Whilst being pretty ignorant of them all, I am the kind of Christian who has a lot of time for other Christians. Or I try to, anyway. Today I was looking through the Catholic Calendar of Saints (wherein virtually every day of the year is designated as a feast in the honour of a hero of the Faith), and decided to look up my own birthday. It seems that I was born lucky - I pretty much got the best one. This fellow:
This is Athanasius, an Egyptian fellow from the 4th Century. There's a GK Chesterton quote about how 'on five occasions in history the Church has gone to the dogs, but on each occasion, it was the dogs who died.' The first of these near-deaths was when many in the Church decided that they didn't actually believe in Jesus – they thought that he was a creation of God, rather than God himself. This heresy was called Arianism.
Arianism gained a huge influence – successive Emperors and many senior bishops were Arians - and orthodox bishops like Athanasius were banned from doing their jobs. For a period in the mid-300s, it looked like the Church was headed for a future as a kind of Aristotelian Unitarianism. Athanasius was the figurehead of the movement against it, working for half a century to safeguard the doctrine of the Trinity.
Because I don't owe my allegiance to any particular denomination or church body, when Facebook asks for my religion, I put 'Panoramic Trinitarian'. There are a lot of us about, and Athanasius is basically our Godfather. Yay saints' days.