Talk:Athanasius of Alexandria

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Front Matter[edit]

I am the author of the front matter in its current format (April 2011). Because my assertion of the date of birth as 298 was disputed by some, I added a subsection in the "Biography" section titled "His Year of Birth" to explain why 298 is the most likely year of birth and why 293 is discounted despite the Coptic Papyri in its support. I you want to discuss further e-mail me [, Essam Tony].


I know, in english the names change but here it's a christian name shouldnt it be as the greek which is the most correct? I mean why u instead of o? why to read and to write it this way and not as the original? thanks

Broken Picture[edit]

At least to me, the picture on this page does not appear. Does someone have the know how to fix this? Thanks Andy 05:19, 20 December 2005 (UTC)

Criticism of Athanasius[edit]

To maintain NPOV, sources should probably be added to counterbalance strong claims currrently being made in the criticisms section. An argument "built up and perpetuated" by violence? If you read On the Incarnation which predates the Arian controversy, it seems to be an argument that could stand on its own merits. I don't know enough to evaluate such claims, so I'll leave them stand, but I'm going to check into it. Evan Donovan 07:05, 3 November 2005 (UTC)

I think you may have misread the sentence:
In Alexandria, he assembled an 'ecclesiastical mafia' that could instigate a riot in the city if needed. It was an arrangement 'built up and perpetuated by violence.'
The arrangement that was built up and perpetuated by violence was his power base in the city. However, to be clear I am claiming that he used violence and force to stamp out Arianism. Feel free to check to the two scholarly sources I cite. I feel that these additions are an attempt to begin to balance out the rest of the article that makes him out to be a saint. ;-) mennonot 00:11, 4 November 2005
Would you be amenable to noting that the murder charge mentioned "didn't stick" because his supposed victim showed up at the trial? That section seems to contain a lot of innuendo. Also, I was under the impression that at least some of the riots were caused by out of town monks that entered Alexandria, rather than any kind of established organization within the city. Did the sources you mention connect Athanasius with either Just War theory or the Inquisition? Wesley 05:02, 10 January 2006 (UTC)
I'm happy to have any additional facts added if you have sources for them as I'm interested in reading more about this aspect of Athanasius. I don't see the current criticisms as innuendo, because it doesn't infer anything or work obliquely, it directly states that he used violence to try to stamp out those he didn't agree with theologically. Innuendo would be to say, for example, that his opponents "mysteriously disappeared."
The sources I read didn't connect Athanasius with the Just War theory or the inquisition, but they were historical sources, not theological or philosophical ones. I'll be glad to do some more research to place Athanasius into the broader development of the just war theory and other theories and practices of violence if that would be helpful. mennonot 09:59, 10 January 2006 (UTC)
If the sources available don't connect him with the just war theory or inquisition, that bit seems like a bit of original research, so I'll remove it. I'll see whether I can find a source about his supposed murder victim showing up at trial. Wesley 22:07, 19 November 2006 (UTC)
I am pleased with the current approach taken by the Criticism section. It's balanced, and both sides have cites to back them up. I wish I knew more about the argument so I could judge it myself, but unfortunately, all I know is what I learned about Athanasius in college. Evan Donovan 21:44, 19 November 2006 (UTC)
I don't know why we post the criticism section; if O.J. Simpson is innocent then so is Athanasius. Why keep rehashing this? 04:25, 24 April 2007 (UTC)
This keeps being rehashed because unlike our judicial system the study of history allows, and is in fact all about, double jeopardy; redefining and reinterpreting historical sources. If historians did not do this, most of what we now know about world history would be very one sided, racist, and incomplete. There is evidence to suggest Athanasius was not the most honest of characters, there is also evidence that says he was. If you do not agree with the former position please post more information that illustrates the latter; the more information the better. Then we can allow people to read both sides, and come to their own conclusions. I personally believe that Athanasius was not always of pure intentions, and may have committed crimes, but I also believe that the three specific charges against him can not be completely proven (they could still be true though). I believe they are worth mentioning because some people did believe them, and because they are interesting. He certainly misrepresents the Arians, but that, I suppose, is another argument. mattf123 22:22, 24 April 2007 (EST)

Criticism Part II[edit]

Hey Mennonot I was wanting to get the specific pasages from Eusebius biblo] As why is this not same line of reasoning that Timothy Barnes took when he wrote Athanasius and Constantius? LoveMonkey 16:14, 12 July 2006 (UTC)

Nag Hammadi texts[edit]

I think the reference to the Nag Hammadi texts is incorrect and should be changed.

If you study the history of the Christian canon, it is clear that by the 4th century the only books still in dispute were "minor" books such as 2 and 3 John, Revelation, Esther, the books now in the Catholic OT, etc. There was no dispute about which Gospels were canonical, and this had been undisputed since at least the mid-2nd century.

In the wake of Irenaeus's Adversus haeresis, (ca 185): at the beginning of the 3rd century would be more accurate...

There is absolutely no evidence that any religious groups in the 3rd and 4th century used a collection of holy books which included parts of the NT and also Gnostic texts. Whoever used the Nag Hammadi texts as scripture were not part of the catholic Christian church, and therefore any letter by a bishop of that Church would have had no bearing on them.

Quite mainstream communities were reading in churches the Shepherd of Hermas, the Diatesseron, Didache the Apocalypse of Peter in the 3rd and 4th century...

Exactly my point. Athanasius' decree was sent out to his followers, who were "mainstream" Christians. It is conceivable that as a result of his decree, they discarded copies of Shepherd, Didache, etc. None of these books were found at Nag Hammadi. Therefore whoever hid the Nag Hammadi cache was not a mainstream Christian group and did not recognize the authority of Athanasius. Lawrence King 05:39, 9 May 2005 (UTC)

Athanasius' list ruled out orthodox non-canonical books such as the Shepherd of Hermas, 1 Clement, the Didache, and the OT books which Protestants call "Apocrypha". None of these were included in the Nag Hammadi cache.

Therefore Athanasius' canon had no bearing on the Nag Hammadi history. Lawrence King 00:31, 2 May 2005 (UTC)

Quite to the contrary, these were the very books that were hidden away. Wetman 04:33, 9 May 2005 (UTC)

Not true. None of these books (Shepherd, Didache, Esther, Judith) were found at Nag Hammadi. Here is the complete list of Nag Hammadi texts. Lawrence King 05:39, 9 May 2005 (UTC)

I'm doing research on Athanasius for a church history project at the moment, and I'd agree it does seem a little strange. In fact the remnant of the XXXIX festal letter written by Athanasius in 367 (available on makes no mention of 'rendering up' any books. Athanasius writes that some books are frauds; others are useful to read but not among those books he considers "fountains of salvation, that they who thirst may be satisfied with the living words they contain. In these alone is proclaimed the doctrine of godliness." I can't find any reliable website or material that does say he demanded that his province hand over their books.

Okay, I am removing the sentence.

Your edit changing it to NPOV rendered the text as follows:

In a portion of the letter lost from historical records (only a fragment of the letter remains), it is theorized he required the monasteries of Egypt to render up all books in their libraries that were not on his approved list.

This was definitely NPOV, but it illustrated that this theory has no actual evidence in its favor.

Athanasius' His letter (available at the link you gave above, and also at -- search for "XXXIX") says nothing about burning or destroying books. Could there have been a lost portion that said this? I don't see how. Consider: His list excluded the books sometimes called apocrypha or deuterocanonicals, and it also excluded Esther. It is absolutely certain that Egyptian Christians continued to use the book of Esther as well as the deuterocanonicals after Athanasius. Therefore no such decree was made. Lawrence King 09:35, 6 May 2005 (UTC)

Lest the casual reader of Wikipedia be led astray by this confident chat, the external link mentioned— —is the website that offers the Catholic Encyclopedia and expurgated patristic writings: its main page is The site includes excerpts from the letters that do not include the parts calling upon Christians to "cleanse the Church from every defilement" and to reject the apocryphal books "filled with myths, empty and polluted." --Wetman 04:33, 9 May 2005 (UTC)

First of all, these quotes are probably fictional. There are many copies of the Church Fathers' writings on the web. But a Google search for the quote you cited turns up only one entry: a paper refuting Elaine Pagels' claim that this quote comes from Athanasius.

