I found it interesting that on the same day that we here in the United States remember one whom we consider to be a prophet and a saint, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the Orthodox church remembers the great Athanasius of Alexandria and Cyril of Alexandria. While for some there may be little or no connection I see a very important one. All three of these men stood against the populist agenda of the day maintaining what they knew to be truth even if the whole world stood against them.

Athanasius stood against the Arian heresy. The Arian heresy maintained that Jesus was the first created being, but not God (much like modern Jehovah’s Witnesses). As more and more people were swayed into this heresy, even emperors who sided with them, Athanasius stood against them. He wrote, he debated, and he won. When it was all said and done we Christians had returned to orthodoxy rightly worshiping Jesus as ‘very God of very God‘.

Cyril stood against the Nestorian heresy. The idea that Jesus could be fully God and fully man was bothersome to Nestorius and his followers. It was proposed that there was a human Jesus and a divine Jesus in one body. Two person in Jesus. Cyril stood with those who rightly argued that Jesus is one unified person with two natures: God and man. The Nestorians faded away; orthodoxy remained.

Finally, Martin Luther King Jr. stood against those who thought one race of people could be superior to another. He reminded us all that we are made in the imago dei and therefore skin color cannot determine the worth of a person. The fight that he fought is one that we are still fighting today.

All three of these men were prophets of God in their day. All three stood for truth against a populist opinion that taught falsehood. Let us remember with Athanasius, Cyril, and King that it is not numbers that determine the truth but the Truth itself.