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St. Athanasius

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Feastday: July 15
Death: 872

Bishop and victim of political turmoil. He was born about 830, the son of the duke of Naples, and he spent his younger years repairing the city, which had suffered during the Saracen occupation. He also ransomed Christians from Islamic captors. In 850, Athanasius was named the bishop of Naples, Italy, at the age of twenty. He attended the Lateran Council of 863. Denouncing his nephew Duke Sergius II of Naples for immorality, Athanasius was imprisoned. The people of Naples demanded and secured his release, and he went to the Island of the Savior nearby. Duke Sergius almost imprisoned Athanasius again because he refused to resign from his see. Emperor Louis II intervened and protected him, but Duke Surges started attacking Athanasius allies and looting the episcopal treasury. Pope Adrian II excommunicated Sergius, and Louis II started a campaign to punish the noble. Athanasius, exhausted by the ill treatment, died at Veroli, near Monte Cassino, Italy, on July 15.


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