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Listed 100 (total found 103) sub titles with search on: Religious figures biography  for wider area of: "ALEXANDRIA Airport EGYPT" .

Religious figures biography (103)



Anatolius (Anatolios), Bishop of Laodicea (A. D. 270), was an Alexandrian by birth. Eusebius ranks him first among the men of his age, in literature, philosophy, and science, and states, that the Alexandrians urged him to open a school of Aristotelian philosophy (H. E. vii. 32). He was of great service to the Alexandrians when they were besieged by the Romans, A. D. 262. From Alexandria he went into Syria. At Caesarea he was ordained by Theotechnus, who destined him to be his successor in the bishopric, the duties of which he discharged for a short time as the vicar of Theotechnus. Afterwards, while proceeding to attend a council at Antioch, he was detained by the people of Laodicea, and became their bishop. Of his subsequent life nothing is known; but by some he is said to have suffered martyrdom. He wrote a work on the chronology of Easter, a large fragment of which is preserved by Eusebius. (l. c.) The work exists in a Latin translation, which some ascribe to Rufinus, under the title of "Volumen de Paschate", or "Canones Paschales", and which was published by Aegidius Bucherius in his Doctrina Temnporum, Antverp., 1634. He also wrote a treatise on Arithmetic, in ten books (Hieron. de Vir. Illust. c. 73), of which some fragments are preserved in the Theologoumena tes Arithmetikes. Some fragments of his mathematical works are printed in Fabric. Bib. Graec. iii.


(Aphthonios) of Alexandria is mentioned by Philostorgius (iii. 15) as a learned and eloquent bishop of the Manichacans. He is mentioned as a disciple and commentator of Mani by Photius and Peter of Sicily, and in the form of abjuring Manichaeism. Philostorgius adds, that Aetius had a public disputation with Aphthonius, in which the latter was defeated, and died of grief seven days afterwards.


Georgius. Of Alexandria, the writer of a life of Chrysostom, which has been several times printed (sometimes with a Latin version by Godfrey Tilmann), in editions of the works of Chrysostom. Photius gives an account of the work, but says he could state nothing certain respecting the author. He is styled Bishop of Alexandria, and it is the opinion of those who have examined into the matter that he lived after the commencement of the seventh century. A George was Catholic bishop or patriarch of Alexandria from A. D. 616 to 630, and as no other patriarch appears under that name between A. D. 600 and the time of Photius, he was probably the writer. The life of Chrysostom occupies above a hundred folio pages, in Savile's edit. of Chrysostom (vol. viii.). It abounds in useless and fabulous matter. The writer in his preface professes to have drawn his account from the writings of Palladius and Socrates, and from the oral statements of faithful priests and pious laymen. Oudin ascribes to this writer the compilation of the Chronicon Paschale, but without foundation. (Georgius, Vita Chrys.; Phlot. Bibl. Cod. 96; Fabric. Bibl. Gr. vol. vii., vol. viii., vol. x.; Allatius, Diatrib. de Geory. apud Fabric. Bibl. Gr. vol. xii.; Cave, Hist. Lit. vol. i., ed. Ox. 1740-43.)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Nov 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Gregorius, of Alexandria. The Arian prelates who formed the council of Antioch, A. D. 341, appointed Gregory to the patriarchal see of Alexandria, which they regarded as vacant, though the orthodox patriarch, Athanasius, was in actual possession at the time. They had previously offered the see to Eusebius of Emesa, but he declined accepting it. The history of Gregory previous to this appointment is obscure. He is said to have been a Cappadocian; and some identify him with the person whom Gregory Nazianzen describes as a namesake and countryman of his own, who, after receiving kindness from Athanasius at Alexandria. had joined in spreading the charge against him of murdering Arsenius: it is not unlikely that this Gregory was the person appointed bishop, though Bollandus and Tillemont argue against their identity. His establishment at Alexandria was effected by military force, but Socrates, and Theophanes, who follows him, are probably wrong in making Syrianus commander of that force: he was the agent in establishing Gregory's successor, George of Cappadocia. Athanasius escaped with considerable difficulty, being surprised in the church during divine service.
  Very contradictory accounts are given of the conduct and fate of Gregory. If we may trust the statements of Athanasius, which have been collected by Tillemont, he was a violent persecutor, sharing in the outrages offered to the solitaries, virgins, and ecclesiastics of the Trinitarian party, and sitting on the tribunal by the side of the magistrates by whom the persecution was carried on. That considerable harshness was employed against the orthodox is clear, after making all reasonable deduction from the statements of Athanasius, whose position as a party in the quarrel renders his evidence less trustworthy. The Arians had now the upper hand, and evidently abused their predominance; though it may be judged from an expression of Athanasius (Encyc. ad Episcop. Epistola, c. 3), and from the fact that the orthodox party burnt the church of Dionysius at Alexandria, that their opponents were sufficiently violent. The close of Gregory's episcopate is involved, both as to its time and manner, in some doubt. He was still in possession of the see at the time of the council of Sardica, by which he was declared to be not only no bishop, but no Christian. A. D. 347; but according to Athanasius, he died before the return of that prelate from his second exile, A. D. 349. He held the patriarchate, according to this account, about eight years.
  Socrates and Sozomen agree in stating that he was deposed by the Arian party, apparently about A. D. 354, because he had become unpopular through the burning of the church of Dionysius, and other calamities caused by his appointment, and because he was not strenuous enough in support of his party. The account of Theodoret, which is followed by Theophanes, appears to have originated in some confusion of Gregory with his successor. (Athanasius, Encyc. ad Episcop. Epistola; Histor. Arian. ad Monachos, c. 11-18, 54, 75; Socrat. H. E. ii. 10, 11, 14; Sozom. H. E. iii. 5, 6, 7; Theodoret. H. E. ii. 4, 12; Phot. Bibl. Codd. 257, 258; Philostorg. H. E. ii. 18; Theophanes, Chronog. vol. i., ed. Bonn ; Tillemont, Memoires, vol. viii.)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Nov 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Monks & ascetics


CANOPUS (Ancient city) EGYPT
Ammonius, the monk, flourished A. D. 372. He was one of the Four Great Brothers (so called from their height), disciples of Pambo, the monk of Mt. Nitria (Vitae Patrum, ii. 23). He knew the Bible by heart, and carefully studied Didymus, Origen, and the other ecclesiastical authors. In A. D. 339-341 he accompanied St. Athanasius to Rome. In A. D. 371-3, Peter II. succeeded the latter, and when he fled to Rome from his Arian persecutors, Ammonius retired from Canopus into Palestine. He witnessed the cruelties of the Saracens against the monks of Mount Sinai A. D. 377, and received intelligence of the sufferings of others near the Red Sea. On his return to Egypt, he took up his abode at Memphis, and described these distresses in a book which he wrote in Egyptian. This being found at Naucratis by a priest, named John, was by him translated into Greek, and in that form is extant, in Christi Martyrum Electi triumphi. Ammonius is said to have cut off an ear to avoid promotion to the episcopate (Socr. iv. 23; Pallad. Hist. Laus. c. 12).

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Nov 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


MAREIA (Ancient city) EGYPT
Ammonas or (Amoun, founder of one of the most celebrated monastic communities in Egypt. Obliged by his relations to marry, he persuaded his bride to perpetual continence (Sozom. Hist. Eccl. i. 14) by the authority of St. Paul's Epistle to the Corinthians (Socr. Hist. Eccl. iv. 23). They lived together thus for 18 years, when at her wish, for greater perfection, they parted, and he retired to Scetis and Mt. Nitria, to the south of Lake Mareotis, where he lived 22 years, visiting his sister-wife twice in the year (Ibid. and Pallad. Hist. Laus. c. 7; Ruffin. Vit.Patr. c. 29). He died before St. Antony (from whom there is an epistle to him), i. e. before A. D. 365, for the latter asserted that he beheld the soul of Amoun borne by angels to heaven (Vit. S. Antonii a S. Athanas. 60), and as St. Athanasius's history of St. Antony preserves the order of time, he died perhaps about A. D. 320. There are seventeen or nineteen Rules of Asceticism (kephalaia) ascribed to him; the Greek original exists in MS.; they are published in the Latin version of Gerhard Vossius in the Biblioth. PP. Ascetica, Paris. 1661. Twtenty-two Ascetic Institutions of the same Amoun, or one bearing the same name, exist also in MS.

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Nov 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Maximus, (Bishop of Constantinople, 380)


St. Athanasius the Great

, , 295 - 373
  Bishop of Alexandria; Confessor and Doctor of the Church; born c. 296; died 2 May, 373. Athanasius was the greatest champion of Catholic belief on the subject of the Incarnation that the Church has ever known and in his lifetime earned the characteristic title of “Father of Orthodoxy”, by which he has been distinguished ever since.
  While the chronology of his career still remains for the most part a hopelessly involved problem, the fullest material for an account of the main achievements of his life will be found in his collected writings and in the contemporary records of his time. He was born, it would seem, in Alexandria, most probably between the years 296 and 298. It is impossible to speak more than conjecturally of his family. Of the claim that it was both prominent and well-to-do, we can only observe that the tradition to the effect is not contradicted by such scanty details as can be gleaned from the saint's writings. Those writings undoubtedly betray evidences of the sort of education that was given, for the most part, only to children and youths of a better class. But Athanasius was one of those rare personalities that derive incomparably more from their own native gifts of intellect and character than from the fortuitousness of descent or environment.
  His career almost personifies a crisis in the history of Christianity; and he may be said rather to have shaped the events in which he took part than to have been shaped by them. Yet it would be misleading to urge that he was in no notable sense a debtor to the time and place of his birth. The Alexandria of his boyhood was an epitome, intellectually, morally, and politically, of that ethnically many-coloured Graeco-Roman world, over which the Church of the fourth and fifth centuries was beginning at last, to realize its supremacy. It was, moreover, the most important centre of trade in the whole empire; and its primacy as an emporium of ideas was more commanding than that of Rome or Constantinople, Antioch or Marseilles.
  To have been born and brought up in such an atmosphere of philosophizing Christianity was, in spite of the dangers it involved, the timeliest and most liberal of educations; and there is abundant evidence in the saint's writings to testify to the ready response which all the better influences of the place must have found in the heart and mind of the growing boy. Athanasius seems to have been brought early in life under the immediate supervision of the ecclesiastical authorities of his native city. Sozomen speaks of his “fitness for the priesthood”, and calls attention to the significant circumstance that he was “from his tenderest years practically self-taught”. “Not long after this,” adds the same authority, the Bishop Alexander “invited Athanasius to be his commensal and secretary. He had been well educated and had already, while still a young man, given proof to those who dwelt with him of his wisdom and acumen”. While still a levite under Alexander's care, he seems to have been brought for a while into close relations with some of the solitaries of the Egyptian desert, and in particular with the great St. Anthony, whose life he is said to have written. It is impossible to deny that the monastic idea appealed powerfully to the young cleric's temperament.
  He had a ready wit, was quick in intuition, easy and affable in manner, pleasant in conversation, keen, and, perhaps, somewhat too unsparing in debate. In addition to these qualities, he was conspicuous for two others to which even his enemies bore unwilling testimony. He was endowed with a sense of humour that could be as mordant as it seems to have been spontaneous and unfailing; and his courage was of the sort that never falters, even in the most disheartening hour of defeat. He was by instinct neither a liberal nor a conservative in theology.
  From first to last he cared greatly for one thing and one thing only; the integrity of his Catholic creed. The religion it engendered in him was obviously of a passionate and consuming sort. It began and ended in devotion to the Divinity of Jesus Christ. He was scarcely out of his teens, and certainly not in more than deacon's orders, when he published two treatises, in which his mind seemed to strike the key-note of all its riper after-utterances on the subject of the Catholic Faith. The “Contra Gentes” and the “Oratio de Incarnatione” were written some time between the years 318 and 323. As a plea for the Christian position, addressed chiefly to both Gentiles and Jews, the young deacon's apology is strongly individual and almost pietistic in tone.Though it deals with the Incarnation, it is silent on most of those ulterior problems in defence of which Athanasius was soon to be summoned by the force of events and the fervour of his own faith to devote the best energies of his life.
  Arius was at length deposed in a synod consisting of more than one hundred bishops of Egypt and Libya. The condemned heresiarch withdrew first to Palestine and afterwards to Bithynia, where, under the protection of Eusebius of Nicomedia and his other “Collucianists”, he was able to increase his already remarkable influence, while his friends were endeavouring to prepare a way for his forcible reinstatement as priest of the Alexandrian Church. Athanasius, though only in deacon's order, must have taken no subordinate part in these events. He was the trusted secretary and advisor of Alexander, and his name appears in the list of those who signed the encyclical letter subsequently issued by the primate and his colleagues to offset the growing prestige of the new teaching, and the momentum it was beginning to acquire from the ostentatious patronage extended to the deposed Arius by the Eusebian faction. Indeed, it is to this party and to the leverage it was able to exercise at the emperor's court that the subsequent importance of Arianism as a political, rather than a religious, movement seems primarily to be due.
  It is Athanasius' peculiar merit that he not only saw the drift of things from the very beginning, but was confident of the issue down to the last. His insight and courage proved almost as efficient a bulwark to the Christian Church in the world as did his singularly lucid grasp of traditional Catholic belief. His opportunity came in the year 325, when the Emperor Constantine, in the hope of putting an end to the scandalous debates that were disturbing the peace of the Church, met the prelates of the entire Catholic world in council at Nicaea. The great council convoked at this juncture was something more than a pivotal event in the history of Christianity. Its sudden, and, in one sense, almost unpremeditated adoption of a quasi-philosophic and non-Scriptural term -- homoousion -- to express the character of orthodox belief in the Person of the historic Christ, by defining Him to be identical in substance, or co-essential, with the Father, had consequences of the gravest import, not only to the world of ideas, but to the world of politics as well. Athanasius, though not yet in priest's orders, accompanied Alexander to the council in the character of secretary and theological adviser. He was not, of course, the originator of the famous homoousion. His writings, composed during the forty-six critical years of his episcopate, show a very sparing use of the word; but Athanasius, in common with the leaders of the orthodox party, loyally accepted the term as expressive of the traditional sense in which the Church had always held Jesus Christ to be the Son of God.
  Five months after the close of the council the Primate of Alexandria died; and Athanasius, quite as much in recognition of his talent, as in deference to the death-bed wishes of the deceased prelate, was chosen to succeed him. His election, in spite of his extreme youth and the opposition of a remnant of the Arian and Meletian factions in the Alexandrian Church, was welcomed by all classes among the laity.
  The opening years of the saint's rule were occupied with the wonted episcopal routine of a fourth-century Egyptian bishop. But Eusebius of Nicomedia, who had fallen into disgrace and been banished by the Emperor Constantine for his part in the earlier Arian controversies, had been recalled from exile. After an adroit campaign of intrigue, this smooth-mannered prelate so far prevailed over Constantine as to induce him to order the recall of Arius likewise from exile. These events must have happened some time about the close of the year 330. Finally the emperor himself was persuaded to write to Athanasius, urging that all those who were ready to submit to the definitions of Nicaea should be re-admitted to ecclesiastical communion. This Athanasius stoutly refused to do, alleging that there could be no fellowship between the Church and the one who denied the Divinity of Christ.
  The Bishop of Nicomedia thereupon brought various ecclesiastical and political charges against Athanasius, which, though unmistakably refuted at their first hearing, were afterwards refurbished and made to do service at nearly every stage of his subsequent trials. Four of these were very definite, to wit: that he had not reached the canonical age at the time of his consecration; that he had imposed a linen tax upon the provinces; that his officers had, with his connivance and authority, profaned the Sacred Mysteries in the case of an alleged priest names Ischyras; and lastly that he had put one Arenius to death and afterwards dismembered the body for purposes of magic. Summoned by the emperor's order after protracted delays extended over a period of thirty months, Athanasius finally consented to meet the charges brought against him by appearing before a synod of prelates at Tyre in the year 335. Fifty of his suffragans went with him to vindicate his good name; but the complexion of the ruling party in the synod made it evident that justice to the accused was the last thing that was thought of. He, therefore, suddenly withdrew from Tyre, escaping in a boat with some faithful friends who accompanied him to Byzantium, where he had made up his mind to present himself to the emperor.
  Constantine was returning from a hunt, when Athanasius unexpectedly stepped into the middle of the road and demanded a hearing. The astonished emperor could hardly believe his eyes. “Give me”, said the prelate, “a just tribunal, or allow me to meet my accusers face to face in your presence.” His request was granted. An order was peremptorily sent to the bishops, who had tried Athanasius and, of course, condemned him in his absence, to repair at once to the imperial city. The command reached them while they were on their way to the great feast of the dedication of Constantine's new church at Jerusalem. The saint was taken at his word; and the old charges were renewed in the hearing of the emperor himself. Athanasius was condemned to go into exile at Treves, where he was received with the utmost kindness by the saintly Bishop Maximinus and the emperor's eldest son, Constantine. His exile lasted nearly two years and a half. Public opinion in his own diocese remained loyal to him during all that time.
  Meanwhile events of the greatest importance had taken place. Arius had died in 336; and the death of Constantine himself had followed, on the 22nd of May the year after. Some three weeks later the younger Constantine invited the exiled primate to return to his see; and by the end of November of the same year Athanasius was once more established in his Episcopal city. His return was the occasion of great rejoicing. But already trouble was brewing in a quarter from which the saint might reasonably have expected it. The Eusebian faction managed to win over to their side the weak-minded Emperor Constantius. The old charges were refurbished with a graver ecclesiastical accusation added by way of rider. Athanasius had ignored the decision of a duly authorized synod. He had returned to his see without the summons of ecclesiastical authority. In the year 340, the notorious Gregory of Cappadocia was forcibly intruded into the Alexandrian See, and Athanasius was obliged to go into hiding.
  Within a very few weeks he set out for Rome to lay his case before the Church at large. He had made his appeal to Pope Julius. The pope summoned a synod of bishops to meet in Rome. After a careful and detailed examination of the entire case, the primate's innocence was proclaimed to the Christian world. Meanwhile the Eusebian party had met at Antioch and passed a series of decrees framed for the sole purpose of preventing the saint's return to his see. Three years were passed at Rome, during which time the idea of the cenobitical life, as Athanasius had seen it practised in the deserts of Egypt, was preached to the clerics of the West. Two years after the Roman synod had published its decision, Athanasius was summoned to Milan by the Emperor Constans, who laid before him the plan which Constantius had formed for a great reunion of both the Eastern and Western Churches. Now began a time of extraordinary activity for the Saint. Early in the year 343 we find the undaunted exile in Gaul, whither he had gone to consult the saintly Hosius, the great champion of orthodoxy in the West. The two together set out for the Council of Sardica which had been summoned in deference to the Roman pontiff's wishes. At this great gathering of prelates the case of Athanasius was taken up once more; and once more was his innocence reaffirmed. Two conciliar letters were prepared, one to the clergy and faithful of Alexandria, and the other to the bishops of Egypt and Libya, in which the will of the Council was made known. The persecution against the orthodox party broke out with renewed vigour, and Constantius was induced to prepare drastic measures against Athanasius and the priests who were devoted to him. Athanasius withdrew from Sardica to Naissus in Mysia. After that he set out for Aquileia in obedience to a friendly summons from Constans, to whom Italy had fallen in the division of the empire that followed on the death of Constantine.
  Meanwhile an unexpected event had taken place. Gregory of Cappadocia had died (probably of violence) in June, 345. The embassy which had been sent by the bishops of Sardica to the Emperor Constantius, and which had at first met with the most insulting treatment, now received a favourable hearing. Constantius was induced to reconsider his decision, and he made up his mind to yield. But three separate letters were needed to overcome the natural hesitation of Athanasius. He passed rapidly from Aquileia to Adrianople and Antioch, where he met Constantius. He was sent back to his see in triumph, where he began his memorable ten years' reign, which lasted down to the third exile, that of 356. These were full years in the life of the Bishop; but the intrigues of the Eusebian party were soon renewed. Pope Julius had died in April, 352, and Liberius had succeeded him as Sovereign Pontiff. For two years Liberius had been favourable to the cause of Athanasius; but driven at last into exile, he was induced to sign an ambiguous formula, from which the great Nicene test, the homoousion, had been studiously omitted.
  In 355 a council was held at Milan, where in spite of the vigorous opposition of a handful of loyal prelates among the Western bishops, a fourth condemnation of Athanasius was announced to the world. On the night of 8 February, 356, while engaged in services in the Church of St. Thomas, a band of armed men burst in to secure his arrest. It was the beginning of his third exile. Through the influence of the Eusebian faction at Constantinople, an Arian bishop, George of Cappadocia, was now appointed to rule the see of Alexandria. Athanasius withdrew into the deserts of upper Egypt, where he remained for a period of six years, living the life of the monks and devoting himself in his enforced leisure to the composition of that group of writings of which we have the rest in the “Apology to Constantius”, the “Apology for his Flight”, the “Letter to the Monks”, and the “History of the Arians”. But by the close of the year 360 a charge was apparent in the complexion of the anti-Nicene party. The Arians no longer presented an unbroken front to their orthodox opponents. The Emperor Constantius, who had been the cause of so much trouble, died 4 November, 361, and was succeeded by Julian. The proclamation of the new prince's accession was the signal for a pagan outbreak against the still dominant Arian faction in Alexandria. An edict had been put forth by Julian permitting the exiled bishops of the “Galileans” to return to their “towns and provinces”. Athanasius received a summons from his own flock, and he accordingly re-entered his episcopal capital 22 February, 362.
  With characteristic energy he set to work to re-establish the somewhat shattered fortunes of the orthodox party and to purge the theological atmosphere of uncertainty. To clear up the misunderstandings that had arisen in the course of the previous years, an attempt was made to determine still further the significance of the Nicene formularies. In the meanwhile, Julian, who seems to have become suddenly jealous of the influence that Athanasius was exercising at Alexandria, addressed an order to the Prefect of Egypt, peremptorily commanding the expulsion of the restored primate, on the ground that he had never been included in the imperial act of clemency. On 23 October the people gathered about the proscribed bishop to protest against the emperor's decree; but the saint urged them to submit, consoling them with the promise that his absence would be of short duration. The prophecy was curiously fulfilled. Julian terminated his brief career 26 June, 363; and Athanasius returned in secret to Alexandria, where he soon received a document from the new emperor, Jovian, reinstating him once more in his episcopal functions. His first act was to convene a council which reaffirmed the terms of the Nicene Creed.
  Early in September he set out for Antioch, bearing a synodal letter, in which the pronouncements of this council had been embodied. At Antioch he had an interview with the new emperor, who received him graciously and even asked him to prepare an exposition of the orthodox faith. But in the following February Jovian died; and in October, 364, Athanasius was once more an exile. The accession of the emperor gave a fresh lease of life to the Arian party. He issued a decree banishing the bishops who had been deposed by Constantius, but who had been permitted by Jovian to return to their sees. The news created the greatest consternation in the city of Alexandria itself, and the prefect, in order to prevent a serious outbreak, gave public assurance that the very special case of Athanasius would be laid before the emperor. But the saint seems to have divined what was preparing in secret against him. He quietly withdrew from Alexandria, 5 October, and took up his abode in a country house outside the city. Valens, who seems to have sincerely dreaded the possible consequences of a popular outbreak, gave order within a very few weeks for the return of Athanasius to his see. He spent his remaining days, characteristically enough, in reemphasizing the view of the Incarnation which had been defined at Nicaea and which has been substantially the faith of the Christian Church.
  By one of those inexplicable ironies that meet us everywhere in human history, this man, who had endured exile so often, and risked life itself in defence of what he believed to be the first and most essential truth of the Catholic creed, died not by violence or in hiding, but peacefully in his own bed, surrounded by his clergy and mourned by the faithful of the see he had served so well.

