2007 Archive Edition - See the Archive Notice on the Project Homepage for more information.
Athanasius (c 290-373 CE), regarded by many as the most important theologian of the fourth century, began his clerical career in 325 when he was ordained a deacon by Bishop Alexander of Alexandria. During the same year, he accompanied Alexander to the Council of Nicaea as his secretary and deacon. In 328, he was named the successor of Alexander, remaining bishop of Alexandria until his death in 373. However, of his 45 years of reign, Athanasius spent 15 years and 10 months in exile, because of his unpopular Nicene position in the Arian climate of the fourth-century Eastern empire. Most of Athanasius' time in exile was spent with other Egyptian monks or in Rome. While in exile, he wrote several works, many of which stress the significance of the incarnation of God in the person of Jesus Christ and how acts of God are seen through the faith of the Church and in the sacraments. Athanasius is widely regarded as the great defender of the faith of Nicaea against Arianism.
Heather A. Schumann
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