William Jurgens' Faith of the Early Fathers vol. 1 pp. 341-2 has a long excerpt from the letter. In the letter, Athanasius refers to the following extra books by name: "the Wisdom of Solomon, and the Wisdom of Sirach [Ecclesiasticus], and Esther, and Judith, and Tobias [Tobit], and the Teaching attributed to the Apostles [Didache], and the Shepherd." Athanasius writes that these books are not included in the canon, "but are recommended for reading". Hardly a demand that they be burnt!

He then writes, "No mention whatever need be made of the Apocrypha, which are the inventions of heretics." Here he almost certainly is referring to works such as those at Nag Hammadi. In other words, Athanasius' letter says nothing new about these books -- like all catholic churchmen in the 3rd and 4th century, he rejects them. This rejection can be found in many other church fathers. Hence the burden of proof lies with anyone who claims the Nag Hammadi books were hidden in response to Athanasius' letter. The much simpler hypothesis is that they were hidden in response to Emperor Theodosius' making catholic Christianity the Roman state religion, which happened 24 years after this letter. Lawrence King 05:40, 9 May 2005 (UTC)

A stupid question, I know, but...[edit]

I know this is going to come across as a stupid question, but... the article says that Athanasius (would Athanasios be the Greek spelling?) is venerated in the Roman Catholic Church and is celebrated by the Protestant movements. What I would like to know though, is should he be seen as part of the Byzantine tradition and if not, why not? ThePeg 17:54, 29 November 2006 (UTC)

He is venerated in the Eastern Orthodox Church as St. Athanasius the Great. His Feast days are Jan. 18 and May 2. MishaPan 09:42, 24 February 2007 (UTC)

It is an anachronism to say he was a Patriarch.[edit]

I think that he was an Archbishop, but I am not sure. Definitely not a Patriarch though. 23:32, 12 December 2006 (UTC)

The Patriarchates (at least the first four, including Alexandria) were established at the First Ecumenical Council at Nicea in 325, so Athanasius would be the first Archbishop of Alexandria to use the title of Patriarch. I'm not sure when the Archbishops of Alexandria began to be called Popes, but I suspect it was even earlier than 325. Anybody have any information about this? MishaPan 09:42, 24 February 2007 (UTC)

The Patriarch[edit]

Saint Athanasius was not the patrarch of Alexandra, that was possibly Saint Luke or Saint Mark or a Saint Peter? During those days of persecution great carefulness was needed. Saint Athanasius had to flee the city many times and was expelled as many.

Often the preceding Archbishop was referred to as patriarch.

The Patriarch was simply the first bishop or founder, not a distinct title other than what was given by others. However, in the list of Doctors of the Church, you will find him, Saint Athanasius, mentioned as Patriarch. However, he mentioned his predecessor as Patriarch.

But, however, to ask who was the Patriarch of Alexandra, you would be referring to the founder, rather than Saint Athanasius, but if you mean the one who made the history books and is The Doctor, then it would be Saint Athanasius. But then, too, so is Saint Cyril of Alexandra, listed as Patriarch.

In those days it was a very dangerous occupation. Most bishops at Nicea either lost an arm, a leg, an eye, etc., because they were identified and caught as the bishop. If you were caught actually practicising your faith in Jesus you would have been executed. Hilaire Belloc, student of this history said: " If I were caught in this period and accused as a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict me? ".

When the Patriarch, the predecessor to Saint Athanasius, was dying, he called from his death-bed: "Athanasius, Athanasius." Athanasius had fled. The Patriarch said: "you think you can escape, but it shall not be so." Athanasius was elected Bishop by the other Bishops in his succession.

MacOfJesus (talk) 19:06, 20 June 2009 (UTC)

In the site: "Harrowing of Hell", in wikipedia, a famous painting: "Christ leads the patriarchs from hell".

MacOfJesus (talk) 10:03, 15 June 2009 (UTC)

Constantinian Shift?[edit]

Near the end, the article says "He played a clear role in making the Constantinian shift a part of the theology of the church." This should really be removed, because it is not NPOV. The theory of the "Constantinian Shift" (as is evident from the article linked to) reflects the view of a particular sectarian stance, and is not neutral. MishaPan 09:42, 24 February 2007 (UTC)

Three oe Four Discourses Against the Arians?[edit]

In the HISTORY section of this article, it is stated that Athanasius wrote something called "Three Discourses Against the Arians". are you sure that this is not suppose to be "Four Discourses Against the Arians"?

Article seems to contain mostly criticism and very little history[edit]

This article seems quite hostile to the subject. Most of the article deals with criticism and controversy with the exceptions of a boyhood anecdote and a tiny section mentioning merely the titles of a few of his works. In the begining, there needs to be a brief overview of 5 or 6 reasons why he is significant. The opening section tells that he was declared a doctor of the church but you never really find out why and there is almost no discussion of his writings or beliefs. I think it would also be helpful if there was a little bit more about what the arians believed. --Victoria h 00:21, 23 April 2007 (UTC)

I agree wholeheartedly. Much of the content seems to be more a defense of Arianism rather than content directly related to the subject himself. Personally, I would welcome seeing such content, but believe that the page on Arius or Arianism would probably be the more appropriate place for most of it. I will shortly be trying to restructure the article more in keeping with the prevailing norms of biographies, and that will likely alter the content of the page dramatically. John Carter 18:23, 7 August 2007 (UTC)


I note that the existing article has virtually no content regarding the life of the subject. I also note that it contains at least a few statements which strike me as being at least POV, and possibly contradictory to other content. I note for instance that the article as it stands seems to imply that Alexander was the first Patriarch to express opposition to Arius, when in fact I have a source in the Coptic Encyclopedia that Peter of Alexandria, two patriarchs earlier, may have excommunicated Arius for his beliefs. The existing content would seem to indicate that the troubles began with Alexander. It also mentions the large number of bishops who supported Arius, despite the fact that the Nicene Council did in fact, declare him anaethema, indicating even more bishops opposed him. I have started a revision of the article at User:Warlordjohncarter/Sandbox, using only sources which I am sure would qualify as NPOV. My question is should the content of that page be added to the current one, and how if at all should the current content be revised for inclusion, and whether any of it might be removed on the basis of undue weight. I'd be really happy with any responses. John Carter 19:06, 8 August 2007 (UTC)