Cornelius Clifford, ed.
Transcribed by: David Joyce
This extract is cited May 2003 from The Catholic Encyclopedia, New Advent online edition URL below.

Athanasius, (Athanasios). A Christian bishop of the fourth century. He was a native of Egypt, and a deacon of the Church of Alexandria under Alexander the Bishop, whom he succeeded in his dignity A.D. 326. Previous to his obtaining this high office he had been private secretary to Alexander, and had also led for some time an ascetic life with the renowned St. Anthony. Alexander had also taken him to the council at Nice, where he gained the highest esteem of the fathers by the talent which he displayed in the Arian controversy. He had a great share in the decrees passed here, and thereby drew on himself the hatred of the Arians. On his advancement to the prelacy he dedicated all his time and talents to the doctrine of the Trinity, and resolutely refused the request of Constantine for the restoration of Arius to the Catholic communion. In revenge for this refusal, the Arian party brought several accusations against him before the emperor. Of these he was acquitted in the first instance; but, on a new charge of having detained ships at Alexandria, laden with corn for Constantinople, either from conviction or policy, he was found guilty and banished to Gaul. Here he remained in exile eighteen months, or, as some accounts say, upwards of two years, his see in the meantime being unoccupied.
    On the death of Constantine he was recalled, and restored to his functions by Constantius; but the Arian party made new complaints against him, and he was condemned by 90 Arian bishops assembled at Antioch. On the opposite side, 100 orthodox bishops, assembled at Alexandria, declared him innocent; and Pope Iulius confirmed this finding, in conjunction with more than 300 bishops assembled at Sardis from the East and West. In consequence of this, he returned a second time to his diocese. But when Constans, emperor of the West, died, and Constantius became master of the whole Empire, the Arians again ventured to rise up against Athanasius. They condemned him in the councils of Arles and Milan, and, as the worthy patriarch refused to listen to anything but an express command of the emperor, when he was one day preparing to celebrate a festival in the church, a body of soldiers suddenly rushed in to make him prisoner. The surrounding priests and monks, however, placed him in security. Athanasius, displaced for a third time, fled into the deserts of Egypt. His enemies pursued him even here, and set a price on his head. To relieve the hermits, who dwelt in these solitary places and who would not betray his retreat, from suffering on his account, he went into those parts of the desert which were entirely uninhabited. He was followed by a faithful servant, who, at the risk of his life, supplied him with the means of subsistence. In this undisturbed spot Athanasius composed many writings, full of eloquence, to strengthen the faith of the believers or expose the falsehoods of his enemies. When Julian the Apostate ascended the throne, he allowed the orthodox bishops to return to their churches. Athanasius, therefore, returned after an absence of six years. The mildness which he exercised towards his enemies was imitated in Gaul, Spain, Italy, and Greece, and restored peace to the Church. But this peace was interrupted by the complaints of the heathen, whose temples the zeal of Athanasius kept always empty. They excited the emperor against him, and he was obliged to fly to the Thebais to save his life. The death of the emperor and the accession of Jovian again brought him back; but on Valens becoming emperor eight months after, and the Arians recovering their superiority, he was once more compelled to fly. He concealed himself in the tomb of his father, where he remained four months, until Valens, moved by the pressing entreaties and threats of the Alexandrians, allowed him to return. From this period he remained undisturbed in his office until he died, in A.D. 373.
    Of the forty-six years of his official life, he spent twenty in banishment, and the greater part of the remainder in defending the Nicene Creed. Athanasius is one of the greatest men of which the Church can boast. His deep mind, his noble heart, his invincible courage, his living faith, his unbounded benevolence, sincere humility, lofty eloquence, and strictly virtuous life, gained the honour and love of all. His writings are on polemical, historical, and moral subjects. The polemical treat chiefly of the doctrines of the Trinity, the incarnation of Christ, and the divinity of the Holy Spirit. The historical ones are of the greatest importance for the history of the Church. In all his writings the style is distinguished, considering the age in which they were produced, for clearness and moderation. His apology, addressed to the emperor Constantine, is a masterpiece. The creed which bears his name is now generally allowed not to have been his. It was first printed in Greek in 1540, and several times afterwards to 1671. It has been questioned whether this creed was ever received by the Greek and Oriental Churches.

This text is from: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. Cited Nov 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

St. Athanasius (Athanasios), archbishop of Alexandria, was born in that city, a few years before the close of the third century. The date of his birth cannot be ascertained with exactness; but it is assigned by Montfaucon, on grounds sufficiently probable, to A. D. 296. No particulars are recorded of the lineage or the parents of Athanasius. The dawn of his character and genius seems to have given fair promise of his subsequent eminence; for Alexander, then primate of Egypt, brought him up in his own family, and superintended his education with the view of dedicating him to the Christian ministry. We have no account of the studies pursued by Athanasius in his youth, except the vague statement of Gregory Nazianzen, that he devoted comparatively little attention to general literature, but acquired an extraordinary knowledge of the Scriptures. His early proficiency in Biblical knowledge is credible enough; but though he was much inferior in general learning to such men as Clemens Alexandrinus, Origen, and Eusebius, his Oration against the Greeks, itself a juvenile performance, evinces no contemptible acquaintance with the literature of heathen mythology. While a young man, Athanasius frequently visited the celebrated hermit St. Antony, of whom he eventually became the biographer; and this early acquaintance laid the foundation of a friendship which was interrupted only by the death of the aged recluse. At what age Athanasius was ordained a deacon is nowhere stated; but he was young both in years and in office when he vigorously supported Alexander in maintaining the orthodox faith against the earliest assaults of the Arians. He was still only a deacon when appointed a member of the famous council of Nice (A. D. 325), in which he distinguished himself as an able opponent of the Arian doctrine, and assisted in drawing up the creed that takes its name from that assembly.
  In the following year Alexander died; and Athanasius, whom he had strongly recommended as his successor, was raised to the vacant see of Alexandria, the voice of the people as well as the suffrages of the ecclesiastics being decisively in his favour. The manner in which he discharged the duties of his new office was highly exemplary; but he had not long enjoyed his elevation, before he encountered the commencement of that long series of trials which darkened the eventful remainder of his life. About the year 331, Arius, who had been banished by Constantine after the condemnation of his doctrine by the council of Nice, made a professed submission to the Catholic faith, which satisfied the emperor; and shortly after, Athanasius received an imperial order to admit the heresiarch once more into the church of Alexandria. The archbishop had the courage to disobey, and justified his conduct in a letter which seems, at the time, to have been satisfactory to Constantine. Soon after this, complaints were lodged against Athanasius by certain enemies of his, belonging to the obscure sect of the Meletians. One of the charges involved nothing short of high treason. Others related to acts of sacrilege alleged to have been committed in a church where a priest named Ischyras or Ischyrion officiated. It was averred that Macarius, a priest acting under the orders of Athanasius, had forcibly entered this church while Ischyras was performing divine service, had broken one of the consecrated chalices, overturned the communion-table, burned the sacred books, demolished the pulpit, and razed the edifice to its foundations. Athanasius made his defence before the emperor in person, and was honourably acquitted. With regard to the pretended acts of sacrilege, it was proved that Ischyras had never received regular orders; that, in consequence of his unduly assuming the priestly office, Athanasius in one of his episcopal visitations had sent Macarius and another ecclesiastic to inquire into the matter; that these had found Ischyras ill in bed, and had contented themselves with advising his father to dissuade him from all such irregularities for the future. Ischyras himself afterwards confessed with tears the groundlessness of the charges preferred against Macarius; and gave Athanasius a written disavowal of them, signed by six priests and seven deacons. Notwithstanding these proofs of the primate's innocence, his enemies renewed their attack in an aggravated form; accusing Athanasius himself of the acts previously imputed to Macarius, and charging him moreover with the murder of Arsenius, bishop of Hypselis in Upper Egypt. To give colour to this latter accusation Arsenius absconded, and lay concealed for a considerable time. The emperor before whom the charges were laid, already knew that those relating to Ischyras were utterly unfounded. He referred it to his brother Dalmatius, the Censor, to inquire into the alleged murder of Arsenius. Dalmatius wrote to Athanasius, commanding him to prepare his defence. The primate was at first inclined to leave so monstrous a calumny to its own fate; but finding that the anger of the emperor had been excited against him, he instituted an active search after Arsenius, and in the end learned that he had been discovered and identified at Tyre. The Arians meanwhile had urged the convention of a council at Caesareia, for the purpose of inquiring into the crimes imputed to Athanasius. But he, unwilling to trust his cause to such a tribunal, sent to the emperor a full account of the exposure of the pretended homicide. On this, Constantine ordered Dalmatius to stay all proceedings against Athanasius, and commanded the Arian bishops, instead of holding their intended synod at Caesareia, to return home.
  Undeterred by this failure, the enemies of Athanasius, two years after, prevailed upon Constantine to summon a council at Tyre, in which they repeated the old accusations concerning Ischyras and Arsenius, and urged new matter of crimination. The pretended sacrilege in the church of Ischyras was disproved by the bishops who were present from Egypt. The murder of Arsenius was satisfactorily disposed of by producing the man himself alive and well, in the midst of the council. The adversaries of the primate succeeded, however, in appointing a commission to visit Egypt and take cognizance of the matters laid to his charge. The proceedings of this commission are described by Athanasius as having been in the highest degree corrupt, iniquitous, and disorderly. On the return of the commissioners to Tyre, whence Athanasius had meanwhile withdrawn, the council deposed him from his office, interdicted him from visiting Alexandria, and sent copies of his sentence to all the bishops in the Christian world, forbidding them to receive him into their communion. On a calm review of all the proceedings in this case, it seems impossible to doubt that the condemnation of Athanasius was flagrantly unjust, and was entirely provoked by his uncompromising opposition to the tenets of the Arians, who had secured a majority in the council. Undismayed by the triumph of his enemies, the deposed archbishop returned to Tyre, and presenting himself before Constantine as he was entering the city, entreated the emperor to do him justice. His prayer was so far granted as that his accusers were summoned to confront him in the imperial presence. On this, they abandoned their previous grounds of attack, and accused him of having threatened to prevent the exportation of corn from Alexandria to Constantinople. It would seem that the emperor was peculiarly sensitive on this point; for, notwithstanding the intrinsic improbability of the charge, and the earnest denials of Athanasius, the good prelate was banished by Constantine to Gaul. It is not unlikely that, when the heat of his indignation had subsided, Constantine felt the sentence to be too rigorous; for he prohibited the filling up of the vacant see, and declared that his motive in banishing the primate was to remove him from the machinations of his enemies. Athanasius went to Treves (A. D. 336), where he was not only received with kindness by Maximinus, the bishop of that city, but loaded with favours by Constantine the Younger. The Alexandrians petitioned the emperor to restore their spiritual father, and Antony the hermit joined in the request; but the appeal was unsuccessful.
  In the year 337, Constantine died. In the following year, Athanasius was replaced in his see by Constantine II. He was received by the clergy and the people with the liveliest demonstrations of joy. But he had scarcely resumed the dignities and duties of his office, when the persevering hostility of his Arian opponents began to disturb him afresh. They succeeded in prejudicing the mind of Constantius against him, and in a council held at Antioch proceeded to the length of appointing Pistus archbishop of Alexandria. To counteract their movements, Athanasius convoked a council at Alexandria, in which a document was prepared setting forth the wrongs committed by the adverse party, and vindicating the character of the Egyptian primate. Both parties submitted their statements to Julius, the bishop of Rome, who signified his intention of bringing them together, in order that the case might be thoroughly investigated. To this proposition Athanasius assented. The Arians refused to comply. In the year 340, Constantine the Younger was slain; and in him Athanasius seems to have lost a powerful and zealous friend. In the very next year, the Arian bishops convened a council at Antioch, in which they condemned Athanasius for resuming his office while the sentence of deposition pronounced by the council of Tyre was still unrepealed. They accused him of disorderly and violent proceedings on his return to Alexandria, and even revived the old exploded stories about the broken chalice and the murder of Arsenius. They concluded by appointing Eusebius Emisenus to the archbishopric of Alexandria; and when he declined the dubious honour, Gregory of Cappadocia was advanced in his stead. The new primate entered on his office (A. D. 341) amidst scenes of atrocious violence. The Christian population of Alexandria were loud in their complaints against the removal of Athanasius; and Philagrius the prefect of Egypt, who had been sent with Gregory to establish him in his new office, let loose against them a crowd of ferocious assailants, who committed the most frightful excesses. Athanasius fled to Rome, and addressed to the bishops of every Christian church an energetic epistle, in which he details the cruel injuries inflicted upon himself and his people, and entreats the aid of all his brethren. At Rome he was honourably received by Julius, who despatched messengers to the ecclesiastical opponents of Athanasius, summoning them to a council to be held in the imperial city. Apparently in dread of exposure and condemnation, they refused to comply with the summons. When the council met (A. D. 342), Athanasius was heard in his own vindication, and honourably restored to the communion of the church. A synodical letter was addressed by the council to the Arian clergy, severely reproving them for their disobedience to the summons of Julius and their unrighteous conduct to the church of Alexandria.
  In the year 347, a council was held at Sardica, at which the Arians at first designed to attend. They insisted, however, that Athanasius and all whom they had condemned should be excluded. As it was the great object of this council to decide upon the merits of that very case, the proposition was of course resisted, and the Arians left the assembly. The council, after due investigation, affirmed the innocence of those whom the Arians had deposed, restored them to their offices, and condemned their adversaries. Synodical epistles, exhibiting the decrees of the council, were duly prepared and issued. Delegates were sent to the emperor Constantius at Antioch, to notify the decision of the council of Sardica; and they were also entrusted with a letter from Constans to his brother, in which the cause of the orthodox clergy was strongly recommended. At Antioch an infamous plot was laid to blast the reputation of the delegates. Its detection seems to have wrought powerfully upon the mind of Constantius, who had previously supported the Arians; for he recalled those of the orthodox whom he had banished, and sent letters to Alexandria forbidding any further molestation to be offered to the friends of Athanasius.
  In the following year (A. D. 349), Gregory was murdered at Alexandria; but of the occasion and manner of his death no particulars have reached us. It prepared the way for the return of Athanasius. He was urged to this by Constantius himself, whom he visited on his way to Alexandria, and on whom he made, for the time, a very favourable impression. He was once more received at Alexandria with overflowing signs of gladness and affection. Restored to his see, he immediately proceeded against the Arians with great vigour, and they, on their side, renewed against him the charges which had been so often disproved. Constans, the friend of Athanasius, was now dead; and though Constantius, at this juncture, professed great friendliness for the primate, he soon attached himself once more to the Arian party. In a council held at Arles (A. D. 353), and another at Milan (A. D. 355), they succeeded by great exertions in procuring [p. 396] the condemnation of Athanasius. On the latter occasion, the whole weight of the imperial authority was thrown into the scale against him; and those of the bishops who resolutely vindicated his cause were punished with exile. Among these (though his banishment occurred some time after the synod of Milan had closed) was Liberius, bishop of Rome. Persecution was widely directed against those who sided with Athanasius; and he himself, after some abortive attempts to remove him in a more quiet manner, was obliged once more to flee from Alexandria in the midst of dreadful atrocities committed by Syrianus, a creature of the emperor's. The primate retired to the Egyptian deserts, whence he wrote a pastoral address to his persecuted flock, to comfort and strengthen them amidst their trials. His enemies meanwhile had appointed to the vacant primacy one George of Cappadocia, an illiterate man, whose moral character was far from blameless. The new archbishop commenced a ruthless persecution against the orthodox, which seems to have continued, with greater or less severity, during the whole of his ecclesiastical administration. The banished primate was affectionately entertained in the monastic retreats which had already begun to multiply in the deserts of Egypt; and he employed his leisure in composing some of his principal works. His place of retreat was diligently sought for by his enemies; but, through his own activity and the unswerving fidelity of his friends, the monks, the search was always unsuccessful. In the year 361, Constantius, the great patron of the Arians, expired. He was succeeded by Julian, commonly called the Apostate, who, at the commencement of his reign, ordered the restoration of the bishops banished by Constantius. This was rendered the easier in the case of Athanasius, inasmuch as George the Cappadocian was slain, at that very juncture, in a tumult raised by the heathen population of the city. Once more reinstated in his office, amidst the joyful acclamations of his friends, Athanasius behaved with lenity towards his humbled opponents, while he vigorously addressed himself to the restoration of ecclesiastical order and sound doctrine. But, after all his reverses, he was again to be driven from his charge, and again to return to it in triumph. The heathens of Alexandria complained against him to the emperor, for no other reason, it would seem, than his successful zeal in extending the Christian faith. Julian was probably aware that the superstition he was bent upon re-establishing had no enemy more formidable than the thrice-exiled archbishop: he therefore banished him not only from Alexandria, but from Egypt itself, threatening the prefect of that country with a heavy fine if the sentence were not carried into execution. Theodoret, indeed, affirms, that Julian gave secret orders for inflicting the last penalties of the law upon the hated prelate. He escaped, however, to the desert (A. D. 362), having predicted that this calamity would be but of brief duration; and after a few months' concealment in the monasteries, he returned to Alexandria on receiving intelligence of the death of Julian.
  By Jovian, who succeeded to the throne of the empire, Athanasius was held in high esteem. When, therefore, his inveterate enemies endeavoured to persuade the emperor to depose him, they were repeatedly repulsed, and that with no little asperity. The speedy demise of Jovian again deprived Athanasius of a powerful protector. During the first three years of the administration of Valens, the orthodox party seem to have been exempt from annoyance. In this interval Athanasius wrote the life of St. Antony, and two treatises on the doctrine of the Trinity. In the year 367, Valens issued an edict for the deposition and banishment of all those bishops who had returned to their sees at the death of Constantius. After a delay occasioned by the importunate prayers of the people on behalf of their beloved teacher, Athanasius was for the fifth time expelled from Alexandria. His last exile, however, was short. In the space of a few months, he was recalled by Valens himself, for reasons which it is now impossible to penetrate; and from this time to the date of his death, A. D. 373, he seems to have remained unmolested. He continued to discharge the laborious duties of his office with unabated energy to the last; and after holding the primacy for a term of forty-six years, during which he sustained unexampled reverses with heroic fortitude, and prosecuted the great purpose of his life with singular sagacity and resolution, he died without a blemish upon his name, full of years and covered with honour.
  The following eulogium was extorted by his merits from the pen of an historian who seldom lavishes praise upon ancient or modern defenders of orthodoxy : "Amidst the storms of persecution, the Archbishop of Alexandria was patient of labour, jealous of fame, careless of safety; and though his mind was tainted by the contagion of fanaticism, Athanasius displayed a superiority of character and abilities, which would have qualified him, far better than the degenerate sons of Constantine, for the government of a great monarchy. His learning was much less profound and extensive than that of Eusebius of Caesarea, and his rude eloquence could not be compared with the polished oratory of Gregory or Basil; but whenever the primate of Egypt was called upon to justify his sentiments or his conduct, his unpremeditated style, either of speaking or writing, was clear, forcible, and persuasive". Erasmus's opinion of the style of Athanasius seems to us more just and discriminating than Gibbon's : "Erat vir ille saeculo tranquillissimo dignus, dedisset nobis egregios ingenii facundiaeque suae fructus. Habebat enim vere dotem illam, quam Paulus in Episcopo putat esse prae-cipuaimi, to didaktikon; adeo dilucidus est, acutus, sobrius, adtentus, breviter omnibus modis ad docendum appositus. Nihil habet durumn, quod offendit in Tertulliano: nihil epideiktikon, quod vidimus in Hieronymo; nihil operosum, quod in Hilario: nihil laciniosum, quod est in Augustino, atque etiam Chrysostomo: nihil Isocraticos numeros, aut Lysiae compositionem redolens, quod est in Gregorio Nazianzeno: sed totus est in explicanda re".
  The most important among the works of Athanasius are the following: Oratio contra Gentes, Oratio de Incarnatione, Encyclica ad Episcopos Epistola, Apologia contra Arianos, Epistola de Nicaenis Decretis, Epistola ad Episcopos Aegypti et Libyae, Apologia ad Imperatorem Constantium, Apologia de Fuga sua, Historia Arianorum ad Monachos, Orationes quatuor contra Arianos, Epistolae quatuor ad Serapionem, Epistola de Synodis Arimini et Seleuciae, Vita Antonii, Liber de Incarnatione Dei Verbi et c. Arianos.
  The earliest edition of the collected works of Athanasius appeared at Heidelberg, A. D. 1600. The Greek text was accompanied by the Latin version of Peter Nanning (Nannius); and in the following year an appendix issued from the same press, containing notes, various readings, indices, &c., by Peter Felckmann. Those who purchase this edition should take care that their copies contain the appendix. The Paris edition of 1627, and the Leipzig of 1686 (which professes, but untruly, to have been published at Cologne), are not held in much estimation; and the latter is very inaccurately printed. The valuable Benedictine edition of Athanasius was published at Paris, A. D. 1698. The learned editor, Montfaucon, was at first assisted in preparing it by James Loppinus; but his coadjutor dying when no more than half of the first volume was finished, the honour of completing the edition devolved upon Montfaucon. Many of the opuscula of Athanasius were printed, for the first time, in the second volume of Montfaucon's " Collectio Nova Patrum et Scriptorum Graecorum," Paris, A. D. 1706. The most complete edition of the works of Athanasius is that published at Padua, A. D. 1777.

