b Alexandria, Egypt c296, d Alexandria c373. After education probably in the city’s catechetical sch, he became sec to the bishop, attending him at the Council of Nicaea in 325 and succeeding him 3 years later. Refusing to compromise with the powerful Arian party (followers of Arius who held a diminished view of the person of Christ), he was deposed and exiled in 336. Returning in 337, he again had to leave in 339, this time for Rome. The western church supported his doctrinal stand, but a longer spell back in his former position (346–356) was once more cut short by the opposition. He was exiled again in 362 and 365–6, but was posthumously vindicated at the Council of Constantinople in 381. His major works include De Incarnatione, written in his 20s some time before 318. As the most consistent defender of orthodox Christian faith at the points then under attack, he wrote widely on the deity and humanity of Christ, and the divine nature of the Holy Spirit. In 2003 Prof Thomas C Oden described his books as ‘life-transforming works that made waves for many centuries, including our own’; John Piper has recently (2006) highlighted his delight in ‘out-rejoicing our adversaries’. As he does not seem hitherto to have found a place in hymnody, Praise! here becomes something of a pioneer. No.333.

Hymns and songs by Athanasius

Number Hymn Name
333 The Word was very God