Topics: Orthodox Church, Alexandria, Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria Pages: 5 (2081 words) Published: December 3, 2012
Athanasius, “Father of Orthodoxy”, viewed as one of the Great Doctors of the Church in the Roman Catholic and the Eastern Orthodox Church. Athanasius venerated as a great saint within the Western Christianity, Coptic Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Oriental and Eastern Orthodox churches, the Lutherans, and the Anglican Communion. His theology was instrumental in establishing the meaning of salvation, the Trinity and the Godhead within the Christian Faith. Athanasius grew up in a wealthy family who could afford to keep him instructed with as esteemed secular education. He often quoted Plato and used definitions from Aristotle, as well. His knowledge of different philosophical schools and their theories led him to understand and quote from Homer and Neo-Platonism. He also knew Greek and admits of not knowing the Hebrew language. From memory, he knew the Old Testament passages through the Septuagint Greek translation. The Alexandrian School well known for instructing their students to memorize the scriptures and become fluent in Greek. Therefore, could justify why he was able to develop a well-rounded and disciplined theology from the Alexandrians, mainly Clement and Origen. He also received instruction from St. Alexander of Alexandria, Bishop of Alexandria, who was an Origenist himself. Athanasius’s parents died and left him in charge of raising his sister. He sold most of his inheritance and left his sister in the care of the nuns. Athanasius intensely committed to the Christian faith from an early age. He engaged in debates against members of the church, most notably Arius and his followers. He did not compromise his position; therefore, exiled not once but five times from Alexandria by four different Roman Emperors. His theology was one where the Son begotten from the Father. The Son born unto the Father, therefore, establishing the Godhead of the divine. His theology established the doctrine approved at the Nicaea Council. His theology shifted from that of former Alexandrians, Clement and Origen. Athanasius thrived in the age of controversy and became an archrival to his adversaries, especially Arians and his followers, found within the Church of Alexandria. I found myself intrigued by the story, how the Bishop of Alexander and Athanasius met. As the Bishop waited on the arrival of his guests, he strolled to a window and noticed some young boys along the seashore. It appeared the boys were participating in a ritual of baptism. Upon further investigation and questioning the boys, he found Athanasius baptizing the boys. The Bishop knew Athanasius had been given the Clergical gift. He took him and his friends under his leadership and continued schooling them in the ways of the Church. This could be a reason why Athanasius received formal training from the Alexandrian School. Athanasius well educated, versed in grammar, rhetoric and proved himself of his wisdom for his episcopate. When he was a deacon, he met the solitaries of Egypt and grew fond of Anthony the Great. The Bishop invites him to be his commensal and secretary. He spent the first years of his patriarchate visiting his churches within his district. His district located in Egypt and Libya. He was able to establish relations with the hermits and monks of the desert. He became preoccupied with the disputes found within the church, specifically with the theology of the Arians. The Arian theology consisted of the Son co-existed with the Father; therefore, he was also divine the same way as the Father. The Son seen as exemplary of all creatures and shared neither the eternity nor the divinity with the Father. The main difference between the two views, was the son “born” or “created” and being “begotten”. Arian viewed them the same while the followers of Alexander; especially Athanasius saw them differently. The Nicene Fathers felt if they were to follow the Arians view the unity of the Godhead would be destroyed, and the Son would be unequal to the Father. Athanasius...
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