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This week in Christian history: ‘Father of Orthodoxy’ dies, Methodists vote to allow female clergy

Saint Athanasius of Alexandria dies – May 2, 373

Saint Athanasius of Alexandria
An icon of Saint Athanasius of Alexandria (circa 293-373), a Church leader, theologian, apologist, and Egyptian national leader. |

This week marks the anniversary of when Saint Athanasius of Alexandria, an early church leader known for theological and apologetic works known as the “Father of Orthodoxy,” died.

An Egyptian bishop, Athanasius was known for his intellectual battles against heretical teachings, and defending the merits of the then newly created Nicene Creed.

His efforts often led him into power struggles with other religious and political leaders at the time, prompting him to be exiled and have his life threatened for his views.

“'Let what was confessed by the Fathers of Nicaea prevail,’ he wrote to a philosopher friend and correspondent in the closing years of his life ... That that confession did at last prevail in the various Trinitarian formularies that followed upon that of Nicaea was due, humanly speaking, more to his laborious witness than to that of any other champion in the long teachers' roll of Catholicism,” noted the Catholic website New Advent.

“… this man, who had endured exile so often, and risked life itself in defence [sic] of what he believed to be the first and most essential truth of the Catholic creed, died not by violence or in hiding, but peacefully in his own bed, surrounded by his clergy and mourned by the faithful of the see he had served so well.” 

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