Jennifer Barry, Assistant Professor of Religion, has published an article titled “Receptions of Exile: Athanasius of Alexandria’s legacy,” in the collected volume Clerical Exile in Late Antiquity edited by Julia Hillner, Joerg Ulrich and Jakob Engberg. This article is the result of a pre-arranged collaborative project held at the International Patristic Society Conference held at Oxford University, U.K. (July 2015). Barry’s contribution stems from her larger work on clerical exile in late antiquity.
This chapter examines how the stories of Athanasius of Alexandria’s many exiles became a popular literary schema that circulated within pro-Nicene Christian literature during the late fourth and early fifth centuries. I argue that Athanasius’s identity as a triumphant exile quickly became the standard by which subsequent episcopal exiles were measured. Indeed, by the time the Johanite controversy of the fifth century takes shape in and around Constantinople, Athanasius the exile is invoked to bolster support for John Chrysostom’s tarnished reputation as a failed exile. John’s earliest biographers, Ps.-Martyrius and Palladius of Helenopolis, insist that those who question their hero’s orthodoxy are no better than those heretical enemies of the great Athanasius.