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Saturday, 19 April 2014
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St Athanasius

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St. Athanasius was born in 297 A.D. in Alexandria and died in 373. He was the bishop of Alexandria for 45 years. St. Athanasius was considered the champion of the Council of Nicea in 325. He was a prolific opponent of the Arians who exiled him 5 times.

Arianism was perhaps the most serious heresy of the early church. It was named after Arius (died 312) its chief exponent, and flourished in Alexandria and throughout the Near East in the 4th century. In its most extreme form it denied that Christ was God. In other words it claimed that the Second Person of the Trinity was not of the same nature or substance as God the Father.

St. Athanasius is one of the four great doctors of the Eastern Church. He wrote the "On the Incarnation", the "Discourses Against the Arians", and the "Life of Anthony". St. Athanasius is known as the Doctor of Incarnation and his theology of the Trinity was the inspiration for Hilary, bishop of Arles, to write the Athanasian Creed.

The four Great Doctors of the Eastern Church, Sts John Chrysostom, Gregory of Nazianzus, Athanasius and Basil the Great, were recognized in 1568 by Pope St. Pius V.

A Doctor of theChurch, (from the Latin docere, to teach), is a saint from whose writings the whole Church is held to have derived great advantage and to whom "eminent learning" and "great sanctity" have been attributed. The honour is always bestowed posthumously.

Sts
Ambrose, Augustine, Jerome, and Pope Gregory Iwere the original doctors of the Church and were named in 1298. They are known collectively as the Great Doctors of the Western Church.