Child’s play

We commemorated St. Athanasius the Great yesterday. Below is a little something from the young and playful Athanasius, the future great theologian. (And to think, all kids want to do today is play video games.):

“One day, young Athanasius was playing on the shore with his friends, mimicking the rites celebrated by God’s sacred ministers. The boys elected Athanasius bishop; and he named some of them presbyters and others deacons; whereupon, they fetched a number of pagan children, whom Athanasius baptized in the sea. Over the initiates he pronounced the words of the holy Mystery as he had heard the presbyter say in church, then delivered as much of an admonition as a little boy could. At that time our father among the saints Alexander was patriarch, and he happened to be standing on a bluff not far away, looking out over the water. He saw the game and was amazed. Straightway, he ordered the children brought to him and asked them what they were doing. At first they were afraid to answer, but after some coaxing began to explain. Singling out the boys who had been baptized, the Patriarch inquired what questions had been put to them, and how they had replied. Having satisfied himself that everything had been done in a manner consistent with the customs of the faith, he took counsel with his clergy, decided that the baptisms were valid, and confirmed them with Chrismation. He then summoned Athanasius’ parents and urged them to rear him well and teach him letters. When Athanasius reached a more mature age, the Patriarch said, they should come back and dedicate him to the service of God and His Holy Church.”

The Great Collection of the Lives of the Saints, January, from the original compiled by St. Demetrius of Rostov

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3 thoughts on “Child’s play

  1. Bless, Father!

    I’ve always loved this story. It seems that, from an early age, St. Athanasius had a clear idea of his vocation and purpose. That’s a very encouraging thought.

    St. Athanasius, pray for us sinners!

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