Saint Athanasius, aka Athanasius of Alexandria, St. Athanasius the Great, St. Athanasius I of Alexandria, St. Athanasius the Confessor, St. Athanasius the Apostolic

Saint Athanasius, aka Athanasius of Alexandria, St. Athanasius the Great, St. Athanasius I of Alexandria, St. Athanasius the Confessor, St. Athanasius the Apostolic
c. 296
373

Father of Greek Orthodoxy, Bishop of Alexandria, leading role against the Arians in the First Council of Nicea

Author Quotes

The Father is made of none, neither created, nor begotten.

The floor of hell is paved with the skulls of bishops.

The presence and love of the Word had called them into being; inevitably, therefore when they lost the knowledge of God, they lost existence with it; for it is God alone Who exists, evil is non-being, the negation and antithesis of good.

The presence of the Word with them shielded them even from natural corruption,

The Savior is working mightily among men, every day He is invisibly persuading numbers of people all over the world, both within and beyond the Greek-speaking world, to accept His faith and be obedient to His teaching. Can anyone, in face of this, still doubt that He has risen and lives, or rather that He is Himself the Life? Does a dead man prick the consciences of men, so that they throw all the traditions of their fathers to the winds and bow down before the teaching of Christ?

These are fountains of salvation that they who thirst may be satisfied with the living words they contain. In these alone is proclaimed the doctrine of godliness. Let no man add to these, neither let him take out from these.

Thus united to them in the fellowship of life, he will both understand the things revealed to them by God and, thenceforth escaping the peril that threatens sinners in the judgment, will receive that which is laid up for the saints in the kingdom of heaven.

Thus, the more violently they try to occupy the places of worship, they more they separate themselves from the Church. They claim that they represent the Church; but in reality, they are the ones who are expelling themselves from it and going astray.

Who suffered for our salvation, descended into hell, rose again the third day from the dead. He ascended into heaven; He sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from whence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. At whose coming all men shall rise again with their bodies, and shall give an account of their own works. And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting; and they that have done evil, into everlasting fire.

Who that sees things of opposite nature combined, and in concordant harmony, as for example fire mingled with cold, and dry with wet, and that not in mutual conflict, but making up a single body, as it were homogeneous, can resist the inference that there is One external to these things that has united them? One external to these things has enlightened them? Who that sees winter giving place to spring and spring to summer and that these things contrary by nature, yet all make up a balanced result beneficial to mankind, - can fail to perceive that there is One higher than they, Who balances and guides them all, even if he see Him not.

Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary, that he hold the Catholic Faith. Which faith, except everyone do keep entire and inviolate, without doubt he will perish everlastingly.

You are the ones who are happy; you who remain within the Church by your Faith, who hold firmly to the foundations of the Faith which has come down to you from Apostolic Tradition. And if an execrable jealousy has tried to shake it on a number of occasions, it has not succeeded. They are the ones who have broken away from it in the present crisis.

You find depicted in it all the movements of your soul, all its changes, its ups and downs, its failures and recoveries. Moreover, whatever your particular need or trouble, from this same book you can select a form of words to fit it, so that you do not merely hear and then pass on, but learn the way to remedy your ill.

Human and human-minded as men were, therefore, to whichever side they looked in the sensible world, they found themselves taught the truth. Were they awe-stricken by creation? They beheld it confessing Christ as Lord. Did their minds tend to regard men as gods? The uniqueness of the Savior's works marked Him, alone of men, as Son of God. Were they drawn to evil spirits? They saw them driven out by the Lord, and learned that the Word of God alone was God and that the evil spirits were not gods at all. Were they inclined to hero-worship and the cult of the dead? Then the fact that the Savior had risen from the dead showed them how false these other deities were, and that the Word of the Father is the one true Lord, the Lord even of death. For this reason was He both born and manifested as Man, for this He died and rose, in order that, eclipsing by His works all other human deeds, He might recall man from all the paths of error to know the Father. As He says Himself, "I came to seek and to save that which was lost."

In ancient times before the divine sojourn of the Savior took place, even to the saints death was terrible; all wept for the dead as though they perished. But now that the Savior has raised his body, death is no longer terrible; for all who believe in Christ trample on it as it were nothing and choose rather to die than deny their faith in Christ. And that devil that once maliciously exulted in death, now that its pains were loosed, remained the only one truly dead.

