02 May 2011

My Friend Athanasius

Saint Athanasius is one of my favorite saints.

Swiped from his Wikipedia entry, you'll understand why I love the man so.  And if you don't, I've bolded the parts that cause this reaction.

In June 328, at the age of 30, three years after Nicæa and upon the repose of Bishop Alexander, he became archbishop of Alexandria. He continued to lead the conflict against the Arians for the rest of his life and was engaged in theological and political struggles against the Roman Emperors Constantine and Constantius and powerful and influential Arian churchmen, led by Arian bishop Eusebius of Nicomedia and others. Cowed by no man, and against the whole world with uncompromising hostility towards heresy, he was called "Athanasius Contra Mundum" becoming one of the most imposing figures in ecclesiastical history, the most outstanding of the Alexandrian Bishops and one the greatest theologians of all times. Within few years of his departure, St. Gregory of Nazianzus (329-389 AD) called him the "Pillar of the Church". His writings were well regarded by all Church fathers who followed, in the West and the East. His writings show a rich devotion to the Word-become-man, great pastoral concern, and profound interest in monasticism.

Taken from Chris Angel at the PrayTell blog, here is a hymn (partly tongue in cheek), set to the Hymn to Joy, in honor of Athanasius:

Goodness gracious, Athanasius!  How you fought that Arius!
“Christ’s a creature – but, he’s featured,” was his claim nefarious.
Arius yelped, “God needs no help.  He’s the only source of stuff.
Christ is fine, but not divine, well, not quite fully, but enough.”

Goodness gracious, Athanasius!  This, your bold, insightful stance:
“It is not odd; Christ must be God to effect deliverance.
If he’s not, then problems we’ve got; hon’ring idols ain’t our style.
Don’t start Christ’s fate with his birthdate!  He existed all the while.”

Goodness gracious, Athanasius!  For you we’ve affinity;
Your thoughts precious: how God meshes human with divinity.
At Nicea, your ideas were the answer to the fuss.
Athanasius, so loquacious, now from heaven, pray for us.

Goodness gracious, Athanasius!  So you didn’t write your creed.
All your writing, wrong indicting, gave the Church the Christ we need.
You did not live to see us give your ideas their recompense;
Still we study you, good buddy: thanks for your obedience.


Cole Matson said...

Love it! We did Athanasius vs. Arius today in class, even though here in England today was the Solemnity of St George (transferred from Holy Week). Thinking of sending this hymn to our very erudite monk instructor...

mtjofmcap said...

And if you sing it through, Cole (as I did at school), you find the it fits the meter perfectly!


Cole Matson said...

Oh, I definitely sang it through!