Posted by: Brian Glass | April 1, 2010

Saint Athanasius of Alexandria

St. Athanasius of Alexandria

St. Athanasius of Alexandria

While choosing my patron saint I spent many hours reading the lives of the saints. Perhaps this is one good reason to choose a patron saint – it encourages you to do a lot of reading about them.

I waffled between two saints – St. Athanasius (born in 298) and St. Brendan the Navigator (born around 484).  St. Brendan was quite possibly the earliest European  to travel to North America. While Brendan was intriguing, I found that I was drawn back to Athanasius.

One of my methods of limiting the choices (there are way too many saints to actually read about them all during Lent) was that I wanted someone who had written at least one book from which I could learn about his life, thought, and practice. I had already read his book On The Incarnation of the Word, so that part was settled. Indeed, it is one of the most clearly written and profound books I have ever read.

As my priest Fr. Joe says, Athanasius saved the church. He held fast when the winds of the world blew against him. He stood Contra-mundum (against the world) in a time of strife. He stood against the teachings of Arius at a time when Arianism might have prevailed. Having come from a background (Adventism) in which one might still find remnants of Arianism, this was also a strong factor in my choice.

They say that you don’t choose your saint, but that your saint chooses you. Perhaps my reading of St. Athanasius’ book before I even knew I would some day seek a saint was more than chance.


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