Invisible in Himself, He is known from the works of creation; so also, when His Godhead is veiled in human nature, His bodily acts still declare Him to be not man only, but the Power and Word of God.

It is a fact, brothers and sisters, that the path of the saints in this life is one full of troubles. They either endure the pain of longing for that which is to come.

It is a good rule, after reading a new book, never to allow yourself another new one till you have read an old one in between. If that is too much for you, you should at least read one old one to every three new ones.

Moreover, one may see the fitting rationale of what happened in this: If he had spoken and undone the curse, merely in accordance with his capacity to do so, the power of he who thus issued the command would have been displayed but humanity would nevertheless have remained as Adam was before the transgression, receiving grace externally and not having it mingled with the body. For such was Adam when he was placed in paradise. In fact, perhaps humanity would have become worse because it had by now learned to transgress. So, this being the situation with humanity, if it were again deceived by the serpent, there would be again a need for God to command and undo the curse. The need would then become limitless, and humanity would remain none the less in slavery and liability to sin. Forever sinning, it would be forever in need of pardon and it would never be free. Being, on its own, mere flesh, it would be forever defeated by the law through the weakness of the flesh.

One cannot possibly understand the teaching of the saints unless one has a pure mind and is trying to imitate their life.

Repentance recall men from what is according to their nature; all that it does is to make them cease from sinning. Had it been a case of a trespass only, and not of a subsequent corruption, repentance would have been well enough; but when once transgression had begun men came under the power of the corruption proper to their nature and were bereft of the grace which belonged to them as creatures in the Image of God.

Similarly, anyone who wishes to understand the mind of the sacred writers must first cleanse his own life, and approach the saints by copying their deeds.

The corruption which has occurred was not outside the body, but attached to it, and it was necessary that instead of corruption, life should cleave to it, so that as death had come to be in the body, so too life might come to be in it. If, then, death had been outside the body, life would also have had to be outside it. But if death was interwoven with the body, and dominated it as if united to is, it was necessary for life to be interwoven with the body, so that the body putting on life should cast off corruption. Otherwise, if the Word had been outside the body, and not in it, death would have been conquered by him most naturally, since death has no power against life, but nonetheless the attached corruption would have remained in the body. For this reason, the Savior rightly put on a body, in order that the body, being interwoven with life, might no longer remain as mortal in death, but, as having put on immortality, henceforth it might, when arising, remain immortal. For, once it had put on corruption, it would not have risen unless it had put on life. And, moreover, death does not appear by itself, but in the body; therefore he put on the body, that finding death in the body he might efface it. For how at all would the Lord have been shown to be Life, if not by giving life to the mortal? And just as straw is naturally destroyed by fire, if anyone keeps the fire away from the straw, the straw does not burn, but remains fully straw, straw fearful of the threat of fire, for fire naturally consume it. But if someone covers the straw with much asbestos, which is said to be fireproof, the straw no longer fears the fire, having security from the covering of asbestos. In the same way one may talk about the body and about death. If death were kept away from it by a command only, it would still be mortal and corruptible, according to the principal of bodies. But that this should not be, it put on the incorporeal Word of God, and thus no longer fears death or corruption, having life as a garment and corruption being destroyed in it.

Both from the confession of the evil spirits and from the daily witness of His works, it is manifest, then, and let none presume to doubt it, that the Savior has raised His own body, and that He is very Son of God, having His being from God as from a Father, Whose Word and Wisdom and Whose Power He is. He it is Who in these latter days assumed a body for the salvation of us all, and taught the world concerning the Father. He it is Who has destroyed death and freely graced us all with incorruption through the promise of the resurrection, having raised His own body as its first-fruits, and displayed it by the sign of the cross as the monument to His victory over death and its corruption.

Chastity, thou precious pearl, found by few, even hated by some, and sought only by those who are worthy of thee! Thou art the joy of the prophets, the ornament of the apostles, the life of the angels, the crown of the saints.

Author Picture
First Name
Saint Athanasius, aka Athanasius of Alexandria, St. Athanasius the Great, St. Athanasius I of Alexandria, St. Athanasius the Confessor, St. Athanasius the Apostolic
Birth Date
c. 296
Death Date
373
Bio

Father of Greek Orthodoxy, Bishop of Alexandria, leading role against the Arians in the First Council of Nicea