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Oct 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

St. Alexander of Alexandria

St. Alexander. Patriarch of Alexandria, date of birth uncertain; died 17 April, 326.
  He is, apart from his own greatness, prominent by the fact that his appointment to the patriarchial see excluded the heresiarch Arius from that post. When Achillas died Alexander was elected, and after that Arius threw off all disguise. Alexander was particularly obnoxious to him, although so tolerant at first of the errors of Arius that the clergy nearly revolted. Finally the heresy was condemned in a council held in Alexandria, and later on, as is well known, in the general Council of Nicaea, whose Acts Alexander is credited with having drawn up.
  An additional merit of this great man is that during his priesthood he passed through the bloody persecutions of Galerius, Maximinus, and others. It is worth recording that the great Athanasius succeeded Alexander, the dying pontiff compelling the future doctor of the Church to accept the post. Alexander is described as “a man held in the highest honour by the people and clergy, magnificent, liberal, eloquent, just, a lover of God and man, devoted to the poor, good and sweet to all, so mortified that he never broke his fast while the sun was in the heavens.” His feast is kept on 17 April.

T.J. Campbell, ed.
Transcribed by: Joseph P. Thomas
This extract is cited May 2003 from The Catholic Encyclopedia, New Advent online edition URL below.

Alexander (Alexandros), (ST.,) of Alexandria, succeeded as patriarch of that city St. Achillas, (as his predecessor, St. Peter, had predicted, Martyr. S. Petr) A. D. 312. He, "the noble Champion of Apostolic Doctrine", (Theodt. Hist. Eccl. i. 2) first laid bate the irreligion of Arius, and condemned him in his dispute with Alexander Baucalis. St. Alexander was at the Oecumenical Council of Nicaea, A. D. 325, with his deacon, St. Athanasius, and, scarcely five months after, died, April 17th, A. D. 326. St. Epiphanius says he wrote some seventy circular epistles against Arius and Socrates and Sozomen, that he collected them into one volume. Two epistles remain; 1. to Alexander, bishop of Constantinople, written after the Council at Alexandria which condemned Arius, and before the other circular letters to the various bishops. 2. The Encyclic letter announcing Arius's deposition with the subscriptions from Gelasius Cyzicen. There remains, too, The Deposition of Arius and his, i. e. an Address to the Priests and Deacons, desiring their concurrence therein. Two fragments more, apud Galland. St. Athanasius also gives the second epistle.

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Oct 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

St. Cyril of Alexandria

  Doctor of the Church. St. Cyril has his feast in the Western Church on the 28th of January; in the Greek Menaea it is found on the 9th of June, and on the 18th of January.
  He seems to have been of an Alexandrian family and was the son of the brother of Theophilus, Patriarch of Alexandria; Theophilus died 15 Oct., 412, and on the 18th Cyril was consecrated his uncle's successor.
  He drove out of Alexandria the Jews, who had formed a flourishing community there since Alexander the Great. For some years Cyril refused to insert the name of St. Chrysostom in the diptychs of his Church, in spite of the requests of Chrysostom's supplanter, Atticus. Later he seems to have yielded to the representations of his spiritual father, Isidore of Pelusium. For some time the strongest opponent of Cyril was Theodoret, but eventually he approved a letter of Cyril to Acacius of Berhoea.
  The great patriarch died on the 9th or the 27th of June, 444, after an episcopate of nearly thirty-two years.
St. Cyril as a theologian
The principal fame of St. Cyril rests upon his defense of Catholic doctrine against Nestorius. That heretic was undoubtedly confused and uncertain. He wished to teach that Christ was a perfect man. The union of the human and the Divine natures was therefore to Nestorius an unspeakably close junction, but not a union in one hypostasis. St. Cyril taught the personal, or hypostatic, union in the plainest terms; and when his writings are surveyed as a whole, it becomes certain that he always held the view that the one Christ has two perfect and distinct natures, Divine and human. But he would not admit two physeis in Christ, because he took physis to imply not merely a nature but a subsistent (i.e. personal) nature. His opponents misrepresented him as teaching that the Divine person suffered in His human nature; and he was constantly accused of Apollinarianism. On the other hand, after his death Monophysitism was founded upon a misinterpretation of his teaching. Especially unfortunate was the formula “one nature incarnate of God the Word” (mia physis tou Theou Logou sesarkomene), which he took from a treatise on the Incarnation which he believed to be by his great predecessor St. Athanasius. By this phrase he intended simply to emphasize against Nestorius the unity of Christ's Person; but the words in fact expressed equally the single Nature taught by Eutyches and by his own successor Diascurus. He brings out admirably the necessity of the full doctrine of the humanity of God, to explain the scheme of the redemption of man. He argues that the flesh of Christ is truly the flesh of God, in that it is life-giving in the Holy Eucharist.
  Cyril was a man of great courage and force of character. We can often discern that his natural vehemence was repressed and schooled, and he listened with humility to the severe admonitions of his master and advisor, St. Isidore. As a theologian, he is one of the great writers and thinkers of early times. Yet the troubles that arose out of the Council of Ephesus were due to his impulsive action.
His writings
The exegetical works of St Cyril are very numerous. The seventeen books “On Adoration in Spirit and in Truth” are an exposition of the typical and spiritual nature of the Old Law. The Glaphyra or “brilliant”, Commentaries on Pentateuch are of the same nature. Long explanations of Isaias and of the minor Prophets give a mystical interpretation after the Alexandrian manner. Only fragments are extant of other works on the Old Testament, as well as of expositions of Matthew, Luke, and some of the Epistles, but of that of St. Luke much is preserved in a Syriac version. Of St. Cyril's sermons and letters the most interesting are those which concern the Nestorian controversy. Of a great apologetic work in the twenty books against Julian the Apostate ten books remain. Among his theological treatises we have two large works and one small one on the Holy Trinity, and a number of treatises and tracts belonging to the Nestorian controversy.

John Chapman, ed.
Transcribed by: Kenneth J. Pomeisl
This extract is cited May 2003 from The Catholic Encyclopedia, New Advent online edition URL below.

St. Cyrus of Alexandria (Patriarch 630-640 AD)

St. Cyrus of Alexandria. A Melchite patriarch of that see in the seventh century, and one of the authors of Monothelism; d. about 641. He had been since 620 Bishop of Phasis in Colchis when the Emperor Heraclius, in the course of his Persian campaign (626), consulted him about a plan for bringing the Monophysites of Egypt back to the Church and to the support of the empire. The plan, suggested by Sergius, Patriarch of Constantinople, consisted of confessing the faith of Chalcedon on the two natures of Christ, while practically nullifying it by the admission of one theandric will and operation, "Εν θέλημα και μία ενέργεια - En thelhma ke mia energeia". Cyrus hesitated at first, but being assured by Sergius that this formula was opposed to neither the Fathers nor Chalcedon and was destined to achieve great results, he became a stanch supporter of it, and was, in return, raised by Heraclius to the then vacant See of Alexandria (630). Once a patriarch, he set himself vigorously to effect the desired union. In a synod held at Alexandria he proposed what is known as the or "Satisfactio", an agreement in nine articles, the seventh of which is a bold assertion of the Monothelite heresy. The Monophysites (Theodosians or Severians) welcomed the agreement with, however, the remark that Chalcedon was coming to them, not they to Chalcedon. The union thus effected was adroitly exploited, with a view to win over Pope Honorius to Monothelism; otherwise it proved ineffective, and soon fell into discredit under the name of "Ενωσις υδροβαφής", contemptuously called the "washy union". Cyrus persevered none the less in his adhesion to the compromise, and even accepted the Ecthesis, a new imperial formulary of the same error (637). When Omar's general, Amru, threatened the Prefecture of Egypt, Cyrus was made prefect and entrusted with the conduct of the war. Certain humiliating stipulations, to which he subscribed for the sake of peace, angered his imperial master. He was recalled and harshly accused of connivance with the Saracens; however, he was soon restored to his former authority, owing to the impending siege of Alexandria, but could not avert the fall of the great city (640) and died shortly after.
  From Cyrus we have three letters to Sergius and the "Satisfactio", all preserved in the acts of the Roman Synod of the Lateran and of the Sixth ?cumenical Council (Mansi, X, 1004; XI, 560, 562, 964). The first letter is an acceptation of the Ecthesis; in the second Cyrus describes his perplexity between Pope Leo and Sergius; the conversion of the Theodosians is narrated in the third. The seventh article of the "Satisfactio" ? the others are irrelevant ? reads thus: "The one and same Christ, the Son, performs the works proper to God and to man by one theandric operation according to St. Dionysius". Cyrus' chief opponents, St. Sophronius, d. in 637 (Epistola synodica, Mansi, XI, 480), and St. Maximus, d. in 662 (Epistola ad Nicandrum; disputatio cum Pyrrho, P.G., XCI, 101, 345), reproached him for falsifying the then much-respected text of Dionysius and substituting for (new). They showed, moreover, the inanity of his claim to the support of the Fathers, and explained how the Divine and human natures of Christ, sometimes styled one, because they belong to the same person and work in perfect harmony, can no more by physically identified than the natures from which they proceed. Historians are not agreed as to how Cyrus came by this error. Some think that he was, from the outset, a Monophysite at heart. Others, with more reason, hold that he was led into error by Sergius and Heraclius. Cyrus was condemned as a heretic in the Lateran Council of 649 (Denzinger, Enchiridion, 217, 219) and in 680 at the Third Oecumenical Council of Constantinople (Denzinger, 238; Mansi, XI, 554).

J.F. Sollier, ed.
Transcribed by: WGKofron
This text is cited July 2004 from The Catholic Encyclopedia, New Advent online edition URL below.

Cyrus, an Egyptian bishop belonging to the seventh century. He was first bishop of Phasis A. D. 620, and afterwards patriarch of Alexandria, A. D. 630-640. It was owing to the favour of Heraclius, the emperor, that he was appointed over the latter place. In 633 he attempted to make peace between the Theodosians or Severians and the Catholics, and for that purpose held a synod at Alexandria, in which he proposed a Libellus Satisfactionis in nine chapters. This treatise was to be subscribed by the Theodosians, and then they were to be admitted into the bosom of the church. But the seventh chapter favoured the Monotholite heresy, and led to much disputation. In 638, Heraclius published an Ecthesis or formula of faith drawn up by Sergius, in which he clearly stated that there was but one will in Christ. This was subscribed by Cyrus, a circumstance that served to confirm its truth in the eyes of many. Cyrus died A. D. 640. Besides the Libellus Satisfactionis, he wrote three letters to Sergius, patriarch of Constantinople, which are still extant.

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Nov 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

St. John the Almsgiver, Patriarch of Alexandria

Native of Amathus in Cyprus

St. Theophilus of Alexandria (385-412)

  Patriarch of Alexandria (385-412). Concerning the extraction and early life of Theophilus we have but scanty information. He had a sister of similar temperament and St. Cyril, his successor, was his nephew. Hydatius calls him a “most learned man”. After his election to the Patriarchate of Alexandria (385) he showed himself a man of great intellectual gifts and capacity, but also extremely violent and unscrupulous in the choice of his means.
  His name is connected with three important historical events: the decay of paganism in Egypt, the Origenistic controversy, and the deposition and banishment of St. John Chrysostom. About 390 Theophilus deprived the pagans of Alexandria of a temple, probably with the consent of the Emperor Theodosius I, and apparently destroyed several other temples. A riot ensued, and a number of Christians were slain. With Theophilus at their head, the Christians retaliated by destroying the celebrated temple of Serapis, on the ruins of which the patriarch erected a church. He also erected a magnificent church at Canope.
  In 391 or 392 Theophilus was requested by the Synod of Capua to exert his influence to end the schism at Antioch. However, he failed to establish peace. Until 399 Theophilus was regarded as a friend of Origen and the Origenists. Many of the so-called Origenist monks were among his best friends; some of them he appointed to ecclesiastical offices and dignities.
  Between 399 and 400 Theophilus suddenly altered his attitude; the chief motive for the change seems to have been a personal quarrel with the archpresbyter Isidore, well known as a friend of the Origenists. Isidore found protection with his friends, the monks of Nitria, whereupon Theophilus turned against them also. At the Synod of the Oak in 403 Theophilus concluded an equitable peace with the persecuted monks, and on his return to Alexandria is said to have again received the books of Origen.
  That Theophilus may have been really very “broad-minded”, is shown by the fact that he consecrated the philosopher Synesius bishop about 410, although the latter had not yet been baptized, and had stipulated that, as bishop, he might retain his wife and adhere to his Platonic views (pre-existence of soul, allegorical explanation of the Resurrection, etc.).
  As a writer Theophilus did not attain much prominence. In addition to his Easter letters,he wrote “one large volume against Origen” (Gennadius, 33), of which some fragments are preserved. The Canons ascribed to Theophilus are in Pitra.

Chrys. Baur, ed.
Transcribed by: Herman F. Holbrook
This extract is cited May 2003 from The Catholic Encyclopedia, New Advent online edition URL below.

St. Eulogius of Alexandria (580-607)

  Patriarch of that see from 580 to 607.
  He was a successful combatant of the heretical errors then current in Egypt, notably the various phases of Monophysitism. Eulogius refuted the Novatians, some communities of which ancient sect still existed in his diocese, and vindicated the hypostatic union of the two natures in Christ, against both Nestorius and Eutyches. Besides the above works and a commentary against the various sects of the Monophysites (Severians, Theodosians, Cainites, Acephali) he left eleven discourses in defence of Leo I and the council of Chalcedon, also a work against the Agnoetae, submitted by him before publication to Gregory I, who after some observations authorized it unchanged. With exception of one sermon and a few fragments all the writings of Eulogius have perished.

M.J. McNeal, ed.
Transcribed by: Gerald M. Knight
This extract is cited May 2003 from The Catholic Encyclopedia, New Advent online edition URL below.

Christophorus (c. 836 AD)

Christophorus, (Christophoros), patriarch of Alexandria, about A. D. 836, wrote an exhortation to asceticism under the title ti homoioutai ho Bios outos kai eis poion telos katastrephei. There are citations from this work in Allatius, ad Eustath. Antioch., and Cotelerius, Monum. Msta. in Bibl. Caesar. There are MSS. of the work at Vienna, Paris, Rome, Milan, and Oxford.

Marcus (early 13th c)

Marcus (Markos). Of Alexabdria, patriarch of Alexandria early in the thirteenth century, proposed certain questions for solution on various points of ecclesiastical law or practice. Sixty-four of these questions, with the answers of Theodorus Balsamon, are given in the Jus Orientale of Bonefidius, p. 237, &c. 8vo., Paris, 1573, and in the Jus Graeco-Romanum of Leunclavius, vol. i. pp. 362-394, fol. Frankfort, 1596. Some MSS. contain two questions and solutions more than the printed copies. Fabricius suggests that Mark of Alexandria is the Marcus cited in a MS. Catena in Matthaei Evangelium of Macarius Chrysocephalus, extant in the Bodleian library at Oxford. (Cave, Hist. Litt. ad ann. 1203, vol. ii. p. 279, ed. Oxford, 1740-42.)

Remarkable selections


Basilides. The earliest of the Alexandrian Gnostics; he was a native of Alexandria and flourished under the Emperors Adrian and Antoninus Pius, about 120-140. St. Epiphanius's assertion that he was a disciple of Menander at Antioch and only later moved to Alexandria is unlikely in face of the statement of Eusebius and Theodoret that he was an Alexandrian by birth. Of his life we know nothing except that he had a son called Isidore, who followed in his footsteps. The remark in the Acts of Archelaus (lv) that Basilides was "a preacher amongst the Persians" is almost certainly the result of some confusion. Basilides invented prophets for himself named Barcabbas and Barcoph, and claimed to have received verbal instructions from St. Matthias the Apostle and to be a disciple of Glaucias, a disciple of St. Peter.
  As practically nothing of Basilides' writing is extant and as we have no contemporaneous Gnostic witnesses, we must gather the teaching of this patriarch of Gnosticism from the following early sources: (a) St. Irenaeus, "Contra Haereses", I, xxiv, written about 170; (b) Clement of Alexandria, "Stromata", I, xxi, II, vi, viii, xx, IV, xi, xii, xxv, V, I, etc., written between 208-210, and the so-called "Excerpta ex Theodoto" perhaps from the same hand; (c) Hippolytus of Rome, "Philosophumena", VII, written about 225; (d) Pseudo-Tertullian, "Against All Heresies", a little treatise usually attached to Tertullian's "De Praescriptionibus", but really by another hand, perhaps by Victorinus of Pettau, written about 240 and based upon a non-extant "Compendium" of Hippolytus; (e) Artistic remains of Gnosticism such as Abrasax gems, and literary remains like the Pistis Sophia, the latter part of which probably dates back to the end of the second century and, though not strictly Basilidian, yet illustrates early Alexandrian Gnosticism. Later sources are Epiphanius, "Adv. Haer.", xxiv, and Theodoret, "Haer. Fab. Comp.", I, iv. Unfortunately, the descriptions of the Basilidian system given by our chief informants, St. Irenaeus and Hippolytus, are so strongly divergent that they seem to many quite irreconcilable. According to Irenaeus, Basilides was apparently a dualist and an emanationist, and according to Hippolytus a pantheistic evolutionist.
  Seen from the viewpoint of Irenaeus, Basilides taught that Nous (Mind) was the first to be born from the Unborn Father; from Nous was born Logos (Reason); from Logos, Phronesis (Prudence); from Phronesis, Sophia (Wisdom) and Dynamis (Strength) and from Phronesis and Dynamis the Virtues, Principalities, and Archangels. By these angelic hosts the highest heaven was made, by their descendants the second heaven, and by the descendants again of these the third, and so on till they reached the number 365. Hence the year has as many days as there are heavens. The angels, who hold the last or visible heaven, brought about all things that are in the world and shared amongst themselves the earth and the nations upon it. The highest of these angels is the one who is thought to be the God of the Jews. And as he wished to make the other nations subject to that which was especially his own, the other angelic principalities withstood him to the utmost. Hence the aversion of all other peoples for this race. The Unborn and Nameless Father seeing their miserable plight, sent his First-born, Nous (and this is the one who is called Christ) to deliver those who should believe in him from the power of the angelic agencies who had built the world. And to men Christ seemed to be a man and to have performed miracles. It was not, however, Christ who suffered, but rather Simon of Cyrene, who was constrained to carry the cross for him, and mistakenly crucified in Christ's stead. Simon having received Jesus' form, Jesus assumed Simon's and thus stood by and laughed at them. Simon was crucified and Jesus returned to His Father. Through the Gnosis (Knowledge) of Christ the souls of men are saved, but their bodies perish.
  Out of Epiphanius and Pseudo-Tertullian we can complete the description this: the highest god, i.e. the Unborn Father, bears the mystical name Abrasax, as origin of the 365 heavens. The Angels that made the world formed it out of Eternal Matter; but matter is the principle of all evil and hence both the contempt of the Gnostics for it and their docetic Christology. To undergo martyrdom in order to confess the Crucified is useless, for it is to die for Simon of Cyrene, not for Christ.
Hippolytus sets forth the doctrine of Basilides as follows:
  There was a time when nothing existed, neither matter nor form, nor accident; neither the simple nor the compound, neither the unknowable nor the invisible, neither man or angel nor god nor any of these things, which are called by names or perceived by the mind or the senses. The Not-Being God (ouk on theos) whom Aristotle calls Thought of thought (noesis tes noeseos), without consciousness, without perception, without purpose, without aim, without passion, without desire, had the will to create the world. I say "had the will" only by way of speaking, because in reality he had neither will, nor ideas nor perceptions; and by the word 'world' I do not mean this actual world, which is the outcome of extension and division, but rather the Seed of the world. The seed of the world contained in itself, as a mustard seed, all things which are eventually evolved, as the roots, the branches, the leaves arise out of the seedcorn of the plant. Strange to say this World-seed or All-seed (Panspermia) is still described as Not-Being. It is a phrase of Basilides: "God is Not-Being, even He, who made the world out of what was not; Not-Being made Not-Being."
  Basilides distinctly rejected both emanation and the eternity of matter. "What need is there", he said, "of emanation or why accept Hyle [Matter]; as if God had created the world as the spider spins its thread or as mortal man fashions metal or wood. God spoke and it was; this Moses expresses thus: 'Let there be light and there was light'." This sentence has a Christian ring, but we must not forget that to Basilides God was Absolute Negation. He cannot find words enough to bring out the utter non-existence of God; God is not even "unspeakable" (arreton), He simply is Not. Hence the popular designation of Oukontiani for people who always spoke of Oukon, Not-Being. The difficulty lies in placing the actual transition from Not-Being into Being. This was probably supposed to consist in the Sperma or Seed, which in one respect was Not-Being, and in the other, the All-seed of the manifold world. The Panspermia contained in itself a threefold Filiation, Hyiotes: one composed of refined elements, Leptomeres, a second of grosser elements, Pachymeres, and a third needing purification, Apokatharseos deomenon.
  These three Filiations ultimately reach the Not-Being God, but each reaches him in a different way. The first Filiation rose at once and flew with the swiftness of thought to the Not-Being God. The second, remaining as yet in the Panspermia, wished to imitate the first Filiation and rise upwards; but, being too gross and heavy, it failed. Whereupon the second Filiation takes to itself wings, which are the Holy Ghost, and with this aid almost reaches the Not-Being God. But when it has come near, the Holy Ghost, of different substance from the Second Filiation, can go no further, but conducts the Second Filiation near to the First Filiation and leaves. Yet he does not return empty but, as a vessel full of ointment, he retains the sweet odour of Filiation; and he becomes the "Boundary Spirit" (Methorion Pneuma), between the Supermundane and the Mundane where the third Filiation is still contained in the Panspermia. Now there arose out of the Panspermia the Great Archon, or Ruler; he sped upwards until he reached the firmament, and thinking there was nothing above and beyond, and not knowing of the Third Filiation, still contained in the Panspermia, he fancied himself Lord and Master of all things. He created to himself a Son out of the heap of Panspermia; this was the Christ and being himself amazed at the beauty of his Son, who was greater than his Father, he made him sit at his right hand; and with him he created the ethereal heavens, which reach unto the Moon. The sphere where the Great Archon rules, i.e. the higher heavens, the lower boundary of which is the plane where the moon revolves, is called the Ogdoad.
  The same process is repeated and we have a second Archon and his Son and the sphere where they rule is the Hebdomad, beneath the Ogdoad. Lastly, the third Filiation must be raised to the Not-Being God. This took place though the Gospel. From Adam to Moses the Archon of the Ogdoad had reigned (Rom., v, 14); in Moses and the Prophets the Archon of the Hebdomad had reigned, or God of the Jews. Now in the third period the Gospel must reign. This Gospel was first made known from the First Filiation through the Holy Ghost to the Son of the Archon of the Ogdoad; the Son told his Father, who was astounded and trembled and acknowledged his pride in thinking himself the Supreme Deity. The Son of the Archon of the Ogdoad tells the Son of the Archon of the Hebdomad, and he again tells his father. Thus both spheres, including the 365 heavens and their chief Archon, Abrasax, know the truth. This knowledge is not conveyed through the Hebdomad to Jesus, the Son of Mary, who through his life and death redeemed the third Filiation, that is: what is material must return to the Chaos, what is psychic to the Hebdomad, what is spiritual to the Not-Being God. When the third Filiation is thus redeemed, the Supreme God pours out a blissful Ignorance over all that is and that shall so remain forever. This is called "The Restoration of all things".
  From Clement of Alexandria we get a few glimpses into the ethical side of the system. Nominally, faith was made the beginning of the spiritual life; it was not, however, a free submission of the intellect, but a mere natural gift of understanding (Gnosis) bestowed upon the soul before its union with the body and which some possessed and others did not. But if faith is only a natural quality of some minds, what need of a Saviour, asks Clement, and Basilides would reply that faith is a latent force which only manifests its energy through the coming of the Saviour, as a ray of light will set naphtha on fire. Sin was not the results of the abuse of free will but merely the outcome of an inborn evil principle. All suffering is punishment for sin; even when a child suffers, this is the punishment of its own sin, i.e. the latent evil principle within; that this indwelling principle has had no opportunity to manifest itself, is immaterial. The persecutions Christians underwent had therefore as sole object the punishment of their sin. All human nature was thus vitiated by the sinful; when hard pressed Basilides would call even Christ a sinful man, for God alone was righteous. Viewed in another way evil was a sort of excrescence on the rational soul, the result of an original disturbance and confusion. "Their whole system", says Clement, "is a confusion of the Panspermia (All-seed) with the Phylokrinesis (Difference-in-kind) and the return of things thus confused to their own places." St. Irenaeus and St. Epiphanius reproach Basilides with the immorality of his system, and St. Jerome calls Basilides a master and teacher of debaucheries. It is likely, however, that Basilides was personally free from immorality and that this accusation was true neither of the master nor of some of his followers. That Basilidianism, together with the other forms of Gnosticism, eventually led to gross immorality, there can be no doubt. Clement of Alexandria and St. Epiphanius have preserved for us a passage of the writings of Basilides' son and successor, which counsels the free satisfaction of sensual desires in order that the soul may find peace in prayer. And it is remarkable that Justin the Martyr in his first Apology (xxvi), that is, as early as 150-155, suggests to the Roman emperors that possibly the Gnostics are guilty of those immoralities of which Christians are falsely accused. It is true that in this passage he mentions only Simon, Menander, and Marcion by name; but the passage is general in tone, and elsewhere Valentinus, Basilides, and Saturninus follow in the list.
Nearly all the writings of Basilides have perished, but the names of three of his works and some fragments have come down to us.
(a) A Gospel. Origin in his Homily on Luke, I, states that Basilides had dared to write a Gospel according to Basilides. St. Jerome and St. Ambrose adopt this state of Origen; and St. Jerome, in the Prologue of his Commentary on St. Matthew, again speaks of an "Evangelium Basilidis". In all likelihood this "Gospel" was compiled out of our canonical Gospels, the text being curtailed and altered to suit his Gnostic tenets, a diatessaron on Gnostic lines.
(b) A Gospel Commentary in twenty-four books. (Clement of Alexandria calls it "Exegetica"; the Acta Archelai et Manetis, "Tractatus".) Fragments of this Commentary have come down to us (in Stromata, IV, 12-81, sqq.; Acta Arch., lv; probably also in Origen, Commentary on Romans V, i).
(c) Hymns. Origen in a note on Job, xxi, 1 sqq., speaks of "Odes" of Basilides; and the so-called Muratorian Fragment, containing a list of canonical and non-canonical books (170 or thereabouts) ends with the words: "etiam novu psalmorum librum marcioni conscripserunt una cum Basilide assianum catafrycum constitutorem". This sentence, notwithstanding its obscurity, supports Origen's statement. For a collection of Basilidian fragments see Hilgenfeld, "Ketzergeschichte des Urchrist" (Leipzig, 1884), 207, 213.
  Basilides never formed a school of disciples, who modified or added to the doctrines of their leader. Isidore, his son, is the only one who elaborated his father's system, especially on the anthropological side. He wrote a work on the "Psyche Prosphyes" or Appendage-Soul; another work, called "Ethics" by Clement and "Paraenetics" by Epiphanius; and at least two books of "Commentaries on the Prophet Parchor." Basilidianism survived until the end of the fourth century as Epiphanius knew of Basilidians living in the Nile Delta. It was however almost exclusively limited to Egypt, though according to Sulpicius Severus it seems to have found an entrance into Spain through a certain Mark from Memphis. St. Jerome states that the Priscillianists were infected with it. Of the customs of the Basilidians, we know no more than that Basilides enjoined on his followers, like Pythagoras, a silence of five years; that they kept the anniversary of the baptism of Jesus as a feast day and spent the eve of it in reading; that their master told them not to scruple eating things offered to idols; that they wore amulets with the word Abrasax and symbolic figures engraved on them, and, amongst other things, believed them to possess healing properties.
  Although Basilides is mentioned by all the Fathers as one of the chiefs of Gnosticism, the system of Valentinus seems to have been much more popular and wider spread, as was also Marcionism. Hence, though anti-Gnostic literature is abundant, we know of only one patristic work, which had for its express purpose the refutation of Basilides, and this work is no longer extant. Eusebius (Hist. Eccl., IV, vii, 6-8) says: "There has come down to us a most powerful refutation of Basilides by Agrippa Castor, one of the most renowned writers of that day, which shows the terrible imposture of the man." With the exception of a few phrases given by Eusebius we know nothing of this Agrippa and his work.