Eusebius suggests that Arius was involved in the Meletian controversy, but doesn't say much. Eusebius, Philostorgius, and Socrates Scholasticus all begin their accounts of the Arian controversy with the controversy between Alexander and Arius. Jacob Haller 21:08, 8 August 2007 (UTC)
The source used by the Coptic Encyclopedia seems to be primarily the History of the Patriarchs of Alexandria, although I acknowledge that is slightly speculative on my part, not having a copy here. The other comments, regarding Athanasius engaging in "gangster" type activity, also, based on the sources I have found to date, seem to be less than well supported with the othe sources I have found. Those statements, which seem to impugn Athanasius and possibly(?) advocate the position of Arius, are my primary concerns. I will not say that they are completely unbased, but the same source seems to indicate that Arius' side engaged in at least as much activity of that type. John Carter 21:20, 8 August 2007 (UTC)
Well, there were more than two sides, and, in my reading, the "gangsterism" peaked well after Arius died. My best suggestion is to double-check the criticisms section and integrate specific events with the main sections. Jacob Haller 01:29, 9 August 2007 (UTC)
I agree this should focus on Athanasius' bio and not on the Arian controversy. Jacob Haller 01:33, 9 August 2007 (UTC)
I've added the biographical data. One problem with some of the content of the older sections I see is that, at least to me, some of it might fit better into one or more of the other articles about the subject. The content which states that Arius' beliefs were more or less unremarkable in terms of their orthodoxy, for instance. I was wondering if it might be better to remove such content to maybe the Arianism or Arius page, and maybe place a navbos, which would look something like the currently very crude Template:Arianism, on all the relevant articles, so that people would know how to find the related content. John Carter 14:24, 10 August 2007 (UTC)
There is questions by many scholars about whether the Arius referred to during the Melitian Schism is in fact the same Arius, and I believe that either way it's hard to argue that undeniable tension began during Alexander's ascension to the bishopric. I wrote quite a bit of the sections dealing with Athanasius' character and the Arian Controversy, but I can understand the need for some changes in the article. John Carpenter's looks pretty good and even handed, but maybe a section could be added to the bottom that illustrates the arguments and controversy's about his character? I think explaining the arguments surrounding his life is important, because both sides have a completely different take on who he was, what he did, and why he is important. Mattf123 10 August 2:09pm
I expect that the content directly relating to Athanasius will remain, including the apparent controversy over the election, his behavior, etc. Regarding the controversy about Arius' identity, this is the first I've ever heard of that. If you can point out sources regarding such information, let me know. I'll look for such myself as well. I would think that most of that content would probably be better placed in the Arius article, though. And, for what it's worth, I work primarily with articles relating to saints. If you didn't already know this, Arius was listed as a saint by the Roman Catholic Church (under another name) for several hundred years, so I'm fairly sure that I'll be dealing with that article as well. As to whether the controversy began under Athansius, that I think is debatable given the sources which indicate that Arius had possibly (?) been excommunicated, at least censured, by Pope Peter of Alexandria and had in an unpopular move been reinstanted by Pope Achillas. Also, the First Council of Nicaea happened under Athanasius' predecessor, and I can't help but think that a lot of the tension probably arose around that time. Regarding the claims regarding his character (I assume Athanasius's?), those are, I think understandably, judgement calls at this stage, particularly in determining what constitutes Wikipedia:Undue weight in this instance. Questions regarding his activities, however, can and do belong in the article. Regarding the fact that Arius's ideas weren't criticized before he enunciated them, all the sources I've seen agree to that, and I expect to see that included somewhere. The evidence seems to indicate that Arius was espousing what might be called "Antiochean" thinking in Alexandria, and that politics (including Alexandria's losing "second city" status to Constantinople) and other factors might have played some role there. How much of that belongs in this article, and how much in other articles, though, is a question. John Carter 18:33, 10 August 2007 (UTC)
I don't have the sources with me right now, I agree that mention can be made that Arius may have been involved in a controversy earlier on, but my point was that the Arian Controversy really took shape under Alexander. While he may have taken sides during the Melitian Schism that was more of a political than a theological issue, and if Arius was suspected of heresy earlier, those charges were clearly not of much concern to Alexander at first. This is illustrated in the fact that Alexander appointed Arius to preach at the parish of Baucalis. I personally question whether a bishop would appoint someone once suspected of heresy, or at least being on the wrong side of a schism, to preach to the impressionable public, but it shows that Arius was in good standing at the beginning of Alexander's reign, and that tensions between him and Alexander are what caused the Arian Controversy. I really like your ideas on how the article should be structured, and its nice to see someone who agrees that a good portion of Arius's views weren't radical in the context of early Christianity (I believe that this is what you are stating). However, I personally diagree that Arius can be associated with Antiochean thinking, and it appears that many scholars have recently thrown out this idea.
for examples see:
Williams, Rowan. Arius: Heresy and Tradition (London: Darton, Longman and Todd, 1987)30.
Charles Kannengiesser “Athanasius of Alexandria vs. Arius: The Alexandrian Crisis” in The Roots of Egyptian Christianity, ed. Birger A. Pearson and James E. Goehring (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1986), 208.
Williams and Kannengeisser seem to believe that Anotiochean thinkers would have disagreed with Arius on many aspects of his theology. However, they beleive his beliefs were in line with conservative Alexandrian thinkers.
I'll look for those sources. For what it's worth, though, I've seen how it was Pope Achillas of Alexandria who appointed Arius to the post at Baucalis, possibly in some sort of "peacekeeping" move? I'm assuming that's based on the History of the Patriarchs of Alexandria, but the source I used didn't indicate what it's own ultimate source was there, and I can't find a copy of the book itself. John Carter 19:24, 10 August 2007 (UTC)
I've also found one other source with makes it's first mention of Arius regarding Alexander. On this basis, I'm beginning to question where the statements about Peter and Achillas are from. Unfortunately, I have no direct access to the History of the Patriarchs. However, I do know at least one Copt here on wikipedia, and I'm leaving that editor, User:Ghaly, a message asking if s/he can verify one way or another whether that info is included in the History. Also, there does seem to be some question regarding possibly conflicting sources here. On that basis, I'm also contacting one of our most trusted and informed editors on Christianity, User:Pastordavid, for any input he might have on this matter. With any luck, we'll be hearing from them soon. At this point, the main concerns to me seem to be how reliable the sources saying the tensions began before Alexander are and, depending on their reliability, how much weight should be given to the various viewpoints. John Carter 15:56, 11 August 2007 (UTC)

History is one of my greatest interests, and so I have CONCRETE EVIDENCE that Pope St. Peter of Alexandria was the first who encountered and rejected Arius. On the Synaxarium, it says directly:

Also in the days of this Pope (Peter), Arius the heretic appeared and St. Peter advised him several times to turn from his wicked thoughts, but he would not hearken to him. Consequently, he excommunicated him and prevented him from the fellowship of the church.

The Coptic Synaxarium is one of the most accurate recordings of the History of the Coptic Papacy. The first was evidently Pope St. Peter, the Seal of the Martyrs. If anyone speaks against this fact, then that contradicts the Synaxarium.

  • Under the History of the Coptic Patriarchs, by Severus, it says:
So he went to certain priests and deacons and many of the laity, and begged them to visit the prison, that they might throw themselves at the feet of the patriarch, and pray him to set Arius loose from his bonds of excommunication. Now they thought that Arius made this request out of piety, and therefore they consented to his petition. So they entered into the prison, and cast themselves down before Peter, and prayed: Then they made prostrations to him, and besought him to loose Arius from his bonds. But the patriarch cried out with a loud voice : «Do you intercede with me for Arius?» Then he raised his hands and said : «Arius shall be at this time, and in the time to come, excluded from the glory of the Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ».

The Synaxarium date which I mentioned is here, and the other piece is here.

I believe that there is nothing that says that Pope Peter was not the first, and so this proves my point. ~ Troy 20:24, 11 August 2007 (UTC)

OK, so I contacted a few others as well. My profound thanks to Troy for the very quick response above. I do look forward to comments from others about how we should deal with these apparently directly contradictory sources. John Carter 22:05, 11 August 2007 (UTC)

On one of the sources I gave you (The History of the Coptic Patriarchs...), I stopped at the part where Pope Peter said that Arius was forever excommunicated. Papa Peter went on about letting his successors (Achillas & Alexander) know about these dangerous heresies and warned them of heretics. After He finished, it says that Pope Peter's head got cut off — proof of the fact that this happened in the year 311. It also says that in Encyclopedia Americana (Copyright 1997) on pp. 207. It says directly:
Arius was a deacon when he was excommunicated in 311 by Peter, patriarch of Alexandria, for supporting the schismatic views of Meletius of Lycopolis.
Please bear in mind that this same encyclopedia (at that time) still considered the Oriental Orthodox to be monophysites. However, I found it to be more accurate on any Coptic issues before the schism. This is coupled with the indirect reference on the History of the Patriarchs of Alexandria which I have just mentioned. If there are any contradictions, I think we should look at the primary Coptic sources first (like the ones I gave you), since this is about a Coptic Pope. I am, however, looking forward to studying what the other sources say (Ghaly's point shouldn't go unnoticed). When I came about arguments against Pope Dioscorus, I lambasted the whole page with the Oriental Orthodox opinion on St. Dioscorus. When it comes to Saint Athanasius, though, there is no doubt about him when it comes to rejecting the Arian heresy. P.S., don't hesitate to call me if you need sources for these disputes. ~ Troy 01:58, 12 August 2007 (UTC)

The History of the Patriarchs dates to the 10th century. Let's look at the earlier histories. Socrates Scholasticus, Philostorgius (albeit in epitome), and even Theodoret all begin the controversy in the episcopate of Alexander. Sozomen associates Arius with Meletius as has Peter excommunicate the Meletians and excommunicate Arius for criticizing the excommunication, and has Achillas reinstate Arius, and then ordain him presbyter. Eusebius is ambiguous. Jacob Haller 05:40, 12 August 2007 (UTC)

