297-373. Athenasius was the bishop of Alexandria and the champion of orthodoxy at the Nicene Council. Tradition has it that the Patriarch Alexander noticed Athenasius playing at baptism at the seashore as a young boy. Upon questioning, the Bishop was satisfied that the baptisms were valid and undertook to have these boys trained for the priesthood. Passed his youth in the desert under the spiritual guidance of St. Anthony, whose biography he wrote. Athenasius was ordained deacon in 319 by the Bishop of Alexandria.

Athenasius was the rival of Arius at the Nicene Council in 325. He asserts that the Members of the Trinity are three at yet at the same time one. Father, Son and Holy Ghost are co-equals in eternity, neither one preceded the other; One God, Christ sharing in the being of God. St. Athenasius summed up the purpose of the incarnation by saying "God became man that we might be made God." The council voted by a large majority against Arius and for Athenasius but did not put an end to Arianism. From 325 to 381, thirteen church councils debated the rejected doctrine. The heresy continued to spread through missionary Ulfilas (311-383) to the barbarian Goths on the outskirts of the Roman empire. As Athanasius himself was to say, "the world is overrun with Arianism."

After the council (328) Alexander died and Athenasius succeeded him as Bishop, although not yet thirty. After becoming Bishop he became the great leader of the orthodox cause, the most formidable adversary of the enemies of the Nicaen decision. Athenasius suffered exile 5 times but held to his conviction that communion was not given to any heretic who did not hold the divinity of Christ. In 337 Constantine died, and his empire was divided by his three sons, Constantine II, Constantius and Constans. Athenasius was to come to Alexandria in triumph but Eusebius had won over Emperor Constantius and he was deposed.

Athansian Creed

1. Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the catholic faith;
2. Which faith except every one do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly.
3. And the catholic faith is this: That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity;
4. Neither confounding the persons nor dividing the substance.
5. For there is one person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Spirit.
6. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit is all one, the glory equal, the majesty coeternal.
7. Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Spirit.
8. The Father uncreate, the Son uncreate, and the Holy Spirit uncreate.
9. The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the Holy Spirit incomprehensible.
10. The Father eternal, the Son eternal, and the Holy Spirit eternal.
11. And yet they are not three eternals but one eternal.
12. As also there are not three untreated nor three incomprehensible, but one untreated and one incomprehensible.
13. So likewise the Father is almighty, the Son almighty, and the Holy Spirit almighty.
14. And yet they are not three almighties, but one almighty.
15. So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God;
16. And yet they are not three Gods, but one God.
17. So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son Lord, and the Holy Spirit Lord;
18. And yet they are not three Lords but one Lord.
19. For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity to acknowledge every Person by himself to be God and Lord;
20. So are we forbidden by the catholic religion to say; There are three Gods or three Lords.
21. The Father is made of none, neither created nor begotten.
22. The Son is of the Father alone; not made nor created, but begotten.
23. The Holy Spirit is of the Father and of the Son; neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding.
24. So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Spirit, not three Holy Spirits.
25. And in this Trinity none is afore or after another; none is greater or less than another.
26. But the whole three persons are coeternal, and coequal.
27. So that in all things, as aforesaid, the Unity in Trinity and the Trinity in Unity is to be worshipped. 28. He therefore that will be saved must thus think of the Trinity.
29. Furthermore it is necessary to everlasting salvation that he also believe rightly the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ.
30. For the right faith is that we believe and confess that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and man.
31. God of the substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds; and man of substance of His mother, born in the world.
32. Perfect God and perfect man, of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting.
33. Equal to the Father as touching His Godhead, and inferior to the Father as touching His manhood.
34. Who, although He is God and man, yet He is not two, but one Christ.
35. One, not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh, but by taking of that manhood into God.
36. One altogether, not by confusion of substance, but by unity of person.
37. For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one man, so God and man is one Christ;
38. Who suffered for our salvation, descended into hell, rose again the third day from the dead;
39. He ascended into heaven, He sits on the right hand of the Father, God, Almighty;
40. From thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
41. At whose coming all men shall rise again with their bodies;
42. and shall give account of their own works.
43. And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting and they that have done evil into everlasting fire.
44. This is the catholic faith, which except a man believe faithfully he cannot be saved.

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