J.P.Arendzen, ed.
Transcribed by: Susan Birkenseer
This text is cited July 2004 from The Catholic Encyclopedia, New Advent online edition URL below.


Isidorus (Isidoros). A son of BASILIDES, the Gnostic heretic, wrote a work, peri prosphuous psuches, which only exists in MS. (Fabric. Bibl. Graec. vol. x. p. 495.)


  Bishop of Alexandria; date of birth unknown; d. at Gangra, in Asia Minor, 11 Sept., 454. He had been archdeacon under St. Cyril, whom he succeeded in 444. Soon afterward Theodoret, who had been on good terms with Cyril since 433, wrote him a polite letter, in which he speaks of the report of Dioscurus's virtues and his modesty. In such a letter no contrary report would be mentioned, and we cannot infer much from these vague expressions. The peace establish between John of Antioch and Cyril seems to have continued between their successors until 448, when Domnus, the successor and nephew of John, had to judge the case of Ibas, Bishop of Edessa, who was accused of heresy and many crimes by the Cyrillian party. Domnus awcquited Ibas. The Cyrillian monks of Osrhoene were furious and betook themselves to Dioscurus as their natural protector. Dioscurus wrote to Domnus, complaining that he championed the Nestorian Ibas and Theodoret. Domnus and Theodoret both replied defending themselves, and showing their perfect orthodoxy. The accusers of Ibas went to the court at Constantinople, where the feeble Theodorius II was only too ready to mix in ecclesiastical quarrels. From him the Cyrillians obtain a decree against the Nestorians, in particular against Irenaeus, who had befriended the Nestorians at the Council iof Ephesus, where he was in authority as imperial representative; he was now deposed from the Bishopric of Tyre which he had obtained. Tyheodoret was forbidden to leave his Diocese of Cyrrus. In September a new Bishop of Tyre was appointed, and the Patriarch Domnus, feeling that Dioscurus was about to triumph, wrote to Flavian of Constantinople in order to get his support. Alexandria had of old been the first see of the East and was now only surpassed in power by the imperial city. The Egyptian patriarch had vast civil and political influence, as well as an almost autocratic sway over a hundred bishops and a great army of monks, who were heart and soul devoted to the memory of Cyril, and rather fervent than discriminating in their orthodoxy. Constantinople had been granted the next dignity after Rome by the great Council of 381, and the humiliation of Alexandria had embittered the long standing rivalry between the two sees. Antioch had always tended to support Constantinople, and Domnus was now ready to grant precedence to Flavian. Dioscurus, he said, had already complained that he, Domnus, was betraying the rights of Antioch and Alexandria in admitting the canon of 381, which had never been accepted by Alexandria or Rome. But Flavian was not a helpful ally, for he had neglected to obtain the favour of the eunich Chrysaphiuus, who was all powerful at court. An unforseen incident was now to set the world in a blaze. At a council held by Flavian in November of the same year, 448, Eusebius of Dorylaeum accused the Archimandrite Eusebius of teaching of one nature only in Christ. He was treated with all consideration, but his obstinacy made it unavoidable that he should be deposed and excommunicated. Now Eutyches was godfather to Chrysaphius, and "one nature" was precisely the unfortunate expression of St. Cyril, which his followers were already interpreting in a heretical sense. Eutyches at once therefore became the martyr of Cyrillianism; and though he was not a writer nor a theologian, he has given his name to Monophysite heresy, into which the whole Cyrillian party now plunged once for all.
  The Cyrillians were further incensed by the failure of their second attempt to convict Ibas. They had procured an order from the emperor, 25 Oct., 448, for a fresh trial. The bishops who met for this purpose at Tyre in Feb., 449, were obliged by the violence of the Eastern monks to transfer some of their sittings to Berytus. At the end of the month Ibas was exculpated, though the emperor was known to be against him. Dioscurus and his party replied by an unexpected stroke; in March they induced the emperor to issue an invitation to all the greater bishops to attend with their suffragans a general council to be held at Ephesus in August. It was indeed not unreasonable to desire some permanent settlement of the intermittent war, and the pope, St. Leo I, warmly accepted the emperor's proposition, or rather order. Eutyches had written to him, pretending that he had appealed at the time of his comdemnation, and promising to abide by his judgement. He wrote also to other bishops, and we still possess the reply sent to him by St. Peter Chrysologus, Bishop of Ravenna, where the court of Valentinian III, the Western emperor, had its headquarters. St. Peter tells him to await the decision of the pope, who alone can judge a case concerning the Faith. St. Leo at first had complained that the matter had not at once been referred to him, then, on finding that a full account sent by St. Flavian had been accidentally delayed, wrote a compendious explanation of the whole doctrine involved, and sent it to St. Flavian as a formal and authoritative decision of the question. He reproves Flavian's council for want of severity to an expression of Eutyches, but adds that the archimandrite may be restored if he repent. This letter, the most famous of all Christian antiquity, is known as "St. Leo's Tome". He sent as legates to the council, a bishop named Julius, a priest, Renatus (he died on the way), and the deacon Hilarus, afterwards pope. St. Leo expresses his regret that the shortness of the notice must prevent the presence of any other bishop of the West. It is probable that his difficulty had been anticipated by Dioscurus, who had answered an appeal from Eutyches in a different strain. He regarded him as a downtrdden disciple of the great Cyril, persecuted by the Nestorian Flavian. As his predecessor Peter had appointed a bishop for Constantinople, and as Theophilus had judged St. Chrysostom, so Dioscurus, with the air of a superior, actually declared Etyches absoved and restored. In April Etyches obtained a slight revision of the Acts of the council which had condemned him. In the same month the case of Ibas was again examined, by the emperor's order, this time at Edessa itself, and by a lay inquisitor, Cheraeas, the Governor of Osrhoene. The people received him shouts against Ibas. No defense was heard. On the arrival of Cheraeas's report, the emperor wrote demanding the presence of Ibas's most famous accuser, the monk Bar Tsaouma (Barsumas), and other monks at the approaching council. In all this we see the influence of Dioscurus dominant. In March Theodosius had prohibited Theodoret from coming to the council. On 6 August he shows some fear that his order may be disregarded, in a letter in which he constitutes Dioscurus president of the synod.
  The council met at Ephesus on 8 Aug., 449. It was to have been ecumenical in authority, but it was dubbed by St. Leo a latrocinium, and "The Robber Council" has been its title ever since. A full history of it would be out of place here (see EPHESUS, ROBBER COUNCIL OF). It is only necessary to say that the assembly was wholly dominated by Dioscurus. Flavian was not allowed to sit as a bishop, but was on lis trial. When Stephen, Bishop of Ephesus, wished to give Communion to Flavian's slergy, he was attacked by soldiers and monks of Eutyches, 300 in number, who cried out that Stephen was the enemy of the emperor, since he received the emperor's enemies. Eutyches was admitted to defend himself, but the other side was only so far heard that the Acts of the council which had condemned him were read in full. The soldiers and monks were brought into the council, and many bishops were forced to sign a blank paper. The papal legate Hilarus uttered the protest Contradictur, and saved himself by flight. Flavian and Eusebius of Dorylaeum appealed to the pope, and their letters, only lately discovered, were probably taken by Hilarus to Rome, which he reached by a devious route. St. Flavian was thrown into prison and died in three days of the blows and ill usage he received. The bishops who were present gave their testimony, when the Acts were publicly read at the Council of Chalcedon, to the violence used at Ephesus. No doubt they exaggerated somewhat, in order to excuse their own base compliance. But there were too many witnesses to allow them to falsify the whole affair; and we have also the witness of letters of Hilarus, of Eusebius, and of Flavian, and the martyrdom of the latter, to confirm the charges against Diosurus.
  No more was read at Chalcedon of the Acts. But at this point begin the Syriac Acts of The Robber Council, which tells us of the carrying out by Dioscurus of a thoroughgoing but short-sited policy. The papal legates came no more to the council, and Domnus excused himself through illness. A few other bishops withdrew or escaped, leaving 101 out of the original 128, and some nine new-comers raised the total to 110. The deposition of Ibas was voted with cries, such as "Let him be burned in the midst of Antioch". The accused was not present, and no witnesses for the defence were heard. Daniel, Bishop of Haran, nephew of Ibas, was degraded. Irenaeus of Tyre, already deposed, was anathematized. Then it was the turn of the leader of the Antiochene party. Ibas had been accused of immorality and a misuse of ecclesiastical property, as well as of heresy; no such charges could be made against the great Theo doret; his character was unblemished, and his orthodoxy had been admitted by St. Cyril himself. Never the less, his earlier writings, in which he had incautiously and with incorrect expressions attqcked St. Cyril and defended Nestorius, were now raked up against him. None ventured to dissent from the sentence of deposition pronounced by Discurus, which ordered his writings to be burnt. If we may bekieve the Acts, Domnus, from his bed of real or feigned sickness, gave a general assent to all the council had done. But this could not save him from the accusation of favouring Nestorians. He was deposed without a word of defence being heard, and a new patriarch, Maximus, was set up in his place.=20
  So ended the council. Dioscurus proceeded to Constantinople, and there made his own secretary, Anatolius, bishop of the city. One foe remained. Dioscurus had avoided reading the pope's letter to the Council of Ephesus, though he promised more than once to do so. He evidently could not then venture to contest the pope's ruling as to the Faith. But now, with his own creatures on the thrones of Antioch and Constantinople, and sure of the support of Chrysaphius, he stopped at Nicea, and with ten bishops launched an excommunication of St. Leo himself. It would be vain to attribute all these acts to the desire of his own self aggrandizment. Political motives could not have led him so far. He must have known that in attacking the pope he could have no help from the bishops of the West or from the Western emperor. It is clear that he was genuinely infatuated with his heresy, and was fighting in its interest with all his might.
  The pope, on hearing the report of Hilarus, immediately annulled the Acts of the council, absolved all those whom it had excommunicated, and excommunicated the hundred bishops who had taken part in it. He wrote to Theodosius II insisting on the necessity of a council to be held in Italy, under his own direction. The emperor, with the obstinacy of a weak man, supported the council, and paid no attention to the intervention of his sister, St. Pulcheria, nor to that of his colleague, Valentinian III, who, with his mother Galla Placidia, and his wife, the daughter of Theodosius, wrote to him at St. Leo's suggestion. The reasons given to the pope for his conduct are unknown, for his letters to Leo are lost. In June or July, 450, he died of a fall from his horse, and was succeeded by his sister Pulcheria, who took for her colleague and nominal husband the excellent general Marcian. St. Leo, now sure of the support of the rulers of the East, declared a council unnecessary; many bishops had already signed his Tome, and the remainder would do so without difficulty. But the new emperor had already taken steps to carry out the pope's wish, by a council not indeed in Italy, which was outside his jurisdiction, but in the immediate neighborhood of Constantinople, where he himself could watch its proceedings and insure its orthodoxy. St. Leo therefore agreed and sent legates who this time were to preside.
  The council, in the intention of both pope and emperor, was to accept and enforce the definition given long since from Rome. Anatolius was ready enough to please the emperor by signing the Tome; and at Pulcheria's intercessiiion he was accepted as bishop by St. Leo. The latter permitted the restoration to communion of those bishops who repented after their conduct at the Robber Council, with the exception of Dioscurus and of the leaders of that synod, whose case he first reserved to the Apostolic See, and then commited to the council. The synod met at Chalcedon, and its six hundred bishops made it the largest of ancient councils (see Chalcedon, Ecumenical Council of). The papal legates presided, supported by lay commissioners supported by the emperor, who were in practice the real presidents, since the legates did not speak Greek. The first point raised was the position of Dioscurus. He had taken his seat, but the legates objected that he was on trial. The commissioners asked for the charge against him to be formulated, and it was replied that he had held a council without the permission of the Apostolic See, a thing which had never been permitted. This statement was difficult to explain, before the discovery of the Syriac Acts; but we now know that Dioscurus had continued his would be general council for many sessions after the papal legates had taken their departure. The commissioners ordered him to sit in the midst as accused. (A sentence in this passage of the Acts is wrongly translated in the old Latin version; this was carelessly followed by Hefele, who thus led Bright into the error of supposing that the commissioners addressed to the legates a rebuke they meant in reality for Dioscurus). The Alexandrian patriarch was now as much deserted by his own party as his victims had been deserted at Ephesus by their natural defenders. Some sixty bishops, Egyptian, Palestinian, and Illyrian, were on his side, but were afraid to say a word in his defence, though they raised a great commotion at the introduction into the assembly of Theodoret, who had been especially excluded from the Council of Ephesus. The Acts of the first session of the Robber Council were read, continually interrupted by the disclaimers of the bishops. The leaders of that council, Juvenal of Jerusalem, Thalassius of Caesarea, Maximus of Antioch, now declared that Flavian was orthodox; Anatolius had long since gone over to the winning side. Dioscurus alone stood his ground. He was at least no time-server, and he was a convinced heretic. After this session he refused to appear. At the second session ( the third, according to the printed texts and Hefele, but the Ballerini are right in inverting the order of the second and third session) the case of Dioscurus was continued. Petitions against him from Alexandria were read. In these he was accused of injustice and cruelty by the family of Cyril and of many other crimes, even against the emperor and the State. How much of this is true it is impossible to say, as Dioscurus refused to appear or to make any defence. The accusations were dropped, and judgemnet must necessarily go against Diocurus, if only for contempt of court. The bishops therefore repeatedly demanded that the legates should deliver judgement. Paschasinus, therefore, the senior legate, recited the crimes of Dioscurus?he had absolved Eutyches contrary to the canons, even before the council; he was still contumacious when others asked for pardon; he had not had the pope's letter read; he had excommunicated the pope; he had been thrice formally cited and refused to appear?"Wherefore the most holy and blessed Archbishop of elder Rome, Leo, by us and the most holy council, together with the thrice blessed and praiseworthy Peter the Apostle, who is the rock and base of the Catholic Church and the foundation of the orthodox Faith, has stripped him of the episcopal and of all sacerdotal dignity. Wherefore this most holy and great council will decree that which is accordance with the canons against the aforesaid Dioscurus." All the bishops signified their agreement in a few words and then all signed the papal sentence. A short notice of his deposition was sent to Dioscurus. It is taken almost word for word from that sent to Nestorius by the Council of Ephesus twenty years before. With the rest of the council-its definition of the Faith imposed upon it Pope Leo, its rehabilitation of Theodoret and of Ibas, etc.,-- we have nothing to do. Dioscurus affected to ridicule his condemnation, saying that he should soon be restored. But the council decreed that he was incapable of restoration, and wrote in this sense to the emperors, reciting his crimes. He was banished to Gangra in Paphlagonia, where he died three years later. The whole of Egypt revered him as the true representative of Cyrillian teaching, and from this time forth the Patriarchate of Alexandrian was lost to the Church. Dioscurus has been honoured in it as its teacher, and it has remained Eutychian to the present day.

Hohn Chapman, ed.
Transcribed by: J.F.M. Freeman
This text is cited July 2004 from The Catholic Encyclopedia, New Advent online edition URL below.


St. Ammon

St. Ammon. Sometimes called AMUN or AMUS, born about 350; an Egyptian who, forced into marriage when twenty-two years old, persuaded his wife on the bridal night to pronounce a vow of chastity, which they kept faithfully, though living together for eighteen years; at the end of this time he became a hermit in the desert of Nitria.
  Nitria, to which Ammon betook himself, is a mountain surmounted by a desolate region, seventy miles south of Alexandria, beyond Lake Mareotis. At the end of the fourth century there were fifty monasteries there inhabited by 5,000 monks. St. Jerome called the place “The City of God”. As to whether Ammon was the first to build a monastery there, authorities disagree, but it is certain that the fame of his sanctity drew many anchorites around him, who erected cellos not only on the mountain but in the adjacent desert. St. Anthony came to visit him and induced him to gather his scattered solitaries into monasteries. When Ammon died at about the age of 62, Anthony, though thirteen days journey distant, saw his soul entering heaven. He is honored on 4 October.

J. Cambell, ed.
Transcribed by: Michael Christensen
This text is cited May 2003 from The Catholic Encyclopedia, New Advent online edition URL below.

St. Apollonia

St. Apollonia. A holy virgin who suffered martyrdom in Alexandria during a local uprising against the Christians previous to the persecution of Decius (end of 248, or beginning of 249). During the festivities commemorative of the first millenary of the Roman Empire, the agitation of the heathen populace rose to a great height, and when one of their poets prophesied a calamity, they committed bloody outrages on the Christians whom the authorities made no effort to protect. The great Dionysius, then Bishop of Alexandria (247-265), relates the sufferings of his people in a letter addressed to Fabius, Bishop of Antioch, long extracts from which Eusebius has preserved for us. Dionysius writes: “At that time Apollonia the parthenos presbutis (virgo presbytera, by which he very probably means not a virgin advanced in years, but a deaconess) was held in high esteem. These men seized her also and by repeated blows broke all her teeth. They then erected outside the city gates a pile of fagots and threatened to burn her alive if she refused to repeat after them impious words (either a blasphemy against Christ, or an invocation of the heathen gods). Given, at her own request, a little freedom, she sprang quickly into the fire and was burned to death.”
  Apollonia belongs, therefore, to that class of early Christian martyrs who did not await the death they were threatened with, but either to preserve their chastity, or because confronted with the alternative of renouncing their faith or suffering death, voluntarily embraced the latter in the form prepared for them. In the honour paid to her martyrs the Church made no distinction between these women and others.
  The Roman Church celebrates her memory on 9 February, and she is popularly invoked against the toothache because of the torments she had to endure. She is represented in art with pincers in which a tooth is held.