This is true. However, Eusebius of Caesarea can be considered an explicitly biased source, as I have seen that he is said to have attended school with Arius and actively supported him. (I promise to work on the Arius and Peter of Alexandria articles soon, by the way, to source these statements). Also, those other sources may have been only tracing the controversy back to the time when it became an issue for Christianity as a whole, ignoring the somewhat less relevant "local" prehistory. And while I can accept the argument about the comparative lateness of the extant version of the Coptic sources, there's an unresolvable question as to whether they used then-extant sources themselves. I'm not really sure how to deal with issues like this, though. John Carter 14:40, 13 August 2007 (UTC)
Well, I'm not sure how this is relevant to Athanasius, but you could cite Sozomen and Eusebius, as well as the Coptic sources, that Arius had some involvement with the Meletians. If it is important to this article, does it really matter whether the Arius was involved with the Meletians before the Arian controversy, so long as he was during it. The latter claim should be easier to support. Jacob Haller 17:39, 13 August 2007 (UTC)

Pope Athanasius I of Alexandria?[edit]

Surely Athanasius of Alexandria will suffice? InfernoXV 06:22, 30 August 2007 (UTC)

I reiterate - having him at Pope Athanasius I of Alexandria is unnecessary. Nobody's trying to move St Peter to Pope Peter I of Rome, for example. InfernoXV 06:22, 29 October 2007 (UTC)

Sorry, but I disagree. He is still a pope and you can't deny that. Besides, the redirects were already in place. I constantly have to explain why ppl shouldn't keep reverting my edits, so excuse me if I seem rude (I reverted it back). Lastly, almost all (if not all) of the other Popes of Alexandria go by the title "Pope XXX of Alexandria" as per Wikipedia Naming Conventions (with the exception of St. Mark, since being an Evangelist is a greater title than being Pope of Alexandria). ~ Troy 05:07, 1 November 2007 (UTC)
He's far better known in English as Athanasius of Alexandria. Ditto for Cyril of Alexandria. Naming conventions also state that wiki should stick with the most commonly known form of a person's name, no? InfernoXV 05:34, 16 November 2007 (UTC)
I'd add that I have no interest in denying that he was pope of Alexandria, otherwise I'd have attempted to remove the references in the article itself, which I haven't done. Having redirects in place doesn't mean they can't be moved. Simply preferring the article be at the most easily recognisable form of his name 'Athanasius of Alexandria' is not in anyway a denial of his office or disrespect for the Coptic Church and her traditions (I happen to be a student of Coptic myself). -- InfernoXV (talk) 20:04, 16 November 2007 (UTC)
In this case, I agree that the most relevant naming convention is probably the one which states that an article should be named according to the name by which the individual is best known, unless that were to involve some disambiguation. The majority of the editors of wikipedia will know the subject best as either Saint Athanasius of Alexandria or Athanasius of Alexandria. Naming conventions couterindicate using Saint in article names where such is avoidable, so that would leave Athanasius of Alexandria as the name by which the subject is best known. I acknowledge that redirects exist for all these names, but I'm not sure that necessarily trumps the policy regarding naming conventions, which says in its nutshell, "Generally, article naming should prefer what the majority of English speakers would most easily recognize, with a reasonable minimum of ambiguity, while at the same time making linking to those articles easy and second nature." Ambiguity doesn't seem to be much of a factor in this case, so the first clause, regrding "what the majority of English speakers would most easily recognize", is probably the part to follow. John Carter 16:24, 16 November 2007 (UTC)
Alright then. I (being one person) am not going to argue with all of you.
As far as I'm concerned (so far, at least), I only know the basics for naming conventions. I'm not good with major exceptions to that system.
You should all know, however, that I was not the one who originally moved the article to "Pope Athanasius I of Alexandria".

Opening line[edit]

In light of the immediately preceding discussion, I propose that we make the first title "Athanasius of Alexandria", to conform with the article's title. Just move Pope Athanasius I of Alexandria to the list following this title. Any objections? Carl.bunderson (talk) 17:42, 2 May 2008 (UTC)

Well then, I'm doing it. Carl.bunderson (talk) 21:52, 19 May 2008 (UTC)

As a featured article?[edit]

This article is pretty good. We should make it featured. Iphoneorange (talk) 21:18, 23 October 2008 (UTC)

The article contains way too many references to encyclopedias to have a chance of even GA at this point. But if someone wants to find other sources for the information currently sourced from them, and maybe add anything else they think pertinent, then I think it might stand a chance of at least GA. John Carter (talk) 19:38, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

Saint Athanasius.[edit]

Saint Athanasius had to face the Arian heresy in his day, and had to flee the city many times not only on account of this but, too, when the threat from the pagan Emporor became real. It would, therefore, be impossible to consider him as a murderer, as it would be totally out of character with the history, and with the man, the Saint. He was at the Council of Nicea with his predecessor.

MacOfJesus (talk) 19:25, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

No, actually, it wouldn't. "Murderer" strikes most people today as being someone who kills for malicious reasons, but it probably is a comparatively neutral word to describe someone who had a hand in killing people, or did so directly. At his time, there were a lot of such killings, and not just allegedly by him, and torture and various other things we would today consider unacceptable. Times were different then. Louis IX of France ordered and took part in more than a few killings himself, and he's considered a saint. At the time, "the ends justifies the means" was a fairly common belief, even if it isn't now, and it would not have been unreasonable for someone in a position of power to order the torture or killing of someone who they saw as being a threat to the public good, or, for a religious figure, to the eternal souls of some members of the public. Also, unfortunately, the allegations are rather heavily discussed in a few of the better sources regarding this subject, so we are basically obliged to describe them on that basis. As I don't know of any source which categorically denies the claims based on the reasons you gave, or really any reasons, we really can't add anything like what you said above either. John Carter (talk) 19:45, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

I don't know what history you've followed, but in the history books (not Wikipedia) I'v followed and studied this view would be totally out of character with the person. Murder is also a reality even for the one who did'nt yield the instrument. Henry II of England famous word: "Who will rid me of this turbulent priest." Any serious, open minded, study of Saint Athanasius, could not come to this conclusion.

MacOfJesus (talk) 20:03, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

Two of the sources cited in that section are from books published by Harvard. Are you questioning their status as serious or open-minded? I can and do have doubts myself about the Duane Arnold book, but have trouble rejecting the material from the others cited in that section. John Carter (talk) 20:13, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

Yes, I do. For Saint Athanasius confined himself to writing and when he was'nt writing he was fleeing. If he were a murderer by deed or word then he was'nt very successful, for soon after we had the first Arien Pope! Part of the history is studying the writings, on which bases he was declared Doctor of the Church. The writings of First Council of Nicea, its premises and its conclusions are also part of that history. We are talking of a man who fled from the patriarch when he was about to ask Saint Athanasius to be bishop after him, it was a job he did not want. He was not a Henry II of England.

MacOfJesus (talk) 21:02, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

OK, then provide sources which explicitly make the statements you make, and we'll add them. Otherwise, we have to consider the two Harvard sources and the other (I think Rand-McNally?) sufficient for inclusion of the material they evidently put forward. If you can provide reliably sourced information explicitly supporting your contrary position, I have no doubt that there would be no objections to adding it. John Carter (talk) 21:19, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

I am in the process of doing this study, John Carter, and will let you know when it is ready. Thank you for the opportunity and the media to air this important point. This point has deep significance as if one discredits Saint Athanasius one discredits his stand against Arian position.

MacOfJesus (talk) 10:01, 23 July 2009 (UTC)

Today, John Carter, I'v left an outline of my response on your talk page. I hope this is OK.

MacOfJesus (talk) 14:07, 25 July 2009 (UTC)

Dear John Carter, I'v left what I believe is it on your talk page.

MacOfJesus (talk) 16:01, 27 July 2009 (UTC)

I propose to place on the main site the testamonial of Saint Gregory Nazianzen to the life of Saint Athanasius, his Oration 21, an extract.

MacOfJesus (talk) 18:12, 30 July 2009 (UTC)

I don't see why discrediting Athanasius should discredit the anti-Arian position. It isn't supposed to depend on one individual. All but one bishop, at least in the Roman Empire, agreed to the declarations of Nicaea. Peter jackson (talk) 17:40, 20 August 2009 (UTC)

Saint Athanasius became to be seen as the leader of the battle-field. The Constanople faction was quite large and influential. They caused the Emporer to issue a death order on him. The accusations were such that it merited the calling of a Council of the Church of Sardica. For those of us who accept the Divinity of Christ, The Son, The Second Person of The Blessed Trinity, then it may be hard to see. For those who don't, then it would be a leveriage. I request look at the page: Hosius of Corduba at the mention of the Council of Sardica 343, at the comment made on the main page with the information!

