Athanasius of Alexandria

Athanasius of Alexandria called Athanasius the Great, Athanasius the Confessor or in the Coptic Orthodox Church, Athanasius the Apostolic, was the 20th bishop of Alexandria. His intermittent episcopacy spanned 45 years, of which over 17 encompassed five exiles, when he was replaced on the order of four different Roman emperors. Athanasius was a Christian theologian, a Church Father, the chief defender of Trinitarianism against Arianism, a noted Egyptian leader of the fourth century. Conflict with Arius and Arianism as well as successive Roman emperors shaped Athanasius' career. In 325, at the age of 27, Athanasius began his leading role against the Arians as a deacon and assistant to Bishop Alexander of Alexandria during the First Council of Nicaea. Roman emperor Constantine the Great had convened the council in May–August 325 to address the Arian position that the Son of God, Jesus of Nazareth, is of a distinct substance from the Father. Three years after that council, Athanasius succeeded his mentor as archbishop of Alexandria.

In addition to the conflict with the Arians, he struggled against the Emperors Constantine, Constantius II, Julian the Apostate and Valens. He was known as Athanasius Contra Mundum. Nonetheless, within a few years after his death, Gregory of Nazianzus called him the "Pillar of the Church", his writings were well regarded by all following Church fathers in the West and the East, who noted their rich devotion to the Word-become-man, great pastoral concern and profound interest in monasticism. Athanasius is counted as one of the four great Eastern Doctors of the Church in the Catholic Church. In the Eastern Orthodox Church, he is labeled as the "Father of Orthodoxy". Athanasius is the first person to identify the same 27 books of the New Testament that are in use today, he is venerated as a Christian saint, whose feast day is 2 May in Western Christianity, 15 May in the Coptic Orthodox Church, 18 January in the other Eastern Orthodox Churches. He is venerated by the Oriental and Eastern Orthodox Churches, the Catholic Church, the Lutheran churches, the Anglican Communion.

The Council of Nicaea, "passed twenty disciplinary canons for the better government of the Church. By one, C. 6, of these the Bishops of Rome and Antioch, were declared to possess jurisdiction over the Churches in their respective provinces". Hence, the Alexandrian Bishop was declared with the authority of Patriarch. Athanasius was born to a Christian family in the city of Alexandria or the nearby Nile Delta town of Damanhur sometime between the years 293 and 298; the earlier date is sometimes assigned due to the maturity revealed in his two earliest treatises Contra Gentes and De Incarnatione, which were admittedly written about the year 318 before Arianism had begun to make itself felt, as those writings do not show an awareness of Arianism. However Cornelius Clifford places his birth no earlier than 296 and no than 298, based on the fact that Athanasius indicates no first hand recollection of the Maximian persecution of 303, which he suggests Athanasius would have remembered if he had been ten years old at the time.

Secondly, the Festal Epistles state that the Arians had accused Athanasius, among other charges, of not having yet attained the canonical age and thus could not have been properly ordained as Patriarch of Alexandria in 328. The accusation must have seemed plausible; the Orthodox Church places his year of birth around 297. His parents were wealthy enough to afford giving him a fine secular education, he was clearly not a member of the Egyptian aristocracy. Some Western scholars consider his command of Greek, in which he wrote most of his surviving works, evidence that he may have been a Greek born in Alexandria. Historical evidence, indicates that he was fluent in Coptic as well given the regions of Egypt where he preached; some surviving copies of his writings are in fact in Coptic, though scholars differ as to whether he himself wrote them in Coptic or whether these were translations of writings in Greek. Rufinus relates a story that as Bishop Alexander stood by a window, he watched boys playing on the seashore below, imitating the ritual of Christian baptism.

He discovered that one of the boys had acted as bishop. After questioning Athanasius, Bishop Alexander informed him that the baptisms were genuine, as both the form and matter of the sacrament had been performed through the recitation of the correct words and the administration of water, that he must not continue to do this as those baptized had not been properly catechized, he invited his playfellows to prepare for clerical careers. Alexandria was the most important trade center in the whole empire during Athanasius's boyhood. Intellectually and politically—it epitomized the ethnically diverse Graeco-Roman world more than Rome or Constantinople, Antioch or Marseilles, its famous catechetical school, while sacrificing none of its famous passion for orthodoxy since the days of Pantaenus, Clement of Alexandria, Origen of Alexandria and Theognostus, had begun to take on an secular character in the comprehensiveness of its interests, had counted influential pagans among its serious auditors. Peter of Alexandria, the 17th archbishop of Alexandria, was martyred in 311 in the closing days of the persecution, ma

El Vendrell

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World University Baseball Championship

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