of work and she had cooked for my family day in and day out.”

“Now, I want payback,” she demanded.

“I reached for my wallet, but she said,”

“Not that way.”

Handing him a Rosary she asked him to go to Mass for a week. She instructed him to say the Hail Mary and Our Father assigned to each bead while thinking of something good about his wife, his children and their family life.

“If at the end of this week you still think this woman is better for you, just mail me back the Rosary, and I will never say a word about this again.”

At this point, the man telling the story reached into his pocket. Pulling out a worn Rosary, he said,

“This is the Rosary your mother gave me all those years ago. My wife and I have said it together every day since.”

 Based on a story from 101 Inspirational Stories of the Rosary by Sister Patricia Proctor, OSC

Handing him a Rosary she asked him to go to Mass for a week. She instructed him to say the Hail Mary

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