Gems From Saint Athanasius   

Saint Athanasius (295-373), one of the Fathers of the Church and Archbishop of Alexandria, was a most prolific writer, and defender of the Catholic Church. He is quoted by Catholics and non-Catholics alike. In his many writings, he mentioned the Catholic Church by name many times.
Here are some of his "Gems".
"Thus it is that sinners, and all those who are aliens from the Catholic Church, heretics, and schismatics, since they are excluded from glorifying (God) with the saints, cannot properly even continue observers of the feast."
Festal Letters VII, 335 A.D.
"Who then is so negligent, or who so disobedient to the divine voice, as not to leave everything, and run to the general and common assembly of the feast? which is not in one place only, for not one place alone keeps the feast; but 'into all the earth their song has gone forth, and to the ends of the world their words.' And the sacrifice is not offered in one place, but 'in every nation, incense and a pure sacrifice is offered unto God'. So when in like manner from all in every place, praise and prayer shall ascend to the gracious and good Father, when the whole Catholic Church which is in every place, with gladness and rejoicing, celebrates together the same worship to God, when all men in common send up a song of praise and say, Amen."
Festal Letters XI,11, 339 A.D.

"For the faith which the Council confessed in writings is the faith of the Catholic Church."
Letter on the Council of Nicaea, 27, 350 A.D., J757
"Well then, what is there in common between the heresy of Arius and the opinion of Dionysius: or why is Dionysius to be called like Arius, when they differ widely? For the one is a teacher of the Catholic Church, while the other has been the inventor of a new heresy."
Letter on the Opinion of Dionysius, 6, 350 A.D.
"The Arians then ought, if their intelligence were sound, thus to have thought and held concerning the Bishop: 'for all things are manifest to them that understand, and right to them that find knowledge' (Prov. viii. 9). But since, not having understood the faith of the Catholic Church, they have fallen into impiety, and consequently, maimed in their intelligence, think that even straight things are crooked and call light darkness, while they think that darkness is light, it is necessary to quote also from the other letters of Dionysius, and state why they were written, to the greater condemnation of the heretic, For it was from them that we ourselves have learned to think and write as we are doing about the man."
Letter on the Opinion of Dionysius, 12, 350 A.D.

"But let the impiety of Sabellius and of Paul of Samosata also be anathematised by all, and the madness of Valentinian and Basilides, and the folly of the Manichaens. For if this be done, all evil suspicion will be removed on all hands, and the faith of the Catholic Church alone be exhibited in purity."
Tomas ad Antiochenos, 3
"How then can they be Christians, who for Christians are Ario-maniac? Or how are they of the Catholic Church, who have shaken off the Apostolical faith, and become authors of fresh evils?"
Discourse Against the Arians, I-4, 356 A.D.
"Let us note that the very tradition, teaching, and faith of the Catholic Church from the beginning, which the Lord gave, was preached by the Apostles, and was preserved by the Fathers. On this was the Church founded; and if anyone departs from this, he neither is nor any longer ought to be called a Christian."
St. Athanasius, Letter to Serapion of Thmuis, 359 A.D..
"A desire to learn and a yearning for heavenly things is suitable to a religious Emperor; for thus you will truly have 'your heart' also 'in the hand of God'. Since then your Piety desired to learn from us the faith of the Catholic Church, giving thanks for these things to the Lord, we counselled above all things to remind your Piety of the faith confessed by the Fathers at Nicaea. For this certain set at nought, while plotting against us in many ways, because we would not comply with the Arian heresy, and they have become authors of heresy and schisms in the Catholic Church."
Letter of Athanasius to Jovian
"For a certain Arius and those with him attempted to corrupt it, and to introduce impiety in its place, affirming that the Son of God was from nought, and a creature, and a thing made and changeable. But with these words they deceived many, so that even 'they that seemed to be somewhat were carried away', with their blasphemy. And yet our holy Fathers, as we said before, came promptly together at the Synod at Nicaea, and anathematised them, and confessed in writing the faith of the Catholic Church, so that, this being everywhere preached, the heresy kindled by the heretics might be quenched. This faith then was everywhere in every Church sincerely known and preached."
Letter of Athanasius to Jovian
"But those who say, that the Son was from nothing, or from other subsistence and not from God; and that there was a time or age when He was not, the Catholic and Holy Church regards as aliens. Likewise those who say, that there are three Gods (Mormonism); or that Christ is not God (Jehovah's Witnesses); or that before the ages He was neither Christ nor Son of God; or that Father and Son, or Holy Ghost, are the same; or that the Son is Ingenerate; or that the Father begat the Son, not by choice or will; the Holy and Catholic Church anathematizes."
De Synodis, 463, 359 A.D.
My insertions are in parentheses, to show there is nothing new under the sun. Ecclesiastes 1:10
Old heresies recycle themselves.
"Although you have already subscribed to the letter I addressed to Arius and his fellows, exhorting them to renounce his impiety, and to submit themselves to the sound Catholic Faith, and have shewn your right-mindedness and agreement in the doctrines of the Catholic Church: ..."
Deposition of Arius by St Athanasius, 360 A.D.
"As there is one body of the Catholic Church, and a command is given us in the sacred Scriptures to preserve the bond of unity and peace, it is agreeable thereto. that we should write and signify to one another whatever is done by each of us individually; so that whether one member suffer or rejoice, we may either suffer or rejoice with one another."
Deposition of Arius by St Athanasius, 1, 360 A.D.

