St. Athanasius, also known as Athanasius the Great and Athanasius the Confessor, was a bishop and doctor of the church. He is called the "Father of Orthodoxy," the "Pillar of the Church" and "Champion of Christ's Divinity." He is the patron of Theologians and faithful Orthodox and Roman Catholic Christians and his feast day is on May 2. He was born in either 296 or 298, to a Christian household in Egypt. He studied the Hebrew Scriptures and several old Christian texts from a young age. As he grew up, Athanasius befriended many monks and hermits of the desert, including St. Antony. He later wrote the biography of St. Antony. Bishop Alexander of Alexandra was a great influence on young Athanasius and he even grew up to be Alexander’s secretary. As Alexander’s secretary, Athanasius had the chance to witness many of the great debates of the early church. Athanasius preceded Alexander as his successor in the year 328 after Alexander’s death. He was wrongfully charged of treason against the emperor because of a dispute that aged back to Alexander’s days. After receiving multiple false accusations, Emperor Constantine was pressured to command Athanasius to the Council of Tyre. But this council was under the influences of his opponents and he was placed under exile. Upon his return after 2 and a half years, Athanasius finds that the empire has been divided into three parts. Once again his enemies came after him and got him exiled again. He seemed refuge with some monks in the desert and kept in touch with his faithful followers through letter. Each time he returned, his opponents found some way to get him exiled again. Eventually after many years Emperor Valens restored Athansius as bishop permanently. Over the course of his life, Athanasius was banished five times and spent 17 years of his life in exile for the defense of the doctrine of Christ's divinity. Despite all these years of trouble, the last few years of his life was quite peaceful. He died peacefully on May 2, 373 in Alexandria. He is celebrated to this day as the great Defender of Faith and considered the father of the early Orthodox and Roman Catholic Christians.
Father, you raised up Saint Athanasius to be an outstanding defender of the truth of Christ’s divinity. By his teaching and protection may we grow in your knowledge and love. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.