Athanasian Principles on Maintaining Conflict and Making Peace
Nathan K. NG

Athanasius has long been a controversial church father. For some scholars, he was a steadfast champion of the Nicene faith. For others, he was an intolerant trouble and conflict maker. In his long Episcopal career, he had to face different challenges. These included the ecclesiastical schism caused by the Melitians, the doctrinal controversy with the Arians, and the withdrawing spirituality of the monastic communities. Athanasius dealt with these crises differently. In some situations, he maintained conflict without any compromise. In others, he tried every effort to make peace.

His model prompts modern church to reconsider the criteria of maintaining conflict and making peace. What are the key elements of Christianity that the church cannot forsake? What differences can be accepted without sacrificing our faith? Besides, a thoughtful ecclesiastical constitution and a healthy management system are also important for preventing unnecessary conflicts. In any case, mutual trust and love in the faith community is the best remedy for solving conflict and promoting peace.