"Since then our Lord and Saviour Jesus, Christ has instructed us by His own mouth, and also hath signified to us by the Apostle concerning such men, we accordingly being personal witnesses of their impiety, have anathematized, as we said, all such, and declared them to be alien from the Catholic Faith and Church. And we have made this known to your piety, dearly beloved and most honoured fellow-ministers, in order that should any of them have the boldness to come unto you, you may not receive them, nor comply with the desire of Eusebius, or any other person writing in their behalf. For it becomes us who are Christians to turn away from all who speak or think any thing against Christ, as being enemies of God, and destroyers of souls; and not even to "bid such God speed," lest we become partakers of their sins, as the blessed John hath charged us. Salute the brethren that are with you. They that are with me salute you."
Deposition of Arius by St Athanasius, 6, 360 A.D.

"Again it is not tedious to speak of the [books] of the New Testament. These are, the four Gospels, according to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Afterwards, the Acts of the Apostles and Epistles (called Catholic), seven, viz. of James, one; of Peter, two; of John, three; after these, one of Jude. In addition, there are fourteen Epistles of Paul, written in this order. The first, to the Romans; then two to the Corinthians; after these, to the Galatians; next, to the Ephesians; then to the Philippians; then to the Colossians; after these, two to the Thessalonians, and that to the Hebrews; and again, two to Timothy; one to Titus; and lastly, that to Philemon. And besides, the Revelation of John."
Festal Letters XXXIX, 5, 367 A.D.

"ATHANASIUS to the presbyters and deacons and the people of the Catholic Church in the Mareotis, brethren beloved and longed for, greeting in the Lord."
Festal Letters XLVI

"Being well in body by God's favour, we have now sent our most beloved deacon Eutyches, that your most pious holiness, as is much desired by us, may be pleased to inform us of the safety of yourself and those with you. For we believe it is by the life of you Confessors and servants of God that the state of the Catholic Church is renewed; and that what heretics have assayed to rend in pieces, our Lord Jesus Christ by your means restores whole."
First Letter to Lucifer
"For who, except the Arians, does not clearly see from your teaching the true faith and the taint of the Arians. Forcibly and admirably, like light from darkness, you have separated the truth from the subtility and dishonesty of heretics, defended the Catholic Church, proved that the arguments of the Arians are nothing but a kind of hallucination, and taught that the diabolical gnashings of the teeth are to be despised."
Second Letter to Lucifer
"Since then you are such a man, we ask the Lord in prayer that you may pray for us, that in His mercy He may now deign to look down upon the Catholic Church, and deliver all His servants from the hands of persecutors; in order that all they too who have fallen on account of temporal fear may at length be enabled to raise themselves and return to the way of righteousness, led away from which they are wandering, poor people, not knowing in what a pit they are."
Second Letter to Lucifer
"But those who say that He is a creature, or made, or of nothing, or that there was once a time when He was not, the Catholic Church anathematises."
To the Bishops of Africa, 9, 368 A.D.
"Now it would be proper to write this at greater length. But since we write to you who know, we have dictated it concisely, praying that among all the bond of peace might be preserved, and that all in the Catholic Church should say and hold the same thing. And we are not meaning to teach, but to put you in mind. Nor is it only ourselves that write, but all the bishops of Egypt and the Libyas, some ninety in number. For we all are of one mind in this, and we always sign for one another if any chance not to be present. Such being our state of mind, since we happened to be assembled, we wrote, both to our beloved Damasus, bishop of the Great Rome, giving an account of Auxentius..."
To the Bishops of Africa, 10, 368 A.D.

"For this Synod of Nicaea is in truth a proscription of every heresy. It also upsets those who blaspheme the Holy Spirit, and call Him a Creature. For the Fathers, after speaking of the faith in the Son, straightway added, 'And we believe in the Holy Ghost', in order that by confessing perfectly and fully the faith in the Holy Trinity they might make known the exact form of the Faith of Christ, and the teaching of the Catholic Church. For it is made clear both among you and among all, and no Christian can have a doubtful mind on the point, that our faith is not in the Creature, but in one God, Father Almighty, maker of all things visible and invisible: and in one Lord Jesus Christ His Only-begotten Son, and in one Holy Ghost; one God. known in the holy and perfect Trinity, baptized into which, and in it united to the Deity, we believe that we have also inherited the kingdom of the heavens, in Christ Jesus our Lord, through whom to the Father be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen."
To the Bishops of Africa, 11, 368 A.D.

Several non-Catholics have quoted to me from writings of Saint Athanasius. From the samples which I have shown here, if I were a non-Catholic, and was determined to remain one, I would not ever quote from him again.

Compiled August 25, 2001

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