We Christians know that Jesus Christ is both fully human and fully divine. To deny his human nature, or deny his Divine nature, is a heresy.
But in the early centuries of the Christian movement, that was not always the case.
Some people believed that Jesus Christ was only human and not divine. They were part of a movement called Arianism. Arianism was never an official church teaching, although many people embraced it, even prominent church leaders.
Athanasius of Alexandria in Egypt made it his mission in life to convince his own bishop and Christians everywhere that Jesus Christ was not only human, but also Divine.
At the First Ecumenical Council of Nicaea in 325 AD, Athanasius persuaded the Council Fathers to agree with him that Jesus Christ was divine. They added this to the official teachings of the church.
After the Council, the Arians took revenge on Athanasius, with severity. Five times, he was exiled to a foreign land.
But Athanasius was the Holy Spirit’s key instrument to guide the entire church on this central issue. And even in our day, some 1,600 years later, our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is deeply influenced by Athanasius of Alexandria.
He is a saint and a Doctor of the Church.
The Memorial of Athanasius of Alexandria is observed each year on May 2.
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.