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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 January 16, 2021

If you really want to love Jesus, first learn to suffer...

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January 16

 

If you really want to love Jesus, first
learn to suffer, because
suffering teaches you to love.

St. Gemma Galgani


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Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Honoratus of Arles

Although their father objected and placed obstacles before t...

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St. Honoratus of Arles

Honoratus was born into a patrician Roman family that had settled in Gaul, present-day France. As a young man, he renounced paganism and won his elder brother Venantius over to Christ.

Although their father objected and placed obstacles before them, the two brothers decided to leave the world. Under the tutelage of the hermit St. Caprasius they sailed from Marseilles with the intention of leading a secluded life in a Grecian desert.

In Greece, illness struck and Venantius died in peace. Also ill, Honoratus was obliged to return to Gaul with his instructor. At first, he lived as a hermit in the mountains near Fréjus.  Later, he settled on the island of Lérins off the southern coast of France. Followed by others, he founded a monastery on the island about the year 400. The monastic community is active to this day. St. Patrick, the great apostle of Ireland is said to have studied at Lérins.

In 426 Honoratus was pressed upon to accept the bishopric of Arles, where he reestablished Catholic orthodoxy, challenged by the Arian heresy. He died three years later exhausted from his apostolic labors.
The island of Lérins, today the island of Saint Honorat just south of Cannes, is home to Cistercian monks who live in a majestic monastery and produce fine wines and liqueurs which are well-known throughout the world.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

At the name of Mary, the angels rejoice and the demons scram...

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The Sheer Power of Mary's Name

At the name of Mary, the angels rejoice and the demons scramble.

Thomas a Kempis, author of the famous Imitation of Christ, affirms that:

“The devils fear the queen of heaven so much that by just hearing her name pronounced they fly from the person who utters it like from a burning fire”.

St. Ambrose compares her name to a sweet ointment, because whenever pronounced, it is a healing balm to our sinful souls.

“The name of Mary heals sinners, rejoices hearts and inflames them with God’s love”, says St. Alphonsus Liguori in his Glories of Mary.

Our Blessed Lady revealed to St. Bridget that there is not on earth a sinner, no matter how far he may be from God’s love who, on invoking her name with the resolution to repent, does not cause the devil to flee from him or her. No matter how imprisoned a sinner may be in the devil’s grip, as soon as the latter hears this sinner pronounce the sweet name of Mary, he is obliged to release him or her.

Our Lady also revealed to St. Bridget that in the same way as the devils fly from a person invoking her name, so do the angels approach pious souls that pronounce her name with devotion.

So, fellow sinners, this Lent let us invoke this “air-clearing” sweet and powerful name of Mary often! We and our loved ones will be the better, the freer and the happier for it!

Taken from The Glories of Mary by Saint Alphonsus Liguori

Click here to order your Free 8X10 Picture of Our Lady of Fatima

At the name of Mary, the angels rejoice and the demons scramble.

 

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