Also called "the Great", St. Athanasius was born in Alexandria. As a youth he met St. Anthony, and was to write his biography. He was the secretary of bishop Alexander at the council of Nicaea in 325. Three years later he became the bishop of Alexandria.
The emperor Constantine had him exiled to Trier, after false accusations at the Synod of Tyre by the Arians, who were his opponents. After Constantine had died, St. Athanasius returned to office, but was again exiled after the Synod of Antioch in 339.
The saint fled to the Pope Julian in Rome until emperor Constantius let him return in 345. Ten years later the Synod of Milan banished him again, and he fled to the monks in the desert of Egypt.
Emperor Julian called him back seven years later but the pagans chased him away.
Under emperor Valens he was banished again, only to be recalled to office, where he died.
St. Athanasius was a Doctor of the church, and is pictured as a bishop with a split beard.
Orthodox nameday: 18/1
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