Athanasius Contra Mundum



On May 2nd, the Roman Catholic Church commemorates Saint Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, Doctor of the Church, and courageous defender of the truths of the Christian Faith in the fourth century. His tenacious adherence to the doctrine of Christ’s divinity in the face of the politically powerful Arian heresy earned him persecution from many of his fellow prelates, who drew up a host of false charges to oust him from his episcopacy. Though innocent of wrongdoing, Athanasius was forced into exile from Alexandria no less than four times by four separate emperors! He held fast to the truths of the Faith in spite of dogged opposition from a multitude of opponents and even threats on his life, giving rise to the phrase, “Athanasius contra mundum,” i.e. “Athanasius against the world”.

As we celebrate the memorial of Saint Athanasius, let us pray that God may forgive us for the times we silenced ourselves concerning our faith, especially when the light of that faith was truly called for by the situation. May God give us the grace to follow Saint Athanasius’ example of Christian fortitude amidst the trials and tribulations that we face everyday.

A detailed biography of Saint Athanasius and his published works can be found on New Advent.

From the Breviary:
Father, You raised up Saint Athanasius to be an outstanding defender of the truth of Christ’s divinity. By his teaching and protection, may we grow in your knowledge and love.

Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, forever and ever. Amen.