J.P. Kirsch, ed.
Transcribed by: W.G. Kofron
This extract is cited May 2003 from The Catholic Encyclopedia, New Advent online edition URL below.

St. Clemens (Clement) of Alexandria

St. Clement of Alexandria. Date of birth unknown; died about the year 215. St. Clement was an early Greek theologian and head of the catechetical school of Alexandria. Athens is given as the starting-point of his journeyings, and was probably his birthplace. He became a convert to the Faith and travelled from place to place in search of higher instruction, attaching himself successively to different masters: to a Greek of Ionia, to another of Magna Graecia, to a third of Coele-Syria, after all of whom he addressed himself in turn to an Egyptian, an Assyrian, and a converted Palestinian Jew. At last he met Pantaenus in Alexandria, and in his teaching "found rest".
  The place itself was well chosen. It was natural that Christian speculation should have a home at Alexandria. This great city was at the time a centre of culture as well as of trade. A great university had grown up under the long-continued patronage of the State. The intellectual temper was broad and tolerant, as became a city where so many races mingled. The philosophers were critics or eclectics, and Plato was the most favoured of the old masters. Neo-Platonism, the philosophy of the new pagan renaissance, had a prophet at Alexandria in the person of Ammonius Saccas. The Jews, too, who were there in very large numbers breathed its liberal atmosphere, and had assimilated secular culture. They there formed the most enlightened colony of the Dispersion. Having lost the use of Hebrew, they found it necessary to translate the Scriptures into the more familiar Greek. Philo, their foremost thinker, became a sort of Jewish Plato. Alexandria was, in addition, one of the chief seats of that peculiar mixed pagan and Christian speculation known as Gnosticism. Basilides and Valentinus taught there. It is no matter of surprise, therefore, to find some of the Christians affected in turn by the scientific spirit. At an uncertain date, in the latter half of the second century, "a school of oral instruction" was founded. Lectures were given to which pagan hearers were admitted, and advanced teaching to Christians separately. It was an official institution of the Church. Pantaenus is the earliest teacher whose name has been preserved. Clement first assisted and then succeeded Pantaenus in the direction of the school, about A.D. 190. He was already known as a Christian writer before the days of Pope Victor (188-199).
  About this time he may have composed the "Hortatory Discourse to the Greeks" (Protreptikos pros Ellenas) It is a persuasive appeal for the Faith, written in a lofty strain. The discourse opens with passages which fall on the ear with the effect of sweet music. Amphion and Arion by their minstrelsy drew after them savage monsters and moved the very stones; Christ is the noblest minstrel. His harp and Iyre are men. He draws music from their hearts by the Holy Spirit: nay, Christ is Himself the New Canticle, whose melody subdues the fiercest and hardest natures. Clement then proceeds to show the transcendence of the Christian religion. He constrasts Christianity with the vileness of pagan rites and with the faint hope of pagan poetry and philosophers. Man is born for God. The Word calls men to Himself. The full truth is found in Christ alone. The work ends with a description of the God-fearing Christian. He answers those who urge that it is wrong to desert one's ancestral religion.
  The work entitled "Outlines" (Hypotyposeis) is likewise believed to be a production of the early activity of Clement. It was translated into Latin by Rufinus under the title "Dispositiones". It was in eight books, but is no longer extant, though numerous fragments have been preserved in Greek by Eusebius, Oecumenius, Maximus Confessor, John Moschos, and Photius. According to Zahn, a Latin fragment, "Adumbrationes Clementis Alexandrini in epistolas canonicas", translated by Cassiodorus and purged of objectionable passages, represents in part the text of Clement. Eusebius represents the "Outlines" as an abridged commentary, with doctrinal and historical remarks on the entire Bible and on the non-canonical "Epistle of Barnabas" and "Apocalypse of Peter". Photius, who had also read it describes it as a series of explanations of Biblical texts especially of Genesis, Exodus, the Psalms, Ecclesiastes and the Pauline and Catholic Epistles. He declares the work sound on some points, but adds that it contains "impieties and fables", such as the eternity of matter, the creatureship of the Word, plurality of words (Logoi), Docetism, metempsychosis, etc. Conservative scholars are inclined to believe that Photius has thrown the mistakes of Clement, whatever they may have been, into undue relief. Clement's style is difficult, his works are full of borrowed excerpts, and his teaching is with difficulty reduced to a coherent body of doctrine. And this early work, being a scattered commentary on Holy Writ, must have been peculiarly liable to misconstruction. It is certain that several of the more serious charges can rest upon nothing but mistakes. At any rate, his extant writings show Clement in a better light.
  Other works of his are the "Miscellanies" (Stromateis) and "The Tutor" (Paidagogos). The "Miscellanies" comprise seven entire books, of which the first four are earlier than "The Tutor". When he had finished this latter work he returned to the "Miscellanies", which he was never able to finish. The first pages of the work are now missing. What has been known as the eighth book since the time of Eusebius is nothing more than a collection of extracts drawn from pagan philosophers. It is likely, as von Annin has suggested, that Clement had intended to make use of these materials together with the abridgement of Theodotus (Excerpts from Theodotus and the Eastern School of Valentinus) and the "Eclogae Propheticae". Extracts from the Prophets (not extracts, but notes at random on texts or Scriptural topics) for the continuation of the "Miscellanies". In the "Miscellanies" Clement disclaims order and plan. He compares the work to a meadow where all kinds of flowers grow at random and, again, to a shady hill or mountain planted with trees of every sort. In fact, it is a loosely related series of remaks, possibly notes of his lectures in the school. It is the fullest of Clement's works. He starts with the importance of philosophy for the pursuit of Christian knowledge. Here he is perhaps defending his own scientific labours from local criticism of conservative brethren. He shows how faith is related to knowledge, and emphasizes the superiority of revelation to philosophy. God's truth is to be found in revelation, another portion of it in philosophy. It is the duty of the Christian to neglect neither. Religious science, drawn from his twofold source, is even an element of perfection, the instructed Christian -- "the true Gnostic" is the perfect Christian. He who has risen to this height is far from the disturbance of passion; he is united to God, and in a mysterious sense is one with Him. Such is the line of thought indicated in the work, which is full of digressions.
  "The Tutor" is a practical treatise in three books. Its purpose is to fit the ordinary Christian by a disciplined life to become an instructed Christian. In ancient times the paedagogus was the slave who had constant charge of a boy, his companion at all times. On him depended the formation of the boy's character. such is the office of the Word Incarnate towards men. He first summons them to be HIS, then He trains them in His ways. His ways are temperate, orderly, calm, and simple. Nothing is too common or trivial for the Tutor's care. His influence tells on the minute details of life, on one's manner of eating, drinking, sleeping, dressing, taking recreation, etc. The moral tone of this work is kindly; very beautiful is the ideal of a transfigured life described at the close. In the editions of Clement "The Tutor" is followed by two short poems, the second of which, addressed to the Tutor, is from some pious reader of the work; the first, entitled "A Hymn of the Saviour Christ" (Hymnos tou Soteros Christou), is, in the manuscripts which contain it, attributed to Clement. The hymn may be the work of Clement (Bardenhewer). or it may be of as early a date as the Gloria in Excesis (Westcott).
  Some scholars see in the chief writings of Clement, the "Exhortation", "The Tutor", the "Miscellanies", a great trilogy representing a graduated initiation into the Christian life -- belief, discipline, knowledge -- three states corresponding to the three degrees of the neo-Platonic mysteries -- purification, initiation, and vision. Some such underlying conception was doubtless before the mind of Clement, but it can hardly be said to have been realized. He was too unsystematic. Besides these more irnportant works, he wrote the beautiful tract, "Who is the rich man who shall be saved? (tis ho sozomenos plousios). It is an exposition of St. Mark, x, 17-31, wherein Clement shows that wealth is not condemned by the Gospel as intrinsically evil; its morality depends on the good or ill use made of it. The work concludes with the narrative of the young man who was baptized, lost, and again rewon by the Apostle St. John. The date of the composition cannot be fixed. We have the work almost in its entirety. Clement wrote homilies on fasting and on evil speaking, and he also used his pen in the controversy on the Paschal question.
  Duchesne (Hist. ancienne de l'Eglise, I, 334 sqq.) thus summarizes the remaining years of Clement's life. He did not end his life at Alexandria. The persecution fell upon Egypt in the year 202, and catechumens were pursued with special intent of law. The catechetical school suffered accordingly. In the first two books of the "Miscellanies", written at this time, we find more than one allusion to the crisis. At length Clement felt obliged to withdraw. We find him shortly after at Caesarea in Cappadocia beside his friend and former pupil bishop Alexander. The persecution is active there also, and Clement is fulfillmg a ministry of love. Alexander is in prison for Christ's sake, Clement takes charge of the Church in his stead, strengthens the faithful, and is even able to draw in additional converts. We learn this from a letter written in 211 or 212 by Alexander to congratulate the Church of Antioch on the election Asclepiades to the bishopric. Clement himself undertook to deliver the letter in person, being known to the faithful of Antioch. In another letter written about 215 to Origen Alexander speaks of Clement as of one then dead.
  Clement has had no notable influence on the course of theology beyond his personal influence on the young Origen. His writings were occasionally copied, as by Hippolytus in his "Chronicon", by Arnobius, and by Theodoret of Cyrus. St. Jerome admired his learning. Pope Gelasius in the catalogue attributed to him mentions Clement's works, but adds, "they are in no case to be received amongst us". Photius in the "Bibliotheca" censures a list of errors drawn from his writings, but shows a kindly feeling towards Clement, assuming that the original text had been tampered with. Clement has in fact been dwarfed in history by the towering grandeur of the great Origen, who succeeded him at Alexandria. Down to the seventeenth century he was venerated as a saint. His name was to be found in the martyrologies, and his feast fell on the fourth of December. But when the Roman Martyrology was revised by Pope Clement VIII his name was dropped from the calendar on the advice of Cardinal Baronius. Benedict XIV maintained this decision of his predecessor on the grounds that Clement's life was little known that he had never obtained public cultus in the Church, and that some of his doctrines were, if not erroneous, at least suspect. In more recent times Clement has grown in favour for his charming literary temper, his attractive candour, the brave spirit which made him a pioneer in theology, and his leaning to the claims of philosophy. He is modern in spirit. He was exceptionally well-read. He had a thorough knowledge of the whole range of Biblical and Christian literature, of orthodox and heretical works. He was fond of letters also, and had a fine knowledge of the pagan poets and philosophers; he loved to quote them, too, and has thus preserved a number of fragments of lost works. The mass of facts and citations collected by him and pieced together in his writings is in fact unexampled in antiquity, though it is not unlikely that he drew at times upon the florilegia, or anthologies, exhibiting choice passages of literature.
  Scholars have found it no easy task to sum up the chief points of Clement's teaching. As has already been intimated, he lacks technical precision and makes no pretense to orderly exposition. It is easy, therefore, to misjudge him. We accept the discriminating judgment of Tixeront. Clement's rule of faith was sound. He admitted the authority of the Church's tradition. He would be, first of all, a Christian, accepting "the ecclesiastical rule", but he would also strive to remain a philosopher, and bring his reason to bear in matters of religion. "Few are they", he said, "who have taken the spoils of the Egyptians, and made of them the furniture of the Tabernacle." He set himself, therefore, with philosophy as an instrument, to transform faith into science, and revelation into theology. The Gnostics had already pretended to possess the science of faith, but they were, in fact, mere rationalists, or rather dreamers of fantastic dreams. Clement would have nothing but faith for the basis of his speculations. He cannot, therefore, be accused of disloyalty in will. But he was a pioneer in a diffficult undertaking, and it must be admitted that he failed at times in his high endeavour. He was careful to go to Holy Scripture for his doctrine; but he misused the text by his faulty exegesis. He had read all the Books of the New Testament except the Second Epistle of St. Peter and the Third Epistle of St. John. "In fact", Tixeront says, "his evidence as to the primitive form of the Apostolic writings is of the highest value." Unfortunately, he interpreted the Scripture after the manner of Philo. He was ready to find allegory everywhere. The facts of the Old Testament became mere symbols to him. He did not, howerer, permit himself so much freedom with the New Testament.
  The special field which Clement cultivated led him to insist on the difference between the faith of the ordinary Christian and the science of the perfect, and his teaching on this point is most characteristic of him. The perfect Christian has an insight into "the great mysteries" of man, of nature, of virtue -- which the ordinary Christian accepts without clear insight. Clement has seemed to some to exaggerate the moral worth of religious knowledge; it must however be remembered that he praises not mere sterile knowledge, but knowledge which turns to love. It is Christian perfection that he extols. The perfect Christian -- the true Gnostic whom Clement loves to describe -- leads a life of unalterable calm. And here Clement's teaching is undoubtedly colored by Stoicism. He is really describing not so much the Christian with his sensitive feelings and desires under due control, but the ideal Stoic who has deadened his feelings altogether. The perfect Christian leads a life of utter devotion the love in his heart prompts him to live always in closest union with God by prayer, to labour for the conversion of souls, to love his enemies, and even to endure martyrdom itself.
  Clement preceded the days of the Trinitarian controveries. He taught in the Godhead three Terms. Some critics doubt whether he distinguished them as Persons, but a careful reading of him proves that he did. The Second Terrn of the Trinity is the Word. Photius believed that Clement taught a plurality of Words, whereas in reality Clement merely drew a distinction between the Father's Divine immanent attribute of intelligence and the Personal Word Who is the Son. The Son is eternally begotten, and has the very attributes of the Father. They are but one God. So far, in fact, does Clement push this notion of unity as to seem to approach Modalism. And yet, so loose a writer is he that elsewhere are found disquieting traces of the very opposite error of Subordinationism. These, however, may be explained away. In fact, he needs to be judged, more than writers generally, not by a chance phrase here or there, but by the general drift of his teaching. Of the Holy Ghost he says little, and when he does refer to the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity he adheres closely to the language of Scripture. He acknowledges two natures in Christ. Christ is the Man-God, who profits us both as God and as man. Clement evidently regards Christ as one Person -- the Word. Instances of the interchange of idioms are frequent in his writings. Photius has accused Clement of Docetism. Clement, however, clearly admits in Christ a real body, but he thought this body exempt from the common needs of life, as eating and drinking, and the soul of Christ exempt from the movement of the passions, of joy, and of sadness.

Francis P. Havey, ed.
Transcribed by: Joseph P. Thomas
This text is cited July 2004 from The Catholic Encyclopedia, New Advent online edition URL below.

Clemens Alexandrinus, whose name was T. Flavius Clemens, usually surnamed Alexandrinus, is supposed to have been born at Athens, though he spent the greater part of his life at Alexandria. In this way the two statements in which he is called an Athenian and an Alexandrian (Epiphan. Haer. xxvii. 6) have been reconciled by Cave. In early life he was ardently devoted to the study of philosophy, and his thirst for knowledge led him to visit various countries - Greece, southern Italy, Coelo-Syria, Palestine, and Egypt.
  It appears, from his own account, that he had various Christian preceptors, of whom he speaks in terms of great respect. One of them was a Jew by birth, and several were from the East. At length, coming to Egypt, he sought out Pantaenus, master of the Christian school at Alexandria, to whose instructions he listened with much satisfaction, and whom he prized far more highly than all his former teachers. It is not certainly known whether he had embraced Christianity before hearing Pantaenus, or whether his mind had only been favourably inclined towards it in consequence of previous inquiries. Probably he first became a Christian under the influence of the precepts of Pantaenus, though Neander thinks otherwise. After he had joined the Alexandrian church, he became a presbyter, and about A. D. 190 he was chosen to be assistant to his beloved preceptor. In this latter capacity he continued until the year 202, when both principal and assistant were obliged to flee to Palestine in consequence of the persecution under Severus. In the beginning of Caracalla's reign he was at Jerusalem, to which city many Christians were then accustomed to repair in consequence of its hallowed spots. Alexander, bishop of Jerusalem, who was at that time a prisoner for the gospel, recommended him in a letter to the church at Antioch, representing him as a godly minister, a man both virtuous and wellknown, whom they had already seen, and who had confirmed and promoted the church of Christ. It is conjectured, that Pantaenus and Clement returned, after an absence of three years, in 206, though of this there is no certain evidence. He must have returned before 211, because at that time he succeeded Pantaenus as master of the school. Among his pupils was the celebrated Origen. Guerike thinks, that he died in 213; but it is better to assume with Cave and Schrockh, that his death did not take place till 220. Hence he flourished under the reigns of Severus and Caracalla, 193-217.
  It cannot safely be questioned, that Clement held the fundamental truths of Christianity and exhibited genuine piety. But in his mental character the philosopher predominated. His learning was great, his imagination lively, his power of perception not defective; but he was unduly prone to speculation. An eclectic in philosophy, he eagerly sought for knowledge wherever it could be obtained, examining every topic by the light of his own mind, and selecting out of all systems such truths as commended themselves to his judgment. "I espoused", says he, "not this or that philosophy, not the Stoic, nor the Platonic, nor the Epicurean, nor that of Aristotle; but whatever any of these sects had said that was fit and just, that taught righteousness with a divine and religious knowledge, all that being selected, I call philosophy". He is supposed to have leaned more to the Stoics than to any other sect. He seems, indeed, to have been more attached to philosophy than any of the fathers with the exception of Origen.
  In comprehensiveness of mind Clement was certainly deficient. He never develops great principles, but runs chiefly into minute details, which often become trifling and insipid. In the interpretation of the Scriptures he was guided by fancy rather than fixed rules deduced from common sense. He pursues no definite principles of exposition, neither does he penetrate into the essential nature of Christianity. His attainments in purely religious knowledge could never have been extensive, as no one doctrine is well stated. From his works no system of theology can be gathered. It were preposterous to recur to them for sound exegesis, or even a successful development of the duties of a Christian, much less for an enlightened estimate of the obligations under which men are laid to their Creator and to each other. It may be questioned, whether he had the ability to compose a connected system of theology, or a code of Christian morality. Doubtless great allowance should be made for the education and circumstances of the writer, the character of the age in which he lived, the persons for whom chiefly he wrote, the modes of thought then current, the entire circle of influences by which he was surrounded, the principal object he had in view; but after all deductions, much theological knowledge will not be attributed to him. The speculative philosopher is still more prominent than the theologian--the allegoriser rather than the expounder of the Bible appears--the metaphysician eclipses the Christian.
  The works of Clement which have reached us are his Logos Protreptikos pros Hellenas or Hortatory Address to the Greeks; Paidagogos, or Teacher; Stromateis, or Miscellanies; and Tis ho sozomenos Plousios; Quis Dives salvetur?. In addition to these, he wrote Hupotuposeis in eight books; Peri tou eascha, i. e. de Paschate; peri Nesteias, i. e. de Jejunio; peri Katalalias, i. e. de Obtrectatione; Protreptikos eis Hupomonen, i. e. Exhortatio ad Patientiam; Kanon Ekklesiastikos, i. e. Canon Ecclesiasticus, or de Canonibus Ecclesiasticis; eis ten Propheten Amos, On the Prophet Amos; peri Pronoias and Horoi diaphoroi. If the hupotuposeis be the same as the Adumbrationes mentioned by Cassiodorus, as is probable, various fragments of them are preserved and may be seen in Potter's edition. Perhaps the eklogai ek ton prophetikon, which are also given by Potter, were originally a part of the hupotuposeis. Among the fragments printed in the same edition are also ek ton Theodotou kai tes anatolikes kaloumenes didaskalias kata tous Oualentinou chronous epitomai, i e. extracts from the writings of Theodotus and the doctrine called oriental, relating to the times of Valentinus. Whether these excerpts were really made by Clement admits of doubt, though Sylburg remarks that the style and phraseology resemble those of the Alexandrine father. The fragments of his lost works have been industriously collected by Potter, in the second volume of his edition of Clement's works; but Fabricius, at the end of his second volume of the works of Hippolytus, published some of the fragments more fully, along with several not found in Potter's edition. There are also fragments in the Biblioth. Patr. of Galland. In various parts of his writings Clement speaks of other works which he had written or intended to write.
  His three principal works constitute parts of a whole. In the Hortatory Address his design was to convince the Heathens and to convert them to Christianity. It exposes the impurities of polytheism as contrasted with the spirituality of Christianity, and demonstrates the superiority of the gospel to the philosophy of the Gentile world by shewing, that it effectually purifies the motives and elevates the character. The Paedagogue takes up the new convert at the point to which he is supposed to have been brought by the hortatory address, and furnishes him with rules for the regulation of his conduct. In the first chapter he explains what he means by the term Paedagogue,-- one who instructs children, leading them up to manhood through the paths of truth. This preceptor is none other than Jesus Christ, and the children whom he trains up are simple, sincere believers. The author goes into minutiae and trifling details, instead of dwelling upon great precepts applicable to human life in all circumstances. The Stromata are in eight books, but probably the last book did not proceed from Clement himself. The treatise is rambling and discursive, without system, order, or method, but contains much valuable information on many points of antiquity, particularly the history of philosophy. The principal information respecting Egyptian hieroglyphics is contained in the fifth book of this work of Clement. His object was to delineate in it the perfect Christian or Gnostic, after he had been instructed by the Teacher and thus prepared for sublime speculations in philosophy and theology. The eighth book is a treatise on logic, so that the original seems to have been lost, and this one substituted in its place. Bishop Kaye, however, inclines to the opinion, that it is a genuine production of Clement. The treatise entitled tis ho sozomenos is practical, shewing to what temptations the rich are particularly exposed. It has the appearance of a homily. His Hypotyposes in eight books (hupotuposeis, translated adumbrationes by Cassiodorus) contained, according to Eusebius (Hist. Eccl. iv. 14), a summary exposition of the books of Scripture. Photius gives a most unfavourable account of it, affirming that it contained many fabulous and impious notions similar to those of the Gnostic heretics. But at the same time he suggests, that these monstrous sentiments may not have proceeded from Clement, as there is nothing similar to them in his acknowledged works. Most probably they were interpolated.