MacOfJesus (talk) 19:03, 20 August 2009 (UTC)

Also, please look at the concluding notes of the same article: Hosius of Corduba, the bias is throughout the article. This has no place in a writing claiming to be pure history. The same applies also to Saint Athanasius' page. Pure History should be given without opinion, no matter where that opinion originates from, otherwise it becomes "non-fiction".

MacOfJesus (talk) 11:31, 21 August 2009 (UTC) MacOfJesus (talk) 11:21, 21 August 2009 (UTC)

Request Comment[edit]

Too much weight is given to Timothy Barnes' writing in the main page, in which he takes the opinion that Saint Athanasius was guilty of murder, or conspiricy to murder and subtafuse. All the other sources say the opposite, including the Council of Sardica. Therefore, I think the page should be reworded to reflect this.

MacOfJesus (talk) 15:08, 20 August 2009 (UTC)

Surely, this material, of Timothy Barnes, would be better served in an article on Timothy Barnes himself, or his works.

MacOfJesus (talk) 15:13, 20 August 2009 (UTC)

I think that the phrasing here would be more neutrally stated to be that Timothy Barnes' opinion may not reflect the existing consensus of experts on the subject, and that the material might be better suited to an article on either Barnes himself or his books. John Carter (talk) 17:13, 20 August 2009 (UTC)

Request for comment[edit]

It has been suggested that Timothy Barnes' views may not be in line with the thinking of the majority of experts on the subject, and that perhaps the article, as it is currently structured, may give undue weight to them. It has also been suggested that the bulk of the material might be better suited to either the Timothy Barnes article itself, or perhaps articles on the books themselves, should they be proven to meet WP:NOTABILITY criteria. John Carter (talk) 17:13, 20 August 2009 (UTC)

WP:DUE gives some guidance on determining what's the mainstream scholarly view: consult the standard reference texts in the field. Of course this won't help if the question is so specialized they don't mention it. Peter jackson (talk) 17:37, 20 August 2009 (UTC)

I see no evidence of overemphasis. When we are talking about a full professor writing in a university press, the burden of proof is on the one opposed to the material to produce equally credible sourced information that contradicts the questioned content. Such is the case here and I see no evidence that the opponents of this material have done much in the way of research. Before issues like undue weight can be intelligently discussed there has to be contradictory information at a comparable or better level of credibility. As it stands, I would be very much opposed to expelling this material to other articles, and leaving this article to hagiographies and less academic publications. Savidan 20:21, 20 August 2009 (UTC)

I hope to have the transcript of the Council of Sardcia and its letters issued. This will take a little time, but I have clear sources for all I'v said, and they are earlier than Barnes. The truth does not depend on personages.

MacOfJesus (talk) 20:49, 20 August 2009 (UTC)

Please look at page: Hosius of Corduba, the bias is throughout the article. The same applies to the Saint Athanasius' page, all details should be given without conclusions or opinions otherwise it is "non-fiction" and has no place in a page claiming to be pure History. This is the way my fellow-historians viewed Barnes' work. The criteria for a history is basically this. It is the same for all of us irregardless of our professorship. The further comments of my professors I would not print. If main pages continue to be found with such bias we may find that Wikipedia will be viewed as a list of not serious accounts. People who are not historians but have expertise in other fields shurley do not have a say here, for this specialised study, and field. I would not claim to have a say in a field where I don't feel familiar with.

MacOfJesus (talk) 11:51, 21 August 2009 (UTC)

Athanasius is a very major figure with hundreds of books about him. The present artcile cites Barnes 9 times, far more than any other source, and thus gives undue weight to a very controvesial scholar. I'll try to tidy this up a bit. NBeale (talk) 13:39, 21 August 2009 (UTC)

I've made it clear that these criticisms come from two scholars and have removed the extra section on allegations of violence, which went: "Some modern historians suggest that the tactics of Athanasius were a significant factor in his success. He did not hesitate to back up his theological views with the use of force. In Alexandria, they assert, he assembled a group that could instigate a riot in the city if needed. It was an arrangement "built up and perpetuated by violence."[1] However, these accusations are nothing new. Some of these allegations from the Council of Tyre were clearly false, like the charge of killing Arsenius as Arsenius was still alive[2]. However, it is known that at least one of his opponents, Arius died under mysterious circumstances that today we would call murder. [2] The allegations nevertheless led to distrust in some quarters and to his being tried many times for "bribery, theft, extortion, sacrilege, treason and murder."[3] While the charges rarely stuck, his reputation was a major factor in his multiple exiles from Alexandria. Athanasius stubbornly refused to compromise his theological views by stating, "What is at stake is not just a theological theory but people's salvation."[4] Simply put, he meant that if Jesus were not God, as Arius asserted, then people were not saved by his coming, death, and resurrection. He played a clear role in making the Constantinian shift a part of the theology of the church."

As is said these are allegations. I'm prepared to get the full transcripts of the Council of The Church in which they were viewed, in which Athanasius was cleared. Why did'nt Barnes do that?

MacOfJesus (talk) 14:03, 21 August 2009 (UTC)

"Athanasius stubbernly refused to compromise his theological views..." I expect the student of this study to know what these are, what was ruled at Nicaea, and what the position is today re these. The Church today is of the same opinion as Athanasius. Saint Pius X said in his letter to his friend and correspondant in the closing years of his life: "Let what was confessed by the Fathers of Nicaea prevail". ( Epist. lxxi, ad Max.). All the main-line Christian Churches are of Athanasius' opinion. "We can't all be wrong, surely". These opinions and alligations have no place in a serious page, when there is a clear historical airing to the contrary, i.e. the Council of Sardica. The Pope in question, who called the Council, 343, was Pope Saint Julius1.

MacOfJesus (talk) 15:00, 21 August 2009 (UTC)

We have to report what reliable sources have to say if they are significant views. JSTOR has 11 reviews, I've looked at the first four and stopped. It appears that Barnes's books are well respected by his colleagues, eg Michael DiMaio, Jr. in The Classical World, Vol. 88, No. 3 (Jan. - Feb., 1995), p. 228 "Barnes' Athanasius and Constantius will certainly take its place beside his earlier Constantine and Eusebius as a major classic in late Roman history;" "much of Barnes' argumentation turns on fine nuances in the original Greek text that cannot always be detected in a translation. Interestingly, the portrait of Athanasius in this work is not as negative as that which appeared in Constantine and Eusebius, where Barnes portrayed Athanasius as an "ecclesiastical gangster." In any case, the author's control of the source material is brilliant."
Timothy Teeter in Vigiliae Christianae, Vol. 48, No. 4 (Dec., 1994), pp. 398-401 concludes "emperor. Though one may differ with the author's overall portrait of Athanasius,Barnes has made a major contribution to understanding the politics of religion in the fourth century". Teeter does say however "it is noteworthy that, in the one case where a charge against Athanasius can be checked with certainty (the murder of a Melitian bishop), Athanasius was clearly innocent, as he and his supporters were quick to point out when other charges were brought up. Despite the many clues carefully uncovered by Barnes to show that events were not always as Athanasius represented, there is no reason to take statements of his enemies at face value. Barnes himself notes the willingness of Eusebius of Nicomedia to misrepresent Athanasius to Constantine as 'rich' and plotting to delay grain shipments from Alexandria. Barnes's attempt to probe behind Athanasius' version of events is commendable, but the evidence is slippery.".
Theresa Urbainczyk in The Journal of Roman Studies, Vol. 84 (1994), pp. 280-281 "an important contribution to our understanding of the fourth century" (no mention of violence in the review, reviewer disagrees with Barnes' comments on subservience, and feels Barnes comes across as too certain).
Mark Humpries in The Classical Review, New Series, Vol. 48, No. 2 (1998), pp. 401-402 "Whether or not we agree with him, we must admire the scrupulous honesty with which he presents a clear account of the sources on which his reconstructions are based." "another masterpiece of historical reconstruction"

Dougweller (talk) 08:00, 22 August 2009 (UTC)

I don't think we should ignore Barnes, but nor should we give his views undue weight compared to the hundreds of other writers on this topic. NBeale (talk) 08:51, 22 August 2009 (UTC)

Do remember though, it is not the writers that make the History but the events at the time. That is why it is best to go back to and seek the originals and the reactions of the people of the time. Seeking the advice of too many writers can lead us astray caught up in their command of a good literacy. Some good historians had not a very good turn of phrase, but still were good historians. I am mainly after the truth, and I don't care how deep I have to dig!

