His epitaph is Athanasius contra mundum, “Athanasius against the world.” We are proud that our own country has more than once stood against the world. Athanasius did the same. He stood for the Trinitarian doctrine, “whole and undefiled,” when it looked as if all the civilised world was slipping back from Christianity into the religion of Arius—into one of those “sensible” synthetic religions which are so strongly recommended today and which, then as now, included among their devotees many highly cultivated clergymen. It is his glory that he did not move with the times; it is his reward that he now remains when those times, as all times do, have moved away.
Saint Athansius stood for the Trinity at a time when the Emperor, Constantius, was Arian, and much of the Church in the East had embraced some form of Arianism. Exiled five times by Constantius and his successors, Athanasius was a pillar of iron who never bended and tirelessly proclaimed the Truth, no matter the forces arrayed against the Truth. His relevance for our day needs no elaboration from me. Here is Pope Benedict on Saint Athanasius: