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Athanasius - A Pillar Of The Church

Today (May 2nd) is the Feast Day of Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria (373).  



Athanasius attended the Council of Nicaea in 325.  There he fought against Arianism and worked to promote the acceptance of the divinity of Jesus. He formulated the doctrine of homoousios ("of one Being with the Father"), saying that Christ is the same substance as the Father.  On Trinity Sunday, the first Sunday after Pentecost, Grace Episcopal Church uses The Athanasian Creed in our worship (it can be found in the Historical Documents of the Church appendix of The Book of Common Prayer [BCP 864-865]).  This year, Trinity Sunday falls on June 3, 2007.  For all who would like to refresh their hearts, minds and souls, as well as their lips of it, here is The Creed of Saint Athanasius:

Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the Catholic Faith.
Which Faith except every one do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly. 
And the Catholic Faith is this: That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity, neither confounding the Persons nor dividing the Substance. 
For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Ghost. 
But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is all one, the Glory equal, the Majesty co-eternal. 
Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Ghost. 
The Father uncreate, the Son uncreate, and the Holy Ghost uncreate. 
The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the Holy Ghost incomprehensible. 
The Father eternal, the Son eternal, and the Holy Ghost eternal. 
And yet they are not three eternals, but one eternal. 
As also there are not three incomprehensibles, not three uncreated, but one uncreated, and one incomprehensible. 
So likewise the Father is Almighty, the Son Almighty, and the Holy Ghost Almighty. 
And yet they are not three Almighties, but one Almighty. 
So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God. 
And yet they are not three Gods, but one God. 
So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son Lord, and the Holy Ghost Lord. 
And yet they are not three Lords, but one Lord. 
For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity to acknowledge every Person by himself to be God and Lord, 
So are we forbidden by the Catholic Religion to say; There are three Gods, or three Lords. 
The Father is made of none, neither created nor begotten. 
The Son is of the Father alone, not made, nor created, but begotten. 
The Holy Ghost is of the Father, and of the Son, neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding. 
So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Ghost, not three Holy Ghosts. 
And in this Trinity none is afore, or after other; none is greater, or less than another; 
But the whole three Persons are co-eternal together and co-equal. 
So that in all things, as is aforesaid, the Unity in Trinity and the Trinity in Unity is to be worshipped. 
He therefore that will be saved must thus think of the Trinity. 
Furthermore, it is necessary to everlasting salvation that he also believe rightly the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ. 
For the right Faith is, that we believe and confess, that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and Man; 
God, of the Substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds; and Man, of the Substance of his mother, born in the world; 
Perfect God and Perfect Man, of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting; 
Equal to the Father, as touching His Godhead; and inferior to the Father, as touching his Manhood. 
Who,although He be God and Man, yet He is not two, but one Christ; 
One, not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh, but by taking of the Manhood into God; 
One altogether; not by confusion of Substance, but by unity of Person. 
For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one man, so God and Man is one Christ; 
Who suffered for our salvation, descended into hell, rose again the third day from the dead. 
He ascended into heaven, he sitteth on the right hand of the Father, God Almighty, from whence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. 
At whose coming all men shall rise again with their bodies and shall give 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. 
This is the Catholic Faith, which except a man believe faithfully, he cannot be saved.


Courtesy of Lesser Feasts and Fasts 1994, I found this excerpt from Athanasius' treatise, On the Incarnation of the Word of God:

"The Savior of us all, the Word of God, in his great love took to himself a body and moved as Man among men, meeting their senses, so to speak, half way.  He became himself an object for the senses, so that those who were seeking God in sensible things might apprehend the Father through the works which he, the Word of God, did in the body.  Human and human-minded as men were, therefore, to whichever side they looked in the sensible world,  they found themselves taught the truth."