MacOfJesus (talk) 13:06, 22 August 2009 (UTC)

But that's not Wikipedia policy. That bans original research such as you outline, & insists its purpose is simply to record what scholars have said.

"If main pages continue to be found with such bias we may find that Wikipedia will be viewed as a list of not serious accounts." Regardless of its relevance to this particular article, on which I make no comment as I know little of the subject, it's certainly true there are a lot of biased articles in Wikipedia, because it has no effective procedure for enforcing neutrality. Peter jackson (talk) 10:21, 27 August 2009 (UTC)

What I'm saying is the very opposite. Original research is what I'm talking about. I am seeking the transcripts of Sardicia, not making judgements one way or the other, Barnes is making opinion and leaning on his reputation. This is not history.

MacOfJesus (talk) 00:26, 29 August 2009 (UTC)

Early in the year 343 he went to Gaul ! He went there to consult the saintly Hosius, (Hosius of Corduba), the great champion of othodoxy in the West. (On his page The Council of Sardica is referred to as a fruitless Council, bias surely!). The two together set out for the Council of Sardica which had been summoned in deference to the Roman pontiff's wishes. His innocence was reaffirmed. Two conciliar letters were prepared one to the clergy and faithful of Alexandria, the other to the bishops of Egypt and Lybia, in which the will of the Council was made known. The persecution against the othodox party broke out with renewed vigor, and Constantius was induced to prepare drastic measures against Athanasius and the priests who were devoted to him. Orders were given that if the Saint attempted to re-enter his see, he should be put to death.

May I have concensus to place this (or an abreviated version) into the main page? The source is 1930 Catholic Encyclopedia, contributer: Cornelius Clifford.

MacOfJesus (talk) 00:35, 29 August 2009 (UTC)

You don't seem to understand what Wikipedia means by original research. It means original research by Wikipedia editors into primary sources, which is what you seem to be suggesting. Citing the research already done by scholars published in reliable sources is precisely what WP is supposed to be doing. Peter jackson (talk) 10:24, 29 August 2009 (UTC)

What I am most interested in is, what is History and what is not, and the end result is the main page. When I see a main page that is obviously incorrect then I do not presume to change it myself but go down this route. The end result should be a better main page and better History. I think I'm doing everything correctly. I feel I have aided the process. "The free encyclopedia that anyone can edit".

MacOfJesus (talk) 11:32, 29 August 2009 (UTC)

He also states, Cornelius Clifford,1930,: Pius X, now Saint Pius X, said in a letter to a philosopher-friend and correspondent in the closing years of his life (Epist. lxxi, ad Max.): "Let what was confessed by the Fathers of Nicaea prevail".

May I have concensus to place this in the main page.

MacOfJesus (talk) 14:25, 31 August 2009 (UTC)

May I encourage all to read a short book by Mother Frances Alice Monica Forbes, a sister of the Society of the Sacred Heart, Scotland. It is entitled "Saint Athanasius". It is not meant to be pure History but rather a devotional, true, and personal view of history, but nevertheless a very accurate and good account. On the main page it is on the "external lists" and is free to down-load as it was first published in 1919. This inspired me to study more and find out more of the Saint. It is published by Tan Books.

MacOfJesus (talk) 19:07, 3 September 2009 (UTC)

Apologies for coming late to this discussion. I wrote some of the original text citing criticisms of Athanasius by Timothy Barnes in this article. I notice that about halfway down this thread, NBeale went ahead and completely removed the Allegations of Violence section, even though there didn't seem to have been a consensus in this thread around making such a move.

I disagree with NBeale's assertion (in his edit summary) that "this is already dealt with enough in the Critics I think". If Barnes is correct, the willingness of Athanasius to use violence in their theological disagreements is itself a note-worthy development in church history as it varied significantly with the early church's pacifist stance and are significant in and of themselves as a step away from this stance. mennonot (talk) 12:14, 24 September 2009 (UTC)

The question is how much weight, as per WP:UNDUEWEIGHT, to give Barnes', well, allegations. I am not myself necessarily opposed to the inclusion of such material, but if he is the only one to make such allegations, and others, as has been indicated above, have said there is no really good reason to believe them, then that one author's opinions could be reasonably seen as not deserving an a separate section.
You said above "if Barnes is correct", and, as per the reviews etc., it doesn't seem to be the case that the consensus academic opinion is that he is correct. Such material can and often is included in articles about the books themselves, and I believe his books are probably notable enough for separate articles, but I don't believe we should necessarily devote an entire section to the opinions of one author which have not been taken up by others. John Carter (talk) 14:23, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
John, this seems like a reasonable argument to me. It seems like there's been a much more extensive review of the literature then when I originally added the section. Although MacOfJesus hasn't weighed in, I'm guessing he'd agree with you, so given those two clear opinions, I'm happy to leave things as they are since Barne's views are represented in other sections. mennonot (talk) 17:12, 28 September 2009 (UTC)

Timothy Barnes' study is Greek and the Ancient Greek. The Constantinople Faction wrote in this form and hence if you follow it you will have their opinion only. This was aired at the Council of Sardica and Saint Athanasius was freed of all fault. Cited in the Article page now, with clear references from Cornelius Clifford.

This is the bit that was missing. This is a clear answer to your question of; was he guilty of wrongdoing, this was the long-standing argument of the Constantinople faction, a smear-campaign, that when they did'nt get their way they walked-out.

Hence, there is no chance that Barnes was right, for he was reading from the factions' documents.

The council documents were given to Cornelius Clifford or at least part of them. I am still awaiting for something from Rome!

The Councils' letters to North Africa stating his clearance is also cited in the article page.

MacOfJesus (talk) 13:58, 23 October 2009 (UTC)

Sorry I only found your comment now, and I hope my answer is clear.

In the old-world here, Barnes, on history was always dismissed!

I was not just not coming back to you. If I had noticed you comment I would have responded with this.

MacOfJesus (talk) 15:02, 23 October 2009 (UTC)

I have The Oxford Dictionary of The Christian Church, second edition 1974 and it does confirm on the council of Sardica and Saint Athanasius.

If Saint Athanasius had comprimised or allowed acceptance of the Constantinople faction in full communion, then today we would have a very different Creed. He was right to dogadily refuse, for the people of the faction continued to induce the Emporer to murder or "issue a contract on Athanasius".

MacOfJesus (talk) 21:53, 25 October 2009 (UTC)

I have at last: Arius (Heresy and Tradition) by Rowan Williams, (of happy memory).

I can say that he hi-lights the inconsistancies in the Arian arguments throughout. He treats the subject from the point of view of a clinical appraisal with "no axes to grind" and identifying the Schools of thought that each belong to.

The Creed that the Arians wanted was one that is very different to The Nicean one, the one we have to this day. (Both him, R. Williams, and myself and all the main-line Churches are of the same Nicean Creed).

I am not of Rowan Williams faith.

I recommend this book to all, as it was recommended to me by John Carter. SCM press. ISBN no: 0-334-02850-7 (£16.95).

MacOfJesus (talk) 22:41, 12 November 2009 (UTC)

My I offer my opinion?

The Constantinople Faction wrote in The Ancient Greek, I believe, for secretive reasons, (esoteric). Arius, and the faction wanted a faith / creed that could be reasonable and intelligible and not dependant on mystery and revealed truth.

I refer you to Pg: 111 of "Arius (Heresy and Tradition)": The aim of Arius. MacOfJesus (talk) 18:29, 13 November 2009 (UTC)

How moral the faction were is revealed in the note that they enduced the Emperor to murder or seek murder. (This was after Sardica, and contained in the Article page at the point where Cornelius Clifford is quoted, 1930).

