Category Archives: St. Athanasius the Great

Born: 298 in Alexandria, Egypt
Reposed: 2 May 373
Feast Days: 18 January; 2 May

St. Athanasius: It is a fact, brothers and sisters, that the path of the saints in this life is one full of troubles. . . .

Icon of St. Athanasius the Great“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, like the one who said, ‘Woe is me that I have such a long pilgrimage’ (Ps. 120:5, LXX) or they are distressed by their longing for the salvation of others, as Paul wrote to the Corinthians, ‘I am afraid that whey I come to you, God may humble me and cause me to weep and mourn over many who have sinned and not repented of impurity, fornication and licentiousness which they have practiced.'”

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St. Athanasius: And once more, if the devil, the enemy of our race, having fallen from heaven, wanders about . . .

Icon of St. Athanasius the GreatAnd once more, if the devil, the enemy of our race, having fallen from heaven, wanders about our lower atmosphere, and there bearing rule over his fellow-spirits, as his peers in disobedience, not only works illusions by their means in them that are deceived, but tries to hinder them that are going up (and about this the Apostle says: According to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that now works in the sons of disobedience); while the Lord came to cast down the devil, and clear the air and prepare the way for us up into heaven, as said the Apostle: Through the veil, that is to say, His flesh [Heb. 10:20]— and this must needs be by death— well, by what other kind of death could this have come to pass, than by one which took place in the air, I mean the cross? For only he that is perfected on the cross dies in the air. Whence it was quite fitting that the Lord suffered this death. For thus being lifted up He cleared the air of the malignity both of the devil and of demons of all kinds, as He says: I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven; and made a new opening of the way up into heaven as He says once more: Lift up your gates, O you princes, and be lifted up, you everlasting doors.

– St. Athanasius, On the Incarnation, Chap. 25

St. Athanasius: Of Antony’s vision concerning the forgiveness of his sins

Icon of St. Anthony the Great . . .For once, when about to eat, having risen up to pray about the ninth hour, he perceived that he was caught up in the spirit, and, wonderful to tell, he stood and saw himself, as it were, from outside himself, and that he was led in the air by certain ones. Next certain bitter and terrible beings stood in the air and wished to hinder him from passing through. But when his conductors opposed them, they demanded whether he was not accountable to them. And when they wished to sum up the account from his birth, Antony’s conductors stopped them, saying, ‘The Lord has wiped out the sins from his birth, but from the time he became a monk, and devoted himself to God, it is permitted you to make a reckoning.’ Then when they accused him and could not convict him, his way was free and unhindered. And immediately he saw himself, as it were, coming and standing by himself, and again he was Antony as before. Then forgetful of eating, he remained the rest of the day and through the whole of the night groaning and praying. For he was astonished when he saw against what mighty opponents our wrestling is, and by what labours we have to pass through the air. And he remembered that this is what the Apostle said, ‘according to the prince of the power of the air [Ephesians 2:2.]‘ For in it the enemy has power to fight and to attempt to hinder those who pass through. Wherefore most earnestly he exhorted, ‘Take up the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day [Ephesians 6:13],’ that the enemy, ‘having no evil thing to say against us, may be ashamed [Titus 2:8].’ And we who have learned this, let us be mindful of the Apostle when he says, ‘whether in the body I know not, or whether out of the body I know not; God knows [2 Corinthians 12:2].’ But Paul was caught up unto the third heaven, and having heard things unspeakable he came down; while Antony saw that he had come to the air, and contended until he was free.

– St. Athanasius, The Life of St. Anthony, Ch 65

St. Athanasius the Great: If a bishop or priest . . . turns his back on the church . . .

Icon of St. Athanasius the Great“As we walk the unerring and life-bringing path, let us pluck out the eye that scandalizes us-not the physical eye, but the noetic one. For example, if a bishop or presbyter-who are the eyes of the Church-conduct themselves in an evil manner and scandalize the people, they must be plucked out. For it is more profitable to gather without them in a house of prayer, than to be cast together with them into the gehenna of fire together with Annas and Caiaphas.”

– St. Athanasius the Great, PG 26:1257c

St. Athanasius: . . . To fast is to banquet with angels.

Icon of St. Athanasius the Great“Devils take great delight in fullness, and drunkenness and bodily comfort. Fasting possesses great power and it works glorious things. To fast is to banquet with angels.”

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St. Athanasius: The Lord did not come to make a display. He came to heal . . .

“The LorIcon of St. Athanasius the Greatd did not come to make a display. He came to heal and to teach suffering men. For one who wanted to make a display the thing would have been just to appear and dazzle the beholders. But for Him Who came to heal and to teach the way was not merely to dwell here, but to put Himself at the disposal of those who needed Him, and to be manifested according as they could bear it, not vitiating the value of the Divine appearing by exceeding their capacity to receive it.”

– St. Athanasius the Great, On the Incarnation