Saturday, February 26, 2011

This saint fought the heretic Arius

             February 26  -- St. Alexander of Alexandria

St. Alexander, Patriarch of Alexandria, was known for his untiring battle against the heretic, Arius.  Arius was a priest who had a charm and demeanor which attracted those with whom he came in contact. 

He gave an appearance of austerity and penance and showed a certain ability to teach the ecclesiastical sciences.  However, under the veneer of virtue, there was a man of ambition and deceit, calling himself " illustrious".  When St. Alexander was chosen to be the Bishop of Alexandria in 313, Arius, jealous of his appointment, became his enemy and began teaching heresy.  Arius obstinately held to his error and was finally excommunicated by St. Alexander.

Nonetheless, he continued teaching his flawed doctrine in Palestine where he attracted the support of several bishops.  Finally, Arius was condemned by the Council of Nicea with the aid of St. Alexander and his successor, St. Athanasius.

Arius fooled many people including bishops with his attractive ways and convincing language, a type of evil that reminds us of how the Anti-Christ will be.  This sort of hypocrisy easily inverts good to bad and vice versa.

Therefore, when St. Alexander fought against Arius, many construed him to be the evil one, making it very difficult for him to expose the heretic. But St. Alexander fought on and gave St. Athanasius his spirit.  After St. Alexander died in 328, St. Athansius stood alone defending orthodoxy since all the bishops and even the Pope became Arians. Nonetheless, Divine Providence gave the grace to the faithful ones and the Catholic Church remained victorious.

Let us ask St. Alexander to be aware of "wolves in sheep's clothing" and to fight for orthodoxy even if we feel alone because Our Lady will never abandon us.

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