Anatolius of Laodicea (early 3rd century – July 3, 283), also known as Anatolius of Alexandria, was Bishop of Laodicea on the Mediterranean coast of Roman Syria, and was one of the foremost scholars of his day in the physical sciences as well as in Aristotelean philosophy. He is considered a saint by the Eastern Orthodox and the Roman Catholic Churches
Anatolius was born and raised in Alexandria, Egypt, during the early 3rd century. Prior to becoming one of the great lights of the Church, Anatolius enjoyed considerable prestige at Alexandria, and was credited with a rich knowledge of arithmetic, geometry, physics, rhetoric, dialectic, and astronomy. According to Eusebius of Caesarea, Anatolius was deemed worthy to maintain the school of the Aristotelian succession in Alexandria. The pagan philosopher Iamblichus studied among his disciples for a short time.
There are fragments of ten books on arithmetic written by him, and also a treatise on time of the Paschal celebration.
A story is told by Eusebius of the way in which Anatolius broke up a rebellion in a part of Alexandria known then as Bruchium. It was held by the forces of Zenobia, and being strictly beleaguered by the Romans was in a state of starvation. The saint, who was living in Bruchium at the time, made arrangements with the besiegers to receive all the women and children, as well as the old and infirm, continuing at the same time to let as many as wished profit by the means of escaping. It broke up the defence and the rebels surrendered. It was a patriotic action on the part of the saint, as well as one of great benevolence, in saving so many innocent victims from death.
In going to Laodicea he was seized by the people and made bishop. Whether his friend Eusebius had died, or whether they both occupied the see together, is a matter of much discussion. The question is treated at length in the Bollandists.
St Anatolius' feast day, like that of his namesake Saint Anatolius of Constantinople, is celebrated on July 3.
Works by St. Anatolius
Originally printed in 1885, the ten-volume set, Ante-Nicene Fathers, brings together the work of early Christian thinkers. In particular, it brings together the writings of the early Church fathers prior to the fourth century Nicene Creed. These volumes are noteworthy for their inclusion of entire texts, and not simply fragments or excerpts from these great writings. The translations are fairly literal, providing both readers and scholars with a good approximation of the originals. This volume harmonizes various fragmentary material. It contains the work of different authors: St. Gregory Thaumaturgus, Pope Dionysius of Alexandria, Sextus Julius Africanus, St. Anatolius, Pope Peter of Alexandria, and others. These writings were heavily influential on the early Church, and for good reason, as they are inspirational and encouraging. These volumes also come with many useful notes, providing the reader with new levels of understanding. Overall, Ante-Nicene Fathers, or any part of it, is a welcome addition to one's reading list.
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