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Nov 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Sts. Chrysanthus & Daria

Sts. Chrysanthus & Daria. Roman martyrs, buried on the Via Salaria Nova. The two martyrs were revered in Rome in the fourth century, as the appearance of their names in the “Martyrologium Hieronymianum” proves.
  The existing Acts of these Martyrs are without historical value; they did not originate until the fifth century, and are compiled in two texts--a longer one, written originally in Greek, but afterwards translated into Latin, and a shorter one in Latin. The historical notices of Chrysanthus and Daria in the so-called historical martyrologies of the West, as in the Greek synaxaria, go back to the legend which makes Chrysanthus the son of the noble Polemius of Alexandria. He came to Rome with his father and was converted by the presbyter Carpophorus. Everything was done to make him apostatize. Daria, a beautiful and very intelligent Vestal, entered into relations with him, but she herself was won over to the Christian Faith by Chrysanthus, and both concluded a virginal matrimonial union. Chrysanthus and Daria were condemned to death, led to a sandpit in the Via Salaria, and there stoned to death.
  The story, apart from the assured fact of their martyrdom and the veneration of their tombs, has, perhaps, some historical value, in assigning the date to the reign of the Emperor Numerianus (283-84). There is another martyrdom closely connected with the tomb of the two saints, which is related at the end of the Acts of these martyrs. After the death of Chrysantus and Daria, when many of the faithful of Rome were assembled at their tomb to celebrate the anniversary of their death, they were surprised by the persecutors, who filled in with stones and earth the subterranean crypt where the Christians were assembled, so that all perished. Later, when the tomb of Sts. Chrysanthus and Daria was looked for and found, the bones of these martyrs, and even the liturgical silver vessels, which they used for the celebration of the Eucharist, were also discovered. Everything was left as it was found, and a wall was erected so that no one could enter the place.
  In the ninth century the remains of Sts. Chrysanthus and Daria were brought to Prum and were thence transferred to Munstereifel in Rhenish Prussia, where they are still greatly venerated. The feast of these saints stands in the Roman Martyrology on the 25th of October. The Greeks celebrate their feast on l9 March.

J.P. Kirsch, ed.
Transcribed by: Joseph P. Thomas
This extract is cited May 2003 from The Catholic Encyclopedia, New Advent online edition URL below.

St. Cyrillus

St. Cyrillus (Kurillos), was a native of Alexandria, and nephew of Theophilus, bishop of the same place. The year of his birth is not known. After having been a presbyter of the church at Alexandria, he succeeded to the episcopal chair on the death of Theophilus, A. D. 412. To this office he was no sooner elevated than he gave full scope to those dispositions and desires that guided him through an unquiet life. Unbounded ambition and vindictiveness, jealousy of opponents, illdirected cunning, apparent zeal for the truth, and an arrogant desire to lord it over the churches, constituted the character of this vehement patriarch. His restless and turbulent spirit, bent on self-aggrandisement, presents an unfavourable portrait to the impartial historian. Immediately after his elevation, he entered with vigour on the duties supposed to devolve on the prelate of so important a city. He banished from it the Jews, who are said to have been attempting violence towards the Christians, threw down their synagogue and plundered it, quarrelled with Orestes, and set himself to oppose heretics and heathens on every side. According to Socrates, he also shut up the churches of the Novatians, took away all their sacred vessels and ornaments, and deprived Theopemptus, their bishop, of all he had (Histor. Eccles. vii. 7). But his efforts were chiefly directed against Nestorius, bishop of Constantinople; and the greater part of his life was passed amid agitating scenes, resulting from this persevering opposition. In consequence of an epistle written by Cyril to the Egyptian monks which had been carried to Constantinople, Nestorius and his friends were naturally offended. When Cyril understood how much Nestorius had teen hurt by this letter, he wrote to him in justification of his conduct, and in explanation of his faith, to which Nestorius replied in a calm and dignified tone. Cyril's answer repeats the admonitions of his first letter, expounds anew his doctrine of the union of natures in Christ, and defends it against the consequences deduced in his opponent's letter. Nestorius was afterwards induced by Lampon, a presbyter of the Alexandrian church, to write a short letter to Cyril breathing the true Christian spirit.
  In the mean time the Alexandrine prelate was endeavouring to lessen the influence of his opponent by statements addressed to the emperor, and also to the princesses Pulcheria, Arcadia, and Marinia; but Theodosius was not disposed to look upon him with a friendly eye because of such epistles; for he feared that the prelate aimed at exciting disagreement and discord in the imperial household. Cyril also wrote to Celestine, bishop of Rome, informing him of the heresy of Nestorius, and asking his co-operation against it. The Roman bishop had previously received some account of the controversy from Nestorius; though, from ignorance of Greek, he had not been able to read the letters and discourses of the Constantinopolitan prelate. In consequence of Cyril's statement, Celestine held a council at Rome, and passed a decree, that Nestorius should be deposed in ten days unless he recanted. The execution of this decree was entrusted to Cyril. The Roman prelate also sent several letters through Cyril, one of which, a circular letter to the Eastern patriarchs and bishops, Cyril forwarded with additional letters from himself. This circular was afterwards sent by John of Antioch to Nestorins. Soon after (A. D. 430), he assembled a synod at Alexandria, and set forth the truth in opposition to Nestorius's tenets in twelve heads or anathemas, A letter was also drawn up addressed to Nestorius another to the officers and members of the church at Constantinople, inciting them to oppose their patriarch, and a third to the monks. With these anathemas he sent four bishops as legates to Nestorius, requiring of him to subscribe them if he wished to remain in the communion of the Catholic church and retain his see. Celestine's letter, which he had kept back till now, was also despatched. But Nestorius refused to retract, and answered the anathemas by twelve anti-anathemas. In consequence of these mutual excommunications and recriminatory letters, the emperor Theodosius the Second was induced to summon a general council at Ephesus, commonly reckoned the third oecumenical council, which was held A. D. 431. To this council Cyril and many bishops subservient to his views repaired. The pious Isidore in vain remonstrated with the fiery Alexandrine prelate. Nestorius was accompanied by two imperial ministers of state, one of whom had the command of soldiers to protect the council. Cyril presided, and urged on the business with impatient haste. Nestorius and the imperial commissioners requested that the proceedings might be delayed till the arrival of John of Antioch and the other [p. 918] eastern bishops, and likewise of the Italian and Sicilian members; but no delay was allowed. Nestorius was condemned as a heretic. On the 27th of June, five days after the commencement of the council, John of Antioch, Theodoret, and the other eastern bishops, arrived. Uniting themselves with a considerable part of the council who were opposed to Cyril's proceedings, they held a separate synod, over which John presided, and deposed both Cyril and Memnon his associate. Both, however, were soon after restored by the emperor, while Nestorius was compelled to return to his cloister at Antioch. The emperor, though at first opposed to Cyril, was afterwards wrought upon by various representations, and by the intrigues of the monks, many of whom were bribed by the Alexandrian prelate. Such policy procured many friends at court, while Nestorius having also fallen under the displeasure of Pulcheria, the emperor's sister, was abandoned, and obliged to retire from the city into exile. Having triumphed over his enemy at Ephesus, Cyril returned to Egypt. But the deposition of Nestorius had separated the eastern from the western churches, particularly those in Egypt. In A. D. 432, Cyril and the eastern bishops were exhorted by the emperor to enter into terms of peace. In pursuance of such a proposal, Paul of Emesa, in the name of the Orientals. brought an exposition of the faith to Alexandria, sufficiently catholic to be subscribed by Cyril. He returned with another from Cyril, to be subscribed by the Easterns. This procured peace for a little while. But the spirit of the Alexandrian bishop could not easily rest; and soon after the disputes were renewed, particularly between him and Theodoret. In such broils he continued to be involved till his death, A. D. 444.
  According to Cave, Cyril possessed piety and indomitable zeal for the Catholic faith. But if we may judge of his piety by his conduct, he is scarcely entitled to this character. His learning was considerable according to the standard of the times in which he lived. He had a certain kind of acuteness and ingenuity which frequently bordered on the mystical; but in philosophical comprehension and in metaphysical acumen he was very defective. Theodoret brings various accusations against him, which represent him in an unamiable and even an unorthodox light. He charges him with holding that there was but one nature in Christ; but this seems to be only a consequence derived from his doctrine, just as Cyril deduced from Nestorius's writings a denial of the divine nature in Christ. Theodoret, however, brings another accusation against him which cannot easily be set aside, viz. his having caused Hypatia, a noble Alexandrian lady addicted to the study of philosophy, to be torn to pieces by the populace. Cave, who is partial to Cyril, does not deny the fact, though he thinks it incredible and inconsistent with Cyril's character to assert that he sanctioned such a proceeding. (Suidas, s. v. Gpatia.)
  As an interpreter of Scripture, Cyril belongs to the allegorising school, and therefore his exegetical works are of no value. In a literary view also, his writings are almost worthless. They develop the characteristic tendency of the Egyptian mind, its proneness to mysticism rather than to clear and accurate conceptions in regard to points requiring to be distinguished. His style is thus characterised by Photius (Cod. 49): ho de lopsos antoi pepoiemenos kai eis idiazonsan idean ekbebiasmenos kai oon lelumene kai to metron huperorosa puiesis. In his work against Julian, it is more florid than usual, though never rising to beauty or elegance. It is generally marked by considerable obscurity and ruggedness.

Cyril's extant works are the following:
Glaphyra (i. e. polished or highly-wrought commentaries) on the Pentateuch. This work appeared at Paris in Latin, 1605; and was afterwards published in Greek and Latin by A. Schott, Antwerp, 1618.
Concerning adoration and worship in spirit and in truth, in 17 books.
Commentaries on Isaiah, in 5 books.
A Commentary on the twelve minor Prophets. This was separately published in Greek and Latin at Ingolstadt, 1605.
A Commentary on John, in 10 books.
A treatise (thesaurus) concerning the holy and consubstantial Trinity.
Seven dialogues concerning the holy and consubstantial Trinity. To these a compendium of the seventh dialogue is subjoined, or a summary of the arguments adduced in it.
Two dialogues, one concerning the incarnation of the only-begotten, the other proving that Christ is one and the Lord. These dialogues, when taken with the preceding, make the eighth and ninth.
Scholia on the incarnation of the only-begotten. Far the greater part of the Greek text is wanting. They exist entire only in the Latin version of Mercator.
Another brief tract on the same subject.
A treatise concerning the right faith, addressed to the emperor Theodosius. It begins with the third chapter.
Thirty paschal homilies. These were published separately at Antwerp in 1618.
Fourteen homilies on various topics. The last exists only in Latin.
Sixty-one epistles. The fourth is only in Latin. Some in this collection were written by others, by Nestorius, Acacius, John of Antioch, Celestine, bishop of Rome, &c., &c.
Five books against Nestorius, published in Greek and Latin at Rome, in 1608.
An explanation of the twelve chapters or anathemas.
An apology for the twelve chapters, in opposition to the eastern bishops.
An apology for the same against Theodoret.
An apology addressed to the emperor Theodosius, written about the close of A. D. 431.
Ten books against Julian, written A. D. 433.
A treatise against the Anthropomorphites.
A treatise upon the Trinity.

Of his lost works mention is made by Liberatus of "Three books against excerpts of Diodorus and Theodorus". Fragments of this work are found in the Acts of Synods. Gennadius says, that he wrote a treatise concerning the termination of the Synagogue, and concerning the faith against heretics. Ephrem of Antioch speaks of a treatise on impassibility and another upon suffering. Eustratius of Constantinople cites a fragment from Cyril's oration against those who say that we should not offer up petitions for such as have slept in the faith. Nineteen homilies on Jeremiah were edited in Greek and Latin by Corderius, at Antwerp, 1648, under the name of Cyril; but it has been ascertained that they belong to Origen, with the exception of the last, which was written by Clement of Alexandria. A liturgy inscribed to Cyril, translated from Arabic into Latin by Victor Scialac, was published at Augsburg, 1604. Cyril's works were published in Latin by George of Trebizond at Basel in 1546; by Gentianus Hervetus at Paris, 1573, 1605. They were published in Greek and Latin by Aubert, Paris, 1638. This is the best edition.

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Nov 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

St. Cyrus

St. Cyrus, was a native of Alexandria, where he practised medicine gratuitously and with great reputation. He was a Christian, and took every opportunity of endeavouring to convert his patients from paganism. During the persecution of Diocletian he fled to Arabia, where he was said to heal diseases not so much by his medicines as by miraculous powers. He was put to death with many tortures by the command of the prefect Syrianus, in company with several other martyrs, A. D. 300; and his remains were carried to Rome, and there buried. His memory is celebrated on the thirty-first of January both by the Romish and Greek churches.

St. Dionysius the Great

St. Dionysius the Great. Called the Great, by Eusebius, St. Basil, and others, was undoubtedly, after St. Cyprian, the most eminent bishop of the third century. He was less a great theologian than a great administrator. His writings usually took the form of letters. He was a convert from paganism and was engaged in the controversies as to the restoration of those who had lapsed in the Decian persecution, about Novatian, and with regard to the iteration of heretical baptism. A single letter of Dionysius has been preserved in Greek canon law. For the rest we are dependent on the many citations by Eusebius, and, for one phase, to the works of his great successor St. Athanasius.
  Dionysius was an old man when he died, so that his birth will fall about 190, or earlier. He is said to have been of distinguished parentage. He became a Christian when still young. He studied under Origen. The latter was banished by Demetrius about 231, and Heraclas took his place at the head of the catechetical school. On the death of Demetrius very soon afterwards, Heraclas became bishop, and Dionysius took the headship of the famous school.
  In the last year of Philip, 249, although the emperor himself was reported to be a Christian, a riot at Alexandria, roused by a popular prophet and poet, had all the effect of a severe persecution. The houses of the faithful were plundered. Not one, so far as the bishop knew, apostatized. It was impossible for any Christian to go into the streets, even at night, for the mob was shouting that all who would not blaspheme should be burnt. The riot was stopped by the civil war, but the new Emperor Decius instituted a legal persecution in January, 250. St. Cyprian describes how at Carthage the Christians rushed to sacrifice, or at least to obtain false certificates of having done so. Similarly Dionysius tells us that at Alexandria many conformed through fear, others on account of official position, or persuaded by friends; some pale and trembling at their act, others boldly asserting that they had never been Christians. Some endured imprisonment for a time; others abjured only at the sight of tortures; others held out until the tortures conquered their resolution. But there were noble instances of constancy. Numbers were martyred in the cities and villages. After the persecution the pestilence. Many priests, deacons, and persons of merit died from succouring others.
  An Egyptian bishop, Nepos, taught the Chiliastic error that there would be a reign of Christ upon earth for a thousand years, a period of corporal delights; he founded this doctrine upon the Apocalypse in a book entitled “Refutation of the Allegorizers”. It was only after the death of Nepos that Dionysius found himself obliged to write two books “On the Promises” to counteract this error. St. Dionysius went in person to the villages, called together the priests and teachers, and for three days instructed them, refuting the arguments they drew from the book of Nepos. At length Korakion, who had introduced the book and the doctrine, declared himself convinced. Dionysius treats the Apocalypse with reverence, and declares it to be full of hidden mysteries.
  The Emperor Valerian, whose accession was in 253, did not persecute until 257. In that year St. Dionysius was banished to Kephro in the Mareotis, after being tried together with one priest and two deacons before Aemilianus, the prefect of Egypt. Dionysius was spared, and returned to Alexandria directly toleration was decreed by Gallienus in 260. But not to peace, for in 261-2 the city was in a state of tumult little less dangerous than a persecution. Famine and pestilence raged anew. The inhabitants of what was still the second city of the world had decreased.
  We find Dionysius issuing yearly, like the later bishops of Alexandria, festal letters announcing the date of Easter and dealing with various matters. When the heresy of Paul of Samosata, Bishop of Antioch, began to trouble the East, Dionysius wrote to the Church of Antioch on the subject, as he was obliged to decline the invitation to attend a synod there, on the score of his age and infirmities. He died soon afterwards.

John Chapman, ed.
Transcribed by: WG Kofron
This extract is cited May 2003 from The Catholic Encyclopedia, New Advent online edition URL below.

Dionysius. Bishop of Alexandria, was probably a native of the same city. He was born of pagan parents, who were persons of rank and influence. He studied the doctrines of the various philosophical sects, and this led him at last to embrace Christianity. Origen, who was one of his teachers, had probably great influence upon this step of his pupil. After having been a presbyter for some time, he succeeded, about A. D. 232, Heraclas as the head of the theological school at Alexandria, and after the death of Heraclas. who had been raised to the bishopric of Alexandria, Dionysius succeeded him in the see, A. D. 247. During the persecution of the Christians by Decius, Dionysius was seized by the soldiers and carried to Taposiris, a small town between Alexandria and Canopus, probably with a view of putting him to death there. But he escaped from captivity in a manner which lie himself describes very minutely (ap. Euseb. Hist. Eccl. vi. 40). He had, however, to suffer still more severely in A. D. 257, during the persecution which the emperor Valerian instituted againist the Christians. Dionysius made an open confession of his faith before the emperor's praefect Aemilianus, and was exiled in consequence to Cephro, a desert district of Libya, whither he was compelled to proceed forthwith, although he was severely ill at the time. After an exile of three years, an edict of Gallienus in favour of the Christians enabled him to return to Alexandria, where henceforth he was extremely zealous in combating heretical opinions. In his attacks against Sabellius he was carried so far by his zeal, that he uttered tlings which were themselves incompatible with the orthodox faith; but when he was taken to accountby Dionysius, bishop of Rome, who convoked a synod for the purpose, he readily owned that he had acted rashly and inconsiderately. In A. D. 265 he was invited to a synod at Antioch, to dispute with Paulus of Samosata, but being prevented from going thither by old age and infirmity, he wrote a letter to the synod on the subject of the controversy to be discussed, and soon after, in the same year, he died, after having occupied the see of Alexandria for a period of seventeen years. The church of Rome regards Dionysius as a saint, and celebrates his memory on the 18th of October. We learn from Epiphanes (Haeres. 69), that at Alexandria a church was dedicated to him. Dionysius wrote a considerable number of theological works, consisting partly of treatises and partly of epistles addressed to the heads of churches and to communities, but all that is left us of them consists of fragments preserved in Eusebius and others. A complete list of his works is given by Cave, from which we mention only the most important. 1. On Promises, in two books, was directed against Nepos, and two considerable fragments of it are still extant. (Euseb. H. E. iii. 28, vii. 24.) 2. A work addressed to Dionysius, bishop of Rome, in four books or epistles, against Sabellius. Dionysius here excused the hasty assertions of which he himself had been guilty in attacking Sabellius. A great number of fragments and extracts of it are preserved in the writings of Athanasiuis and Basilius. 3. A work addressed to Timotheus, " On Nature," of which extracts are preserved in Eusebius. (Praep. Exang. xiv. 23, 27.) Of his Epistles also numerous fragments are extant in the works of Eusebius. All that is extant of Dionysius, is collected in Gallandi's Bibl. Patr. iii., and in the separate collection by Simon de Magistris, Rome, 1796, fol. (Cave, Hist. Lit. i.)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Oct 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

St. Euphrosyne the Nun

  Died about 470. Her story belongs to that group of legends which relate how Christian virgins, in order the more successfully to lead the life of celibacy and asceticism to which they had dedicated themselves, put on male attire and passed for men.
  According to the narrative of her life in the “Vitae Patrum”, Euphrosyne was the only daughter of Paphnutius, a rich man of Alexandria, who desired to marry her to a wealthy youth. But having consecrated her life to God and apparently seeing no other means of keeping this vow, she clothed herself as a man and under the name of Smaragdus gained admittance into a monastery of men near Alexandria, where she lived for thirty-eight years after. She soon attracted the attention of the abbot by the rapid strides which she made toward a perfect ascetic life, and when Paphnutius appealed to him for comfort in his sorrow, the abbot committed the latter to the care of the alleged young man Smaragdus. The father received from his own daughter, whom he failed to recognize, helpful advice and comforting exhortation. Not until she was dying did she reveal herself to him as his lost daughter Euphrosyne. After her death Paphnutius also entered the monastery. Her feast is celebrated in the Greek Church on 25 September, in the Roman Church on 16 January.

J.P. Kirsch, ed.
Transcribed by: W.G Kofron
This text is cited May 2003 from The Catholic Encyclopedia, New Advent online edition URL below.

St. Thais

  A penitent in Egypt in the fourth century. In the Greek menology her name occurs on 8 Oct., it is found also in the martyrologies of Maurolychus and Greven, but not in the Roman. The saint is represented burning her treasures and ornaments, or praying in a cell and displaying a scroll with the words: “Thou who didst create me have mercy on me”.
  According to the legend Thais was a public sinner in Egypt who was converted by St. Paphnutius, brought to a convent and enclosed in a cell. After three years of penance she was released and placed among the nuns, but lived only fourteen days more.

Francis Mershman, ed.
Transcribed by: C.A. Montgomery
This extract is cited May 2003 from The Catholic Encyclopedia, New Advent online edition URL below.

St. Heraclas

  Bishop of Alexandria from 231 or 232; to 247 or 248.
  Heraclas was probably at least five years older than Origen, who was born in 185. Yet when Origen in his eighteenth year was obliged by his father's martyrdom and the consequent confiscation of his goods to commence teaching grammar (for a short time) and philosophy, Heraclas and his brother Plutarch were the first pupils of the young teacher. Origen converted them both to Christianity, and St. Plutarch soon suffered for the faith, being the first of Origen's pupils to gain the crown of martyrdom.
  Heraclas gave a great example of philosophical life and askesis and it was his reputation for knowledge of philosophy and Greek learning that drew Julius Africanus to visit Alexandria. In course of time Origen chose Heraclas as his assistant in the catechetical to teach the beginners. Heraclas was made a priest by the long-lived Bishop Demetrius. When in 231 the latter condemned Origen, Heraclas became head of the school. Soon afterwards he succeeded Demetrius as bishop. According to Theophilus of Alexandria, when Origen returned to the city, Heraclas deposed him from the priesthood and banished him.
  Heraclas was succeeded in the third year of the Emperor Philip, by St. Dionysius, who had previously been his successor as head of the catechetical school. Heraclas was inserted by Usuard in his martyrology on 14 July, and he has thus come into the Roman Martyrology on that day. The Copts and Ethiopians celebrate his feast on 4 Dec.

John Chapman, ed.
Transcribed by: Douglas J. Potter
This extract is cited May 2003 from The Catholic Encyclopedia, New Advent online edition URL below.