The answer is in the notes and transcripts of the Council of Sardica, which I am still awaiting for from The Vatican.

MacOfJesus (talk) 11:54, 13 November 2009 (UTC)

Something Missing[edit]

Consensus Request[edit]

In the Biography section on the main page there is something missing. When Saint Athanasius came out of the ancestrial toombs (his father's) he called the Council of Alexandria. He died peacefully in his home. Some of this is missing! This should be added to the end of this section. Do I have a consensus to do this? I would lean heavily on Cornelius Clifford's words. I find his account to be very clinical and precise.

MacOfJesus (talk) 10:54, 16 September 2009 (UTC)

Now having the study in front of me:

1. 364, Jovian died, October Athanasius in exile again.

2. Valens now had control in East, and gave fresh life to Arian party.

3. Consternation in Alexandria.

4. 5 Oct. Athanasius withdrew.

5. In his father's tomb.

6. Valens gave permission for his return.(Fear of disturbance in city).

7. He re-emphasized The Incarnation and Nicaea.

8. He died peacefully in his own bed, surrounded by his clergy and faithful.

Most of this missing.

MacOfJesus (talk) 14:21, 16 September 2009 (UTC)

You might also ref it here and also use this. NBeale (talk) 14:40, 16 September 2009 (UTC)

Thank you, I'v done that. I'v kept it terse. MacOfJesus (talk) 17:30, 16 September 2009 (UTC)

The Council of Sardica[edit]

In the paragraph just before the quotation of Cornelius Clifford, 1930, in the section of the Biography, we see the Council of Sardica was populated with only the bishops of the West and from Egypt as "the others did not bother to appear". The reason for this is that "the others" were the Constantople Faction who would not attend or walked out as they could not get their way here. Instead they enduced the Emperor to murder, as outlined in the next paragraph.

The gathering, I understand, was still immence, as stated by Cornelius Clifford.

MacOfJesus (talk) 00:49, 14 January 2010 (UTC)

The Article page Council of Sardica, has been completely revived and a page to be proud of.

MacOfJesus (talk) 21:49, 16 February 2010 (UTC)


A sentence mentions that he is one of the four great doctors of the orthodox church. But see Doctor_of_the_Church#Eastern_Orthodoxy which does not include him and suggests that doctor is much more flexible in the East than the West, where it is completely bent to allow just about anybody. Student7 (talk) 12:15, 11 May 2010 (UTC)

Agreed. Hosius, the chair of The Council, attempted to heal this but was unable. Now, it is considered history and many of the Eastern Churches are Uniat. The respect for one anothers' traditions is essential. We find that Saint Christopher is not on the Calander of Saints in the West but in the East, but is held as a Saint everywhere. I hope this helps.
In the West he, Saint Athanasius, is very much a Doctor and indeed The Mass saw the Second Gospel (St. John's Gospel, Ch. 1) added as a result of his study and life. MacOfJesus (talk) 14:22, 6 June 2010 (UTC)
See the Article pages: 1. Council of Sardica. & 2. Hosius of Corduba. MacOfJesus (talk) 13:45, 8 June 2010 (UTC)
Regarding his position in The Catholic Church versus the Eastern Churches, you, the OP, Student7, may have a point and I think there is a mistake in the Article page referring to his status in the Eastern Churches. I shall look this up. (I have found what you are referring to, now); {2nd. paragraph of the introduction}. MacOfJesus (talk) 14:01, 8 June 2010 (UTC)
There are Four Great Doctors of The East, as nominated by the Church in the West. (Note; I said "in The East", not Eastern Church). If you Google "Four Great Doctors of the Church", quite a large group of options come up. Look for Catholic Encyclopedia and read. The Church of the West identfies the four great of the East. "The three are as common in Eastern art as the four are in Western. Durandus (i, 3) remarks that Doctors should be represented with books in their hands. In the West analogy led to the veneration of four Eastern Doctors, St. Athanasius being very properly added to the three hierarchs."
The Three Great of The Eastern Church are:
1. St. John Chrysostom.
2. St. Basil (whose feast-day is today, 14 June).
3. Gregory Nazianzen.
MacOfJesus (talk) 13:32, 14 June 2010 (UTC)
This reference is now in the article page at the introduction on the second paragraph, taking the place of [citation needed]. I hope this helps to make the article even better. MacOfJesus (talk) 11:01, 15 June 2010 (UTC)

So he is one of the four great doctors of the East as understood by the West. I have not placed-in the above quote. Do you think it would benefit the article page, if placed here in the article page? MacOfJesus (talk) 20:30, 18 June 2010 (UTC)

Charges against Athanasius[edit]

Now that some time has passed (about a year, yes?) since the Athanasius-Timothy Barnes discussion on this page, I'd like to ask a fresh question. Has anyone actually provided the text from Timothy Barnes' work that is used in the article? That would be very helpful, as so far he is the only historian of note who find fault with Athanasius's evidence for innocence and the circumstances of his trial as recorded in the primary sources. Perhaps a wikipedian has misinterpreted Barnes' work. NJMauthor (talk) 19:56, 7 October 2010 (UTC)

The texts are in Wikipedia under Timothy Barnes' article page. He is professor of Greek and the Ancient Greek and sometimes lectures in Oxford. The evidence is very strongly in the opposite direction; considering that a council at the time aired these accusations and found him innocent. MacOfJesus (talk) 12:52, 29 January 2011 (UTC)

List of Five Exiles[edit]

In fact he was in exile approx. 11 times. Five by the Emperors, and the remainder for his own safety by people seeking to take his life. The last exile found him in his father's tomb, as some may look for him in the desert. The biographical account further up the page indicates. MacOfJesus (talk) 15:13, 19 April 2011 (UTC)

I am not sure if his father's tomb was in the desert? "In the desert", refered to the fact that he visited and stayed with Saint Antony of the desert. As he stayed twice there, it was safer to stay where no one would find him. MacOfJesus (talk) 18:08, 19 April 2011 (UTC)

It would be clear that his father's tomb was quite close to Alexandria, not in the desert. Hence it would be safer to remove "in the desert" after the fifth exile. MacOfJesus (talk) 08:11, 20 April 2011 (UTC)

Consensus Request[edit]

May I have an agreement to correct the List of Five Exiles, the 5th. should read "In his father's tomb", not "In the desert, in his father's tomb". His father's tomb was close to Alexandria, we believe, certainly not in the desert. MacOfJesus (talk) 19:21, 21 April 2011 (UTC)

Do you have a source for this?ReformedArsenal (talk) 23:24, 30 April 2012 (UTC)

The sources are already mentioned in the page with the biography notes where this is outlined, second last paragraph to be precise where the "outskirts of Alexandria" is mentioned in this context. The tabulation of lists of exiles is a duplication, but a useful list nonetheless. MacOfJesus (talk) 01:12, 2 May 2012 (UTC)

If you've got a source, then follow BRD and just do it. If anyone has a problem then we can go from thereReformedArsenal (talk) 02:37, 2 May 2012 (UTC)

It is already stated clearly in the Biography Section, second-last paragraph: "..... On the outskirts of Alexandria......". It's references are already clear, outlined clearly here. It would be unnecessary duplication to include references hereMacOfJesus (talk) 21:01, 4 May 2012 (UTC)

date of feast[edit]

I notice that the date in the Coptic Church is 13 days after the date in the Western Church. (the same thing happens for St Anthony the Great in January). Is this 13 day difference the result of calendar reform? Or was it always the case? --Richardson mcphillips (talk) 18:14, 30 April 2012 (UTC)

In the West, and according to the Ancient Calendar, it follows the date of the death of the Saint, the date whereby the Saint entered to his Heavenly reward. In the new Calendar the date is kept to the same, today 2nd. of May. I cannot comment on the Eastern Church's practice here. MacOfJesus (talk) 20:45, 1 May 2012 (UTC)

The difference between the Early dating systems and the Gregorian Calendar, might explain this difference. Julian Calendar and others had approx. 10 days to add to make up for the difference. So we know that 12th. of July should be celebrated on 8th. of July, or perhaps the 28th. of July. The further you go back in time the more wide the difference. Days had to be added at the end of February to make up any difference. The pages mentioned above give a good indication of what happened in history regarding this. MacOfJesus (talk) 22:18, 1 May 2012 (UTC)

