Home Forums TH 407: St. Athanasius of Alexandria TH 407: Lesson 1 (Sample)

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    • #7826
      Julian Roberts
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      Athanasius was around 19 when he wrote his first treatises. What similarities do you see between him and the apostle John?

    • #12862
      Mariam14
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      St. Athanasius was a devoted student who was thoroughly instructed in the Holy Scriptures and the Church, learning under his Bishop even from a young age as a boy. His Bishop thoroughly instructed him and loved him dearly, as St. John the Theologian was beloved of Christ and one of his closest disciples. St. Athanasius displayed a heart purely devoted to Christ like St. John the Theologian who radiated this par excellence. When St. Athanasius was a young child, he played on the beach with other young children, pretending to preside as a Bishop (which almost stood as a prophecy unto himself that he foretold his Bishopric) and pretended to Baptize them according to the Church service he knew so well. St. John the Theologian was selected by Christ himself to be a chief Apostle, along with his brother James, and they were given the title, “Sons of Thunder”. This title encapsulated their zealous hearts for the Lord. St. Athanasius also displayed similar qualities to St. John the Theologian, in that he also was zealous for the Lord and for God’s truths. Both saints possessed contemplative minds and souls, coupled with zeal. This zeal was displayed in St. Athanasius’ life when he courageously rose up in debate against Arius at the First Ecumenical Council. St. Athanasius was well prepared in his arguments for defense of Christ’s divinity, but this could not successfully stand alone against the heretical evils, a spiritual battle in ultimate terms. St. Athanasius was a Saint, devoted to God in heart, soul, and mind, enlightened by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit strengthened him to defend evil of the Arian heresies in full resoluteness. St. John the Theologian also defended the Church against heresy, and he stood up to persecutors under the Emperor Nero who tried to kill him, as he stood as a Confessor of Christ. St. John’s persecutors were unable to kill him by the power of the Holy Spirit, and so the exiled him to the island of Patmos instead. St. John wrote the prophetical Book of Revelation while in exile. Likewise, St. Athanasius had been exiled five times and a total of twenty years, and he spent these years writing important works in the faith that defended the Church against heresy, spoke to the Heathen, and defended and formed Christological and Trinitarian Doctrine. Both St. John and St. Athanasius were pillars of the Church in their time periods in which they lived, and they both displayed similar qualities in their respective ministries. These qualities included purity of heart, unfailing devotion to God, love of contemplation, zealotry, courage, and tenacity in the face of persecutions, attempted martyrdom in the case of St. John, and exile.

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