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Thursday, May 2, 2013

Saint Athanasius - May 2

Saint Athanasius
Bishop and Doctor of the Church
May 2

Saint Athanasius born in Alexandria around 296, became a deacon in 319. In 325 he was called to the Council of Nicaea where he and his Bishop, Alexander, defended the Divinity of Christ and condemned the heresy of Arianism.

After Alexander’s death, Saint Athanasius became his successor, and continued to lead the conflict against the Arians for the rest of his long episcopate which lasted 45 years, 17 of which he spent in exile.

In 367, Saint Athanasius is possibly the first person to identify in his writing the 39th Festal Letter the same 27 books of the New Testament that are in use today. It wasn't until 382 when Pope Damasus I proclaimed a list of books identical to Saint Athanasius' list, that the New Testament Canon as it is known today began to take form.  Up until that time, there was no set list of books to be read in churches.
And this begs the question, which came first the Church or the Bible?  The answer, the Church, but I will leave that for another blog.
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