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The Resurrection Letters of St. Athanasius Bishop of Alexandria

Author(s):   St Athanasius the Great
Publisher:   Thomas Nelson Publications (1979)
Format:   Paperback
Copies:   1 copy available
Product Info:   Book review

Not a few Orthodox Christians of today feel that life during the times of the great Ecumenical Fathers and Hierarchs of the early centuries of the Church cannot compare to life in the modern world, with its temptations and difficulties peculiar to an age of advanced technology. The Orthodox. Faith, however,. remains forever the same Throughout the centuries, in all the writings of the Holy Fathers, there is a marked ‘oneness of mind”-no matter where, when , or in what language they wrote. In reading the Resurrection Letters of St. Athanasius of Alexandria, one is struck by the similarity between problems which faced the Orthodox Christians in the 4th century and those facing us today

Book review

This work is a collection of letters written by St. Athanasius to his flock while he was bishop. They all belong to the category of letters he wrote informing his flock of the date on which Pascha was to be celebrated. At the same time he inspired and encouraged them :valiantly to complete the Holy Fast and instructed them in the proper manner of celebrating the “Feast or feasts.”

When read chronologically (as they appear- ranged in this edition), these letters not only inspire the Orthodox reader but also give an insight. into the history of the Church in the 4th century. The conditions, struggles, temptations, issues and heresies facing the Orthodox Christians at that time come alive under the pen of St. Athanasius who writes in a direct and down-to-earth style. Each letter is prefaced by a brief introduction summarizing its content.

A short life of St. Athanasius is also presented which briefly describes how he became such a prominent Church leader and what led him to write the Resurrection Letters. The final section of the book includes a Scripture index and a chapter on “Lenten Practices,” for those unfamiliar with fasting. One must add, however, that the editor is himself not steeped in Orthodox tradition, and what he presents in this section is his own interpretation based on his reading of early Christian texts rather than a presentation of the Church’s teaching