St. Peter of Alexandria

  Became Bishop of Alexandria in 300; martyred Nov., 311. According to Philip of Sidetes he was at one time head of the famous catechetical school at Alexandria. His theological importance lies in the fact that he marked, very probably initiated, the reaction at Alexandria against extreme Origenism.
  When during the Diocletian persecution Peter left Alexandria for concealment, the Meletian schism broke out. There are three different accounts of this schism: (1) According to three Latin documents (translation from lost Greek originals) published by Maffei, Meletius (or Melitius), Bishop of Lycopolis, took advantage of St. Peter's absence to usurp his patriarchal functions, and contravened the canons by consecrating bishops to sees not vacant, their occupants being in prison for the Faith. Four of them remonstrated, but Meletius took no heed of them and actually went to Alexandria, where, at the instigation of one Isidore, and Arius the future heresiarch, he set aside those left in charge by Peter and appointed others. Upon this Peter excommunicated him. (2) St. Athanasius accuses Meletius not only of turbulent and schismatical conduct, but of sacrificing, and denouncing Peter to the emperor. There is no incompatibility betweeen the Latin documents and St. Athanasius, but the statement that Meletius sacrificed must be received with caution; it was probably based upon rumour arising out of the immunity which he appeared to enjoy. At all events nothing was heard about the charge at the Council of Nic?a. (3) According to St. Epiphanius (Haer., 68), Meletius and St. Peter quarrelled over the reconciliation of the lapsi, the former inclining to sterner views. Epiphanius probably derived his information from a Meletian source, and his story is full of historical blunders. Thus, to take one example, Peter is made a fellow-prisoner of Meletius and is martyred in prison. According to Eusebius his martyrdom was unexpected, and therefore not preceded by a term of imprisonment.
  There are extant a collection of fourteen canons issued by Peter in the third year of the persecution dealing chiefly with the lapsi, excerpted probably from an Easter Festal Epistle. The fact that they were ratified by the Council of Trullo, and thus became part of the canon law of the Eastern Church, probably accounts for their preservation. Many MSS. contain a fifteenth canon taken from writing on the Passover. The cases of different kinds of lapsi were decided upon in these canons.
  The Acts of the martyrdom of St. Peter are too late to have any historical value. In them is the story of Christ appearing to St. Peter with His garment rent, foretelling the Arian schism. Three passages from "On the Godhead", apparently written against Origen's subordinationist views, were quoted by St. Cyril at the Council of Ephesus. Two further passages (in Syriac) claiming to be from the same book, were printed by Pitra in "Analecta Sacra", IV, 188; their genuineness is doubtful. Leontius of Byzantium quotes a passage affirming the two Natures of Christ from a work on "The Coming of Christ", and two passages from the first book of a treatise against the view that the soul had existed and sinned before it was united to the body. This treatise must have been written against Origen. Very important are seven fragments preserved in Syriac (Pitra, op. cit., IV, 189-93) from another work on the Resurrection, in which the identity of the risen with the earthly body is maintained against Origen.
  Five Armenian fragments were also published by Pitra (op. cit., IV, 430 sq.). Two of these correspond with one of the doubtful Syriac fragments. The remaining three are probably Monophysite forgeries (Harnack, "Altchrist. Lit.", 447). A fragment quoted by the Emperor Justinian in his Letter to the Patriarch Mennas, purporting to be taken from a Mystagogia of St. Peter's, is probably spurious (see Routh, "Reliq. Sac.", III, 372; Harnack, op. cit., 448). The "Chronicon Paschale" gives a long extract from a supposed writing of Peter on the Passover. This is condemned as spurious by a reference to St. Athanasius (which editors often suppress) unless, indeed, the reference is an interpolation. A fragment first printed by Routh from a Treatise "On Blasphemy" is generally regarded as spurious. A Coptic fragment on the keeping of Sunday, published by Schmidt (Texte und Untersuchung., IV) has been ruled spurious by Delehaye, in whose verdict critics seem to acquiesce. Other Coptic fragments have been edited with a translation by Crum in the "Journal of Theological Studies" (IV, 287 sqq.). Most of these come from the same manuscript as the fragment edited by Schmidt. Their editor says: "It would be difficult to maintain the genuineness of these texts after Delehaye's criticisms (Anal. Bolland., XX, 101), though certain of the passages, which I have published may indicate interpolated, rather than wholly apocryphal compositions."

F.J. Bacchus, ed.
Transcribed by: WG Kofron
This text is cited May 2003 from The Catholic Encyclopedia, New Advent online edition URL below.

St. Pierius

  A priest and probably head master of the catechetical school at Alexandria conjointly with Achillas, died at Rome after 309. His skill as an exegetical writer and as a preacher gained for him the appellation, “Origen the Younger”. Philip of Side, Photius, and others assert that he was a martyr. However, since St. Jerome assures us that he survived the Diocletian persecution and spent the rest of his life at Rome, the term "martyr" can only mean that he underwent sufferings, not death, for his Faith.The Roman Martyrology commemorates him on 4 November.
  He wrote a work (biblion) comprising twelve treatises or sermons (logoi), in some of which he repeats the dogmatic errors attributed by some authors to Origen, such as the subordination of the Holy Ghost to the Father and the Son, and the pre-existence of human souls. His known sermons are: one on the Gospel of St. Luke (eis to kata Loukan); an Easter sermon on Osee (eis to pascha kai ton Osee); a sermon on the Mother of God (peri tes theotokou); a few other Easter sermons; and a eulogy on St. Pamphilus, who had been one of his disciples (eis ton bion tou hagiou Pamphilou). Only some fragments of his writings are extant.

Michael Ott, ed.
Transcribed by: Douglas J. Potter
This extract is cited May 2003 from The Catholic Encyclopedia, New Advent online edition URL below.

St. Macarius the Alexandrian

Macarius the Alexandrian. Also called ho politikos either in reference to his city birth or polished manners; died about 405. He was a younger contemporary of Macarius the Egyptian, but there is no reason for confounding or identifying him with his older namesake. More than any of the hermits of the time he exemplified the spirit of emulation characteristic of this stage of monasticism. He would be excelled by none in his austerities. Palladius asserts "if he ever heard of any one having performed a work of asceticism, he was all on fire to do the same". Because the monks of Tabennisi eschewed cooked food in Lent he abstained for seven years. Once, in expiation of a fault, he lay for six months in a morass, exposed to the attacks of the African gnats, whose sting can pierce even the hide of a wild boar. When he returned to his companions he was so much disfigured that he could be recognized only by his voice. He is credited with the composition of a rule for monks, though his authorship is now generally denied.
[Note: Saint Macarius the Younger (the Alexandrian) is named in the Roman Martyrology on 2 January, Saint Macarius the Elder (the Egyptian) on 15 January; in Byzantine liturgical calendars, both Saints are commemorated on 19 January.]

Patrick J. Healy, ed.
Transcribed by: Herman F. Holbrook
This text is cited July 2004 from The Catholic Encyclopedia, New Advent online edition URL below.

Macarius. Of ALEXANDRIA, contemporary with the foregoing, from whom he is distinguished by the epithet ALEXANDRINUS (ho Alexandreus), or POLITICUS (Politikos), i.e. URBICUS, and sometimes JUNIOR. Palladius, who lived with him three years, has given a tolerably long account of him in his Historia Lausiaca, c. 20; but it chiefly consists of a record of his supposed miracles. He was a native of Alexandria where he followed the trade of a confectioner, and must not be confounded with Macarius, the presbyter of Alexandria, who is mentioned by Socrates (H. E. i. 27) and Sozomen (H. E. ii. 22), and who was accused of sacrilegious violence towards Ischyras. Our Macarius forsook his trade to follow a monastic life, in which he attained such excellence, that Palladius (ibid. c. 19) says that, though younger than Macarius the Egyptian, he surpassed even him in the practice of asceticism. Neither the time nor the occasion of his embracing a solitary life is known, for the Macarius mentioned by Sozomen (H. E. vi. 29) appears to be a different person. Tillemont has endeavoured to show that his retirement took place not later than A. D. 335, but he founds his calculation on a misconception of a passage of Palladius. Macarius was ordained priest after the Egyptian Macarius, i. e. after A. D. 340, and appears to have lived chiefly in that part of the desert of Nitria which, from the number of the solitaries who had their dwellings there, was termed "the Cells" ("Cellae," or "Cellulae," ta kellia); but frequently visited, perhaps for a time dwelt, in other parts of the great Lybian wilderness, and occasionally at least of the wilderness between the Nile and the Red Sea. Galland says he became at length archimandrite of Nitria, but does not cite his authority, which was probably the MS. inscription to his Regula given below, and which is of little value. Philippus Sidetes calls him a teacher and catechist of Alexandria, but with what correctness seems very doubtful. Various anecdotes recorded of him represent him as in company with the other Macarius and with St. Antony. Many miracles are ascribed to him. most of which are recorded by Palladius either as leaving been seen by himself, or as resting on the authority of the saint's former companions, but they are frivolous and absurd. Macarius shared the exile of his namesake [No. 1] in the persecution which the Arians carried on against the orthodox. He died, according to Tillemont's calculation, in A. D. 394, but according to Fabricius, in A. D. 404, at the age of 100, in which case he must have been nearly as old as Macarius the Egyptian. He is commemorated in the Roman Calendar on the 2d January, and by the Greeks on the 19th January. Socrates describes him as characterized by cheerfulness of temper and kindness to his juniors, qualities which induced many of them to embrace an ascetic life. (Socrat. H. E. iv. 23, 24; Sozom. H. E. iii. 14, vi. 20; Theodoret. H. E. iv. 21; Rufin. H.E. ii. 4; and apud Heribert Rosweyd, De Vita et Verbis Senior. ii. 29; Pallad. Hist. Lausiac. c. 20; Bolland. Acta Sanctor. a. d. 2 Januar.; Tillemont, Memoires, vol. viii. p. 626, &c.)
  To this Macarius are ascribed the following works'--I. Rrgula S. Macarii qui habuit sub Ordinatione sua quinque Millia Monachorum. This Regula, which is extant in a Latin version, consists of thirty " Capita," and must be distinguished from another, which is also extant in a Latin version, under the title of Regula SS. Serapionis, Macarii, Paphnutii et alterius Macarii; to which the first of the two Macarii contributed capp. v--viii., and the second ("alter Macarius") capp. xiii.--xvi. Tillemont and others consider these two Macarii to be the Egyptian and the Alexandrian, and apparently with reason. The Reyula S. Macarii, which some have supposed to be the Epistola of Macarius the Egyptian [No. 1] mentioned by Gennadius, is ascribed to the Alexandrian by S. Benedict of Anagni, Holstenius, Tillemont, Fabricius, and Galland. Cave hesitates to receive it as genuine. II. Epistola B. Macarii data ad Monachos. A Latin version of this is subjoined to the Regular; it is short and sententious in style. The Regula was first printed in the Historia Monasterii S. Joannis Reomaensis of the Jesuit Rouerus (Rouviere), 4to. Paris. 1637; and was reprinted together with the Epistola, in the Codex Regularum of Holstenius (4to. Rome, 1661), and in the Bibliotheca Patrum of Galland, vol. vii. fol. Venice, 1770. III. Tou hagiou Makariou tou Alexandreos logos peri exodou psuches dikaion kai hamartolon: to pos chorizonrtai ek tou somatos, kai pos eisin, Sancti Macarii Alexandrini Sermo de Exitu Animae Justorum et Peccatorum: quotmodo separantur a Corpore, et in quo Statu manent. This was printed, with a Latin version, by Cave (who, however, regarded it as the forgery of some later Greek writer), in the notice of Macarius in his Historia Litteraria ad ann. 373 (vol. i. fol. Lond. 1688, and Oxford, 1740-1742); and was again printed, more correctly, by Tollius, in his Insignia Itineris Italici, 4to. Utrecht, 1696. Tollius was not aware that it had been printed by Cave. It is given, with the other works of Macarius of Alexandria, an the Bibliotheca Patrum of Galland. In one MS. at Vienna it is ascribed to Alexander. an ascetic and disciple of Macarius. Cave is disposed to ascribe to Macarius of Alexandria the Honmiliae of Macarius the Egyptian. (Cave, l. c.; Fabric. Bibl. Graec. vol. viii. p. 365; Holsten. Codex Regularum, vol. i. pp. 10-14, 18-21, ed. Augsburg, 1759; Galland, Biblioth. Patr. Proleg. to vol. vii.; Tilleniont, Memoires, vol. viii. pp. 618, 648; Ceillier, Auteurs Sacres, vol. vii. p. 712, &c.)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Oct 2006 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

St. Abilius

Third bishop of Alexandria, Egypt. He succeded Sts. Mark and Anianus. Eusebius reported that Abilius was appointed bishop circa 84.
Feastday: Febuary 22

St. Achillas

d. 313, Feastday: November 7

St. Alexander, the Martyr

d.250, feastday: December 12

St. Andronicus

d. 5th century, feastday: October 9

St. Aphrodisius

d. unknown, feastday: April 30

St. Cointha

d. 249, feastday: February 8

St. Dionysius, Martyr of Alexandria

d. 257, feastday: October 3

St. Eugenia

Feastday: December 25

St. Eutychius of Alexandria

d. 356, feastday: March 26

St. Faustus

d.c. 311, feastday: November 26

Sts Gordianus and Epimachus

  Martyrs, suffered under Julian the Apostate, 362, commemorated on 10 May. Gordianus was a judge but was so moved by the sanctity and sufferings of the saintly priest, Januarius, he embraced Christianity with many of his household. Being accused before his successor, or as some say before the prefect of the city, Apronianus, he was cruelly tortured and finally beheaded. His body was carried off by the Christians, and laid in a crypt on the Latin Way beside the body of St. Epimachus, who had been recently interred there. The two saints gave their name to the cemetery, and have ever since been joined together in the veneration of the Church.

John F.X. Murphy, ed.
Transcribed by: Joseph P. Thomas
This extract is cited May 2003 from The Catholic Encyclopedia, New Advent online edition URL below.

St. Thomais

d. 476, feastday: April 14 (Catholic)

St. Ischyrion, martyr of Egypt

d. 250, feastday: June 1

St. Julian, the martyr

d.c. 250, feastday: October 30 (Greek Orthodox) or February 27 (Roman Church)

St. Maximus of Alexandria

d. 282, feastday: December 27

St. Modestus & Ammonius

d. unknown, feastday: February 12 (Catholic).

St. Nicander

d. 304, feastday: March 15

St. Polycarp of Alexandria

d. 303, feastday: April 2

St. Theonas

  Bishop of Alexandra from about 283 to 301.
  In his time Achillas, who had been appointed presbyter at Alexandria, at the same time with Pierius, became celebrated. Theonas is commemorated in the Roman Martyrology on 27 August. St. Athanasius in his apology to Constantinus speaks of a church dedicated by his predecessor, St. Alexander, to Theonas.

F.J. Bacchus, ed.
Transcribed by: Thomas M. Barrett
This extract is cited May 2003 from The Catholic Encyclopedia, New Advent online edition URL below.

d. 300, feastday: August 23 (Catholic).

St. Serapion the Scholastic

d. 370, feastday: March 21

St. Isidore of Pelusium

  Born at Alexandria in the latter half of the fourth century; d. not later than 449-50. He is occasionally designated through mistake as Isidore of Damietta.
  Leaving his family and possessions, Isidore retired to a mountain near the city of Pelusium, the name of which was henceforth connected with his own, and embraced the religious life in the monastery of Lychnos, where he soon became remarkable for his exactitude in the observance of the rule and for his austerities. He is spoken of as a priest by Facundus and Suidas, although neither of these writers informs us concerning the church to which he belonged; it may be that he had no clerical charge, but was only a priest of the monastery. His correspondence gives us an idea of his activity. It shows him fighting against unworthy clerics whose elevation to the priesthood and diaconate was a serious peril and scandal to the faithful. He complains that many laymen were ceasing to approach the sacraments so as to avoid contact with these discreditable men.
  His veneration for St. John Chrysostom led him to introduce St. Cyril of Alexandria to render full justice to the memory of the great doctor. He opposed the Nestorians. St. Isidore was still alive when the heresy of Eutyches began to spread in Egypt; many of his letters depict him as opposing the assertion of only one nature in Jesus Christ.
  It seems as though his life was scarcely prolonged beyond the year 449, because there is no mention in letters of the Robber Council of Ephesus (August, 449) nor of the Council of Chalcedon (451).
  Isidore tells incidentally that he composed a treatise “Adversus Gentiles” but it has been lost. Another work “De Fato”, which, the author tells us, met with a certain degree of success, has also been lost. The only extant works of St. Isidore are a considerable correspondence, comprising more than 2000 letters. Even this number appears to fall far short of the amount actually written, since Nicephorus speaks of 10,000. Of these we possess 2182. These letters of St. Isidore may be divided into three classes according to the subjects treated: those dealing with dogma and Scripture, with ecclesiastical and monastic discipline, and with practical morality for the guidance of laymen of all classes and conditions.
  His advice with regard to those who were embracing the monastic state was that they should not at first be made to feel all the austerities of the rule lest they should be repelled, nor should they be left idle and exempt from ordinary tasks lest they should acquire habits of laziness, but they should led step by step to what is most perfect. Great abstinences serve no purpose unless they are accompanied by the mortification of the senses. In a great number of St. Isidore's letters concerning the monastic state it may be remarked that he holds it to consist mainly in retirement and obedience; that retirement includes forgetfulness of the things one has abandoned and the renunciation of old habits, while obedience is attended with mortification of the flesh. A monk's habit should if possible be of skins, and his food consist of herbs, unless bodily weakness require something more, in which case he should be guided by the judgment of his superior, for he must not be governed by his own will, but according to the will of those who have grown old in the practice of the religious life.
  Although for the most part very brief, the majority of St. Isidore's letters contain much instruction, which is often set forth with elegance, occasionally with a certain literary art. The style is natural, unaffected, and yet not without refinement. The correspondence is characterized by an imperturbable equability of temperament; whether he is engaged at explaining or reprimanding, at disputing or praising, there is always the same moderation, the same sentiments of sincerity, the same sober taste. In the explanation of the Scripture the saint does not conceal his preference for the moral and spiritual sense which he judges most useful for those who consult him. Everywhere he is seen to put in practice the maxims he teaches to others, namely that the life should correspond with the words, that one should practice what one teaches, and that it is not sufficient to indicate what should be done, if one does not translate one's maxims into action.

H. Leclercq, ed.
Transcribed by: Tom Burgoyne
This extract is cited May 2003 from The Catholic Encyclopedia, New Advent online edition URL below.

St. Demetrius, Bishop of Alexandria

  Bishop of Alexandria from 188 to 231.
  Julius Africanus, who visited Alexandria in the time of Demetrius, places his accession as eleventh bishop after St. Mark in the tenth year of Commodus.
  A legendary history of him is given in the Coptic “Synaxaria”, in an Abyssinian poem cited by the Bollandists, and in the “Chronicon Orientale” of Abraham Ecchellensis the Maronite. Three of their statements, however, may have some truth: one that he died at the age of 105 (born, therefore, in 126); another, found also in the Melchite Patriarch Eutychius, that he wrote about the calculation of Easter to Victor of Rome, Maximus (i.e. Maximinus) of Antioch and Gabius or Agapius of Jerusalem. Eutychius relates that from Mark to Demetrius there was but one see in Egypt, that Demetrius was the first to establish three other bishoprics, and that his successor Heraclas made twenty more.
  At all events Demetrius is the first Alexandrian bishop of whom anything is known.

John Chapman, ed.
Transcribed by: Gary Mros
This extract is cited May 2003 from The Catholic Encyclopedia, New Advent online edition URL below.

St. Menas, Patriarch of Constantinople

d. 552, feastday: August 25

St. Anianus, bishop of Alexandria

d. 1st century, feastday.

St. Catherine of Alexandria

  Of noble birth and learned in the sciences, when only eighteen years old, Catherine presented herself to the Emperor Maximinus who was violently persecuting the Christians, upbraided him for his cruelty and endeavoured to prove how iniquitous was the worship of false gods. Astounded at the young girl's audacity, but incompetent to vie with her in point of learning the tyrant detained her in his palace and summoned numerous scholars whom he commanded to use all their skill in specious reasoning that thereby Catherine might be led to apostatize. But she emerged from the debate victorious. Several of her adversaries, conquered by her eloquence, declared themselves Christians and were at once put to death. Furious at being baffled, Maximinus had Catherine scourged and then imprisoned. Meanwhile the empress, eager to see so extraordinary a young woman, went with Porphyry, the head of the troops, to visit her in her dungeon, when they in turn yielded to Catherine's exhortations, believed, were baptized, and immediately won the martyr's crown. Soon afterwards the saint, who far from forsaking her Faith, effected so many conversions, was condemned to die on the wheel, but, at her touch, this instrument of torture was miraculously destroyed. The emperor, enraged beyond control, then had her beheaded and angels carried her body to Mount Sinai where later a church and monastery were built in her honour. So far the Acts of St. Catherine.
  Unfortunately we have not these acts in their original form, but transformed and distorted by fantastic and diffuse descriptions which are entirely due to the imagination of the narrators who cared less to state authentic facts than to charm their readers by recitals of the marvellous. The importance attached throughout the Middle Ages to the legend of this martyr accounts for the eagerness and care with which in modern times the ancient Greek, Latin and Arabic texts containing it have been perused and studied, and concerning which critics have long since expressed their opinion, one which, in all likelihood, they will never have to retract. Several centuries ago when devotion to the saints was stimulated by the reading of extraordinary hagiographical narrations, the historical value of which no one was qualified to question, St. Catherine was invested by Catholic peoples with a halo of charming poetry and miraculous power.
  Ranked with St. Margaret and St. Barbara as one of the fourteen most helpful saints in heaven, she was unceasingly praised by preachers and sung by poets. It is a well known fact that Bossuet dedicated to her one of his most beautiful panegyrics and that Adam of Saint-Victor wrote a magnificent poem in her honour: "Vox Sonora nostri chori", etc. In many places her feast was celebrated with the utmost solemnity, servile work being suppressed and the devotions being attended by great numbers of people. In several dioceses of France it was observed as a Holy Day of obligation up to the beginning of the seventeenth century, the splendour of its ceremonial eclipsing that of the feasts of some of the Apostles. Numberless chapels were placed under her patronage and her statue was found in nearly all churches, representing her according to medieval inconography with a wheel, her instrument of torture. Whilst, owing to several circumstances in his life, St. Nicholas of Myra, was considered the patron of young bachelors and students, St. Catherine became the patroness of young maidens and female students. Looked upon as the holiest and most illustrious of the virgins of Christ, it was but natural that she, of all others, should be worthy to watch over the virgins of the cloister and the young women of the world.
  The spiked wheel having become emblematic of the saint, wheelwrights and mechanics placed themselves under her patronage. Finally, as according to tradition, she not only remained a virgin by governing her passions and conquered her executioners by wearying their patience, but triumphed in science by closing the mouths of sophists, her intercession was implored by theologians, apologists, pulpit orators, and philosophers. Before studying, writing, or preaching, they besought her to illumine their minds, guide their pens, and impart eloquence to their words. This devotion to St. Catherine which assumed such vast proportions in Europe after the Crusades, received additional eclat in France in the beginning of the fifteenth century, when it was rumoured that she had appeared to Joan of Arc and, together with St. Margaret, had been divinely appointed Joan's adviser.
  Although contemporary hagiographers look upon the authenticity of the various texts containing the legend of St. Catherine as more than doubtful, it is not therefore meant to cast even the shadow of a doubt around the existence of the saint. But the conclusion reached when these texts have been carefully studied is that, if the principal facts forming the outline are to be accepted as true, the multitude of details by which these facts are almost obscured, most of the wonderful narratives with which they are embellished, and the long discourses that are put into the mouth of St. Catherine, are to be rejected as inventions, pure and simple. An example will illustrate. Although all these texts mention the miraculous translations of the saint's body to Mount Sinai, the itineraries of the ancient pilgrims who visited Sinai do not contain the slightest allusion to it. Even in the eighteenth century Dom Deforis, the Benedictine who prepared an edition of Bossuet's works, declared the tradition followed by this orator in his panegyric on the saint, to be in a great measure false, and it was just at this time that the feast of St. Catherine disappeared from the Breviary of Paris. Since then devotion to the virgin of Alexandria has lost all its former popularity.