However, historically speaking, the Battle of the Boyne was fought on 1st July 1690; the battle that was fought on 12th July occurred one year later in 1691.MacOfJesus (talk) 23:20, 22 January 2013 (UTC)


I understand that as a result of Saint Athanasius' work, the Church added "The Last Gospel" to the Mass. This is today still recited in the Traditional Rite... St John's Gospel, Chapter 1, verses: 1-14. When I find the exact reference I'll place it in. MacOfJesus (talk) 22:32, 7 February 2014 (UTC)

I have found the exact reference in Adrian Fortiscue's work; entitled "Gospel" in volume VI of the Catholic Encyclopaedia of 1907, and others...... But this is clearest..... MacOfJesus (talk) 15:31, 9 June 2014 (UTC)

Historical reorganization[edit]

In a fairly major copyedit, I not only copyedited out pervasive passive constructions, I consolidated the various historical sections into a single chronological one, as well as merged the two sections concerning his writings. The article still has major citation problems which I don't have time nor theological background to address, and hope someone else will since this has been listed as a vital article as well as needing major work for several years.Jweaver28 (talk) 13:06, 3 May 2014 (UTC)

Cornelius Clifford[edit]

Thank you, However, a lot of research and work has gone into this article page. There was a section in quotation marks that indicated it was a direct quotation from a great historian that was researched and put in by me..... as indicated in the references.... It meant that Professor Timothy Barn's work was removed from the page..... Now by changing the wording of this important paragraph the page is the loss for it...... The Council Documents of Sardica held the answer...... Hence, I request a consensus to restore it in the exact wording of the famous Historian; Cornelius Clifford..... The Documents in question are very old and it is a great privilege to see them..... The Page should remain an Historical page, not just an appealing account...... MacOfJesus (talk) 21:01, 8 May 2014 (UTC)

The wording as it stands is a gloss, and in spite of the clear declaring of the situation by the Historian. This reduces the page to a journal account not a serious Historical account... MacOfJesus (talk) 22:51, 10 May 2014 (UTC)

To be clear:

The Emperor just said that if he entered his See he was to be killed..... not as it says on the page...... the difference is time .... in the 4th Century this what wound happen..... in the 20th - 21st Century, the way it is phrased is what would happen...

Hence, this paragraph is not historically correct and needs to be restored to the original....

Re-ordering the page is one thing but Historical accuracy is another.... MacOfJesus (talk) 14:02, 11 May 2014 (UTC)

The Council of Sardica was summoned in deference to the Pope with Hosius as chair, to take up the case against Athanasius... The Eusebian faction, because they did not get their way ...and Constantius was induced to prepare drastic measures against Athanasius and the prestos devoted to him... This reads utterly different to what is there now..... Athanasius' cause was not an after thought.... MacOfJesus (talk) 21:08, 11 May 2014 (UTC)

Cornelius Clifford was, when written, of Seton Hall College, South Orange, New Jersey.... MacOfJesus (talk) 21:36, 11 May 2014 (UTC)

"Early in the year 343 we find the undaunted exile in Gaul, whither he had gone to consult the saintly Hosius, the great champion of orthodoxy in the West. The two together set out for the Council of Sardica which had been summoned in deference to the Roman pontiff's wishes. At this great gathering of prelates the case of Athanasius was taken up once more; and once more was his innocence reaffirmed. Two conciliar letters were prepared, one to the clergy and faithful of Alexandria, the other to the bishops of Egypt and Lybia, in which the will of the Council was made known. Meanwhile the Eusebian party had gone to Philippopolis, where they issued an anathema against Athanasius and his supporters. The persecution against the orthodox party broke out with renewed vigour, and Constantius was induced to prepare drastic measures against Athanasius and the priests who were devoted to him. Orders were given that if the Saint attempt to re-enter his see, he should be put to death. Athanasius, accordingly, withdrew from Sardica to Naissus in Mysia, where he celebrated the Easter festival of the year 344."

Quoted directly from : Athanasius, Saint, Bishop of Alexandria; Confessor and Doctor of the Church, Cornelius Clifford, The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume II, 1907..... MacOfJesus (talk) 22:04, 14 May 2014 (UTC)

Mistakingly, I said it was from the 1930 publications.... but it was from the 1907 editions..... which I have in front of me.... MacOfJesus (talk) 22:30, 14 May 2014 (UTC)


I have placed in a quotation from Athanasius' Orations........ the exact locations I will place in when I find them, soon. MacOfJesus (talk) 10:20, 9 June 2014 (UTC)

Paragraph in Supporters of Athanasius[edit]

The following paragraph was added to the section on Supporters of Athanasius, but while it has a citation attached, the paragraph itself doesn't seem to have anything in it to associate it with the topic of the section.

The Gospel of St. John and prticularly the first Chapter demonstrates the Divinity of Jesus. The Last Gospel of The Mass, The Eucharist, St John[1:1–14], together with the prayer; "Placeat tibi", the blessing, are all private devotions that have been gradually absorbed by the liturgical service. The beginning of St John's Gospel was much used as an object of special devotion throughout the Middle Ages. Nevertheless, the practice of saying it at the altar grew; eventually St. Pius V made this practice universal for the Roman Rite in his edition of the Missal. (1570). [5]. It became mandatory in use only from 1920.

I'm inclined to just remove it. Indyguy (talk) 02:10, 10 June 2014 (UTC)

The significance of this research is what resulted as a result of Athanasius stand and life...... the Last Gospel was added to the Mass..... This paragraph follows on from the earlier reference to St John's Gospel... I have added since to it with research to Jungman (German) and Pope Benedict's XV rubrics and instructions, (Latin).... The meaning of Saint John's Gospel and it's use, in this, is important... As I build on it the relevance will become more apparent... Please be patient.....

MacOfJesus (talk) 13:29, 20 June 2014 (UTC)

I have added to that paragraph again indicating the custom that began because of Athanasius' stand...... there is no reference as there is nothing more but what I'll indicated at the end... MacOfJesus (talk) 12:41, 21 June 2014 (UTC)

Historical Accuracy[edit]

At the end on the Article Page in the section; External links, you will find: " St. Athanasius Patriarch of Alexandria at the Christian Classics Ethereal Library " Now, compare to the Article Page. To make the Article page read more smoothly and run more evenly would be at the expense of Historical Accuracy and a mistake. MacOfJesus (talk) 22:59, 7 July 2014 (UTC)

It is a long quote form here; Encyclopaedia Britannica Ninth Edition, Vol. II Charles Scribner's Sons, New York, 1878 MacOfJesus (talk) 11:12, 17 July 2014 (UTC)

I am reminded of a group of elegant speakers in Ancient Greece called Sophists, who won the admiration of many. 'Till someone asked; " ....What did he say???..." You will find an Article page here: Sophists........ MacOfJesus (talk) 10:59, 14 July 2014 (UTC)

Sorry, I do not know how the last few numbers come to be added. Not me..!!! MacOfJesus (talk) 15:16, 14 July 2014 (UTC)

Unclear Style[edit]

The Article Page, has indeed styles that often conflict and do not fit, but that is to do with sources and the different histories we read from. The Page should reflect whatever good account that is available to us, rater than a well worded document which would be inevitably a one source page and unreliable...... Cornelius Clifford of Seton Hall College, South Orange, New Jersey of 1907 is perhaps the best of all of them for it shows the Council of Sardica's accounts, clearly. This was an important, "missing-link". MacOfJesus (talk) 18:51, 29 July 2014 (UTC).

Also, the finding of the Festal Letters, recently, has helped greatly. MacOfJesus (talk) 18:59, 29 July 2014 (UTC)

I have added much more to the different exiles in his history. There was a lot missing. Jovian (emperor), was missing and his trip to Antioch.... I believe this to be Antioch on the Orontes, one of the first centres of the Church. MacOfJesus (talk) 01:07, 30 July 2014 (UTC)

  1. ^ Barnes, 230.
  2. ^ Cite error: The named reference wxdxek was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  3. ^ Rubenstein, 6.
  4. ^ Olson, 172.
  5. ^ Fortescue, Adrian, Catholic Encyclopedia 1907, Volume 6, Pgs: 662-663 "Gospel", .