Feast of St. Athanasius

St. Athanasius lived in the fourth century (297 – 373), just a few hundred years after Christ. Christian faith was a part of Athanasius’ life from a very young age. Rufinus (who later became Bishop of Alexandria) relates that he saw two boys ‘playing baptism’ on the beach. One was Athanasius. Rufinus encouraged the two youngsters towards the priesthood.

Athanasius may be best known for his steadfast belief in the doctrine of the Trinity and his extensive biography of St. Antony of Egypt, who died just forty years before Athanasius was born. Athanasius and Antony both believed that to love Christ meant to resist the devil and wage spiritual warfare. Athanasius definitely had his share of spiritual battles as he waged war against the Arian heresies for many years.

Athanasius also wrote letters to the other bishops of the time, listing the books of the Bible that should be considered part of Scripture. That list has become the New Testament that we all use today. His Old Testament list of books is identical to that used by most Protestants.

This antiphon from the Divine Office (Liturgy of the Hours) for the feast of St. Athanasius can be an inspiration. “The law of his God is within his heart, alleluia, alleluia. And his footsteps will not be moved.”

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