Leon Glugnet, ed.
Transcribed by: Carolyn Hust
This text is cited July 2004 from The Catholic Encyclopedia, New Advent online edition URL below.

St. Theonas of Alexandria

Bishop of Alexandria from about 283 to 301 (Eusebius, "Chronicle", Ann. Abr. 2299, St. Jerome's version). In his time Achillas, who had been appointed presbyter at Alexandra, at the same time with Pierius, became celebrated (Euseb., "Hist. eccl.", III, xxxii). The celebrated letter of Theonas to Lucianus, chamberlain to Diocletian, which has often been quoted as giving such a lifelike description of the position of a Christian in the imperial Court has been pronounced, first by Batiffol and then by Harnack, to be a forgery. Their verdict is endorsed by Bardenhewer. It was first published from what purported to be a transcript made by Jerome Vignier, by Dacherius in his "Spicilegium". Theonas is commemorated in the Roman Martyrology on 27 August. St. Athanasius in his apology to Constantinus speaks of a church dedicated by his predecessor, St. Alexander, to Theonas. The same church is alluded to in the "Act of SS. Pachomius and Theodorus".

F.J. Bacchus, ed.
Transcribed by: Thomas M. Barrett
This text is cited July 2004 from The Catholic Encyclopedia, New Advent online edition URL below.

St. Theodora of Alexandria

d. 491, feastday: September 11

Sts. Cyrus and John

CANOPUS (Ancient city) EGYPT
Sts. Cyrus and John. Celebrated martyrs of the Coptic Church, surnamed thaumatourgoi anargyroi because they healed the sick gratis (Nilles, Kallendarium utriusque Ecclesiae, Innsbruck, 1896, I, 89). Their feast day is celebrated by the Copts on the sixth day of Emsir, corresponding to 31 January, the day also observed by the Greeks; on the same day they are commemorated in the Roman Martyrology, regarding which see the observation of Cardinal Baronio (Martyrologium Romanum, Venice, 1586). The Greeks celebrate also the finding and translation of the relics on 28 June (see "Menologium Basil." and "Menaia"). The principal source of information regarding the life, passion and miracles of Sts. John and Cyrus is the encomium written by Sophronius, Patriarch of Jerusalem (d. 638). Of the birth, parents, and first years of the saints we know nothing. According to the Arabic "Synaxarium" (Forget, Synax. Alexandrinum, Beirut, 1906, II, 252), compiled by Michael, Bishop of Athrib and Malig, Cyrus and John were both Alexandrians; this, however, is contradicted by other documents in which it is said that Cyrus was a native of Alexandria and John of Edessa. Cyrus practised the art of medicine, and had a work-shop (ergasterium) which was afterwards transformed into a temple dedicated to the three boy-saints, Ananias, Misael, and Azarias. He ministered to the sick gratis and at the same time laboured with all the ardour of an apostle of the Faith, and won many from pagan superstition. This took place under the Emperor Diocletian. Denounced to the prefect of the city he fled to Arabia of Egypt where he took refuge in a town near the sea called Tzoten. There, having shaved his head and assumed the monastic habit, he abandoned medicine and began a life of asceticism.
  John belonged to the army, in which he held a high rank; the "Synaxarium" cited above adds that he was one of the familiars of the emperor. Hearing of the virtues and wonders of Cyrus, he betook himself to Jerusalem in fulfillment of a vow, and thence passed into Egypt where he became the companion of St. Cyrus in the ascetic life. During the persecution of Diocletian three holy virgins, Theoctista (Theopista), fifteen years old, Theodota (Theodora), thirteen years old, and Theodossia (Theodoxia), eleven years old, together with their mother Athanasia, were arrested at Canopus and brought to Alexandria. Cyrus and John, fearing lest these girls, on account of their tender age, might, in the midst of torments, deny the Faith, resolved to go into the city to comfort them and encourage them in undergoing martyrdom. This fact becoming known they also were arrested and after dire torments they were all beheaded on the 31st of January. The bodies of the two martyrs were placed in the church of St. Mark the Evangelist where they remained up to the time of St. Cyril, Patriarch of Alexandria (412-444). At Menuthis (Menouthes or Menouthis) near Canopus there existed at that time a pagan temple reputed for its oracles and cures which attracted even some simple Christians of the vicinity. St. Cyril thought to extirpate this idolatrous cult by establishing in that town the cultus of Sts. Cyrus and John. For this purpose he transferred thither their relics (28 June, 414) and placed them in the church built by his predecessor, Theophilus, in honour of the Evangelists. Before the finding and transfer of the relics by St. Cyril it seems that the names of the two saints were unknown; certain it is that no written records of them existed (Migne, P.G., LXXXVII, 3508 sq.). In the fifth century, during the pontificate of Innocent I, their relics were brought to Rome by two monks, Grimaldus and Arnulfus—this according to a manuscript in the archives of the deaconry of Santa Maria in the Via Lata, cited by Antonio Bosio (Roma Sotterranea, Rome, 1634, p. 123). Mai, however, for historical reasons, justly assigns a later date, namely 634, under Pope Honorius and the Emperor Heraclius (Spicilegium Rom., III, V). The relics were placed in the suburban church of St. Passera (Abbas Cyrus) on the Via Portuense. In the time of Bosio the pictures of the two saints were still visible in this church (Bosio, op. cit., ib.) Upon the door of the hypogeum, which still remains, is the following inscription in marble:
     Corpora sancta Cyri renitent hic atque Joannis
    Quae quondam Romae dedit Alexandria magna
(Bosio, ib.; Mai, Spic. Rom., loc. cit.). At Rome three churches were dedicated to these martyrs, Abbas Cyrus de Militiis, Abbas Cyrus de Valeriis, and Abbas Cyrus ad Elephantum—all of which were transformed afterwards by the vulgar pronunciation into S. Passera, a corruption of Abbas Cyrus; in the Coptic Difnar, Apakiri, Apakyri, Apakyr; in Arabic, 'Abaqir, 'Abuqir (see Armellini, Le Chiese di Roma, Rome, 1891, 179 sq., 563 sq., 681, 945 sq.).

P.J. Balestri, ed.
Transcribed by: Paul Streby
This text is cited Oct 2005 from The Catholic Encyclopedia, New Advent online edition URL below.



Arius or Areius (Areios), the celebrated heretic, is said to have been a native of Libya, and must have been born shortly after the middle of the third century after Christ. His father's name appears to have been Ammonius. In the religious disputes which broke out at Alexandria in A. D. 306, Arius at first took the part of Meletius, but afterwards became reconciled to Peter, bishop of Alexandria, and the opponent of Meletius, who made Arius deacon. After this Arius again opposed Peter for his treatment of Meletius and his followers, and was in consequence excommunicated by Peter. After the death of the latter, Achillas, his successor in the see of Alexandria, not only forgave Arius his offence and admitted him deacon again, but ordained him presbyter, A. D. 313, and gave him the charge of the church called Baucalis at Alexandria (Epiphan. Haeres. 68. 4). The opinion that, after the death of Achillas, Arius himself wanted to become bishop of Alexandria, and that for this reason he was hostile to Alexander, who became the successor of Achillas, is a mere conjecture, based upon the fact, that Theodoret accuses Arius of envy against Alexander. The official position of Arius at Alexandria, by virtue of which he interpreted the Scriptures, had andoubtedly gained for him already a considerable number of followers, when in A. D. 318, the celebrated dispute with bishop Alexander broke out. This dispute had a greater and more lasting influence upon the development of the Christian religion than any other controversy. The accounts respecting the immediate occasion of the dispute differ, but all agree in stating that Alexander after having heard some reports respecting Arius's novel views about the Trinity, attacked them in a public assembly of presbyters. Hereupon Arius charged the bishop with being guilty of the errors of Sabellius, and endeavoured defend his own opinions. He maintained that the Son of God had been created by God, previous to the existence of the world and of time, by an act of God's own free will and out of nothing; that therefore the Son had not existed from all eternity; and that consequently in this respect the Son was not perfectly equal to the Father, although he was raised far above all men. This first dispute was followed by a circular letter from Alexander to his clergy, and by a second conference, but all had no effect. As in the meantime the number of Arius's followers was rapidly increasing, and as both the clergy and laity of Egypt, as well as several bishops of Syria and Asia Minor, were favourably disposed towards Arius, partly because his doctrines resembled those of Lucian, who had died a martyr about ten years before, and partly because they were captivated by Arius's insinuating letters addressed to them, Alexander, in A. D. 321, convened at Alexandria a synod of nearly one hundred Egyptian and Libyan bishops. The influence of Alexander, of course, prevailed at this synod: Arius was deposed, and he and his followers were excommunicated. In order to insure the proper effect of this verdict, Alexander addressed numerous letters to foreign bishops, in which he announced to them the judgment passed upon Arius, endeavoured to refute his doctrines, and urged them to adopt his own views of the case, and not to afford any protection to the heretic. Two of these letters are still extant.
  It was owing to these letters and to the extensive exertions of Arius to defend his doctrines and to win more followers, that the possibility of an amicable settlement of the question diminished more and more every day. At Alexandria the Arians regularly withdrew from the church, and had their separate places of worship; and in Palestine, whither Arius had fled from Egypt, he found a favourable reception. Here he addressed a letter, still extant (Epiphan. Hacres. 69. 6; Theodoret. H. E. i. 5), to his friend, Eusebius, bishop of Nicomedeia, the most influential bishop of the time, and who himself bore a grudge against Alexander of Alexandria. Eusebius in his answer, as well as in a letter he addressed to Paulinus, bishop of Tyre, expressed his perfect agreement with the views of Arius (Athanas. de Synod.17; Theodoret. H. E. i. 6), and even received Arius into his own house. During his stay at Nicomedeia, Arius wrote a theological work called Thaleia (Thaleia), which is said to have been composed in the effeminate style of Sotades, and to have been written in part in the so-called Sotadic metre. He also addressed a letter to bishop Alexander, in which he entered into an explanation of his doctrines, and which was signed by the clergy who had been excommunicated with him. Of his Thaleia we possess only some abstracts made by his enemy Athanasius, which are written in a philosophical and earnest tone; but they contain statements, which could not but be offensive to a believer in the divinity of Christ. These things, when compared with the spirit of Arius's letters, might lead to the belief that Athanasius in his epitome exaggerated the statements of Arius; but we must remember that Arius in his letters was always prudent and moderate, to avoid giving offence, by not shewing how far his theory might be carried. On the whole, the controversy between Arius and Alexander presents no features of noble generosity or impartiality; each is ambitious and obstinate. Arius was as zealous in endeavouring to acquire new followers as Alexander was fierce and stubborn in his persecution. At last, in A. D. 323, Eusebius and the other bishops who were in favour of Arianism, assembled in council in Bithynia, and issued a circular to all the bishops, requesting them to continue their ecclesiastical communion with Arius. and to use their influence with Alexander on his behalf. But neither this step nor the permission granted by several bishops to Arius to resume his functions, as presbyter, so far as it could be done without encroachment upon the rights of Alexander, was calculated to restore peace; on the contrary, the disputes for and against Arianism spread so much both among the laity and clergy of Egypt, Syria, and Asia Minor, that in A. D. 324, the emperor Constantine thought it necessary to write a letter to Arius and Alexander in common, in which he declared the controverted point of little importance, exhorted the disputants to a speedy reconciliation, and left it to each to hold his own opinions, provided he did not disturb the outward union of the church (Euseb. De Vit. Const. M. ii. 64, &c.). This letter was carried to Alexandria, whither Arius had returned in the meantime, by Hosius, bishop of Corduba, who was also to act as mediator. But Hosius soon adopted the views of Alexander, and his mission had no effect.
  The disputes became more vehement from day to day, and Constantine at last saw himself obliged to convoke a general council at Nicaea, A. D. 325, at which upwards of 300 bishops were present, principally from the eastern part of the empire, and among them Arius, Alexander, and his friend Athanasius. Each defended his own opinions; but Arius being the accused party was in a disadvantageous position, and a confession of faith, which he presented to the council, was torn to pieces in his presence. Athanasius was the most vehement opponent of Arius, and after long debates the council came to the resolution, that the Son of God was begotten, not made, of the same substance with the Father, and of the same essence with him (homoousios). Arius was condemned with his writings and followers. This verdict was signed by nearly all the bishops present. Eusebius and three others, who refused to sign, were compelled by the threats of the emperor to follow the example of the rest: only two bishops, Theonas of Marmarica and Secundus of Ptolemais, had courage enough to share the fate of Arius and accompanied him to Illyricum whither he was exiled. At the same time an edict was issued, commanding every one, under the penalty of death, to surrender the books of Arius, which were to be burnt, and stigmatizing the Arians with the name of Porphyrians -(from Porphyrius, a heathen opponent of Christianity, who had nothing to do with the Arian question). The Arians at Alexandria, however, remained in a state of insurrection, and began to make common cause with the Meletians, a sect which had likewise been condemned by the council of Nicaea, for both had to regard Alexander, and his successor Athanasius, as their common enemies.
  Arius remained in Illyricum till A. D. 328, when Eusebius of Nicomedeia and his friends used their influence at the court of Constantine, to persuade the emperor that the creed of Arius did not in reality differ from that established by the council of Nicaea. In consequence of this Arius was recalled from his exile by very gracious letters from the emperor, and in A. D. 330, had an audience with Constantine, to whom he presented a confession of faith, which consisted almost entirely of passages of the scriptures, and apparently confirmed the representation which Eusebius had given of his opinions. The emperor thus deceived, granted to Arius the permission to return to Alexandria. On the arrival of Arius in Alexandria, A. D. 331, Athanasius, notwithstanding the threats of Eusebius and the strict orders of the emperor, refused to receive him into the communion of the church; for new outbreaks took place at Alexandria, and the Meletians openly joined the Arians (Athanas. Apolog.59). Eusebius, who was still the main supporter of the Arian party, had secured its ascendancy in Syria, and caused the synod of Tyre, in A. D. 335, to depose Athanasius, and another synod held in the same year at Jerusalem, to revoke the sentence of excommunication against Arius and his friends. The attempt of Arius to re-establish himself at Alexandria failed notwithstanding, and in A. D. 336, he travelled to Constantinople to have a second interview with the emperor. He again presented his confession of faith, which was apparently orthodox. Hereupon Alexander, bishop of Constantinople, who had hitherto refused recognising Arius as a member of the orthodox church, received orders from the emperor to administer to Arius, on the Sunday following, the holy communion. When the day came, Arius accompanied by Eusebius and other friends, went in a sort of triumph through the streets of Constantinople to the church. On his way thither he went aside for a moment to relieve a physical want, but he never returned: he was seized by a fainting fit and suddenly died, and his corpse was found by his friends and buried. His sudden death in such a place and at such a moment, naturally gave rise to a number of strange suspicions and surmises; the orthodox regarded it as a direct judgment from heaven, while his friends supposed that he had been poisoned by his enemies.
  Arius must have been at a very advanced age when he died, since he is called the old Arius at the time when he began his disputes with Alexander, and he was undoubtedly worn out and exhausted by the continued struggles to which his life had been exposed. He is said to have been unusually tall, pale, and thin, of a severe and gloomy appearance, though of captivating and modest manners. The excellence of his moral character seems to be sufficiently attested by the silence of his enemies to the contrary. That he was of a covetous and sensual disposition, is an opinion unsupported by any historical evidence. Besides the works already referred to in this article, Arius is said to have written songs for sailors, millers, and travellers; but no specimen or fragment of them is now extant.

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Oct 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Arius. An heresiarch, born about A.D. 250; died 336. He is said to have been a Libyan by descent. His father's name is given as Ammonius. In 306, Arius, who had learnt his religious views from Lucian, the presbyter of Antioch, and afterwards the martyr, took sides with Meletius, an Egyptian schismatic, against Peter, Bishop of Alexandria. But a reconciliation followed, and Peter ordained Arius deacon. Further disputes led the Bishop to excommunicate his restless churchman, who, however, gained the friendship of Achillas, Peter's successor, was made presbyter by him in 313, and had the charge of a well-known district in Alexandria called Baucalis. This entitled Arius to expound the Scriptures officially, and he exercised much influence when, in 318, his quarrel with Bishop Alexander broke out over the fundamental truth of Our Lord's divine Sonship and substance. (See ARIANISM.) While many Syrian prelates followed the innovator, he was condemned at Alexandria in 321 by his diocesan in a synod of nearly one hundred Egyptian and Libyan bishops. Deprived and excommunicated, the heresiarch fled to Palestine. He addressed a thoroughly unsound statement of principles to Eusebius of Nicomedia, who yet became his lifelong champion and who had won the esteem of Constantine by his worldly accomplishments. In his house the proscribed man, always a ready writer, composed in verse and prose a defence of his position which he termed "Thalia". A few fragments of it survive. He is also said to have published songs for sailors, millers, and travellers, in which his creed was illustrated. Tall above the common, thin, ascetical, and severe, he has been depicted in lively colours by Epiphanius (Heresies, 69, 3); but his moral character was never impeached except doubtfully of ambition by Theodoret. He must have been of great age when, after fruitless negotiations and a visti to Egypt, he appeared in 325 at Nic&aea, where the confession of faith which he presented was torn in pieces. With his writings and followers he underwent the anathemas subscribed by more than 300 bishops. He was banished into Illyricum. Two prelates shared his fate, Tehonas of Marmarica and Secundus of Ptolemais. His books were burnt. The Arians, joined by their old Meletian friends, created troubles in Alexandria. Eusebius persuaded Constantine to recall the exile by indulgent letters in 328; and the emperor not only permitted his return to Alexandria in 331, but ordered Athanasius to reconcile him with the Church. On the saint's refusal more disturbance ensued. The packed and partisan Synod of Tyre deposed Athanasius on a series of futile charges in 335. Catholics were now persecuted; Arius had an interview with Constantine and submitted a creed which the emperor judged to be orthodox. By imperial rescript Arius required Alexander of Constantinople to give him Communion; but the stroke of Providence defeated an attempt which Catholics looked upon as sacrilege. The heresiarch died suddenly, and was buried by his own people. He had winning manners, an evasive style, and a disputatious temper. But in the controversy which is called after his name, Arius counted only at the beginning. He did not represent the tradition of Alexandria but the topical subtleties of Antioch. Hence, his disappearance from the scene neither stayed the combatants nor ended the quarrel which he had rashly provoked. A party-theologian, he exhibited no features of genius; and he was the product, not the founder, of a school.

William Barry, ed.

This text is cited July 2004 from The Catholic Encyclopedia, New Advent online edition URL below.

Arianism. A heresy which arose in the fourth century, and denied the Divinity of Jesus Christ.

St. Alexander's Deposition of Arius and his companions, and Encyclical Letter on the subject.

Alexander of Alexandria, Epistles on the Arian Heresy and the Deposition of Arius

Origenes, 2nd cent. AD

   usually called Origen. A learned Christian Father, born at Alexandria in A.D. 185. He was converted to Christianity by Clement of Alexandria, and after the martyrdom of his father, Leonides, Origen opened a school in which at first he taught Greek literature only, but soon after Christian doctrine also. Being made head of the catechetical school of Alexandria, he became distinguished for his severe asceticism as for his profound learning, not only in theology, but also in Greek philosophy and Hebrew, which he learned at Rome. In A.D. 228, during a visit to Palestine, he was ordained presbyter, but Bishop Demetrius of Alexandria refused his assent to this both as not being given by himself as diocesan bishop and because Origen, through a fanatical interpretation of Matt. xix. 12, had castrated himself. Later, the controversy which began over this decision led to a close investigation of Origen's theological views, and these were condemned by a synod in A.D. 231. Many Eastern bishops, however, supported him, and he reopened his school at Caesarea. During the later persecutions of the Christians by Maximinus and Decius he suffered greatly, so that, his health breaking down, he died at Tyre in A.D. 254. His most controverted teachings were those on the subject of the ultimate salvation of all, as he taught that even the devils would finally be redeemed--a doctrine known as Restorationism. His writings in all numbered some 6000, of which comparatively few have been preserved. An important one (the De Principiis) survives only in a Latin version by Rufinus. There are also a treatise on martyrdom and a defence of Christianity against Celsus; and of his Hexapla--an edition of the Old Testament in six parallel columns in Hebrew, Hebrew transliterated in Greek letters, and the four versions by Aquila, Symmachus, the Septuagint, and Theodotion--a number of fragments remain.

This text is from: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. Cited Nov 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Origen and Origenism

Eusebius of Alexandria

  Ecclesiastical writer and author of a number of homilies well known in the sixth and seventh centuries and of much ascetical and dogmatic value. There has been much dispute regarding the details of his life and the age in which he lived. Galland (Vet. Patr. Biblioth., VIII, 23) says: "de Eusebio qui vulgo dicitur episcopus Alexandr? incerta omnia" (Concerning Eusebius, commonly called bishop of Alexandria there is nothing sure). His writings have been attributed to Eusebius of Emesa, Eusebius of C?sarea, and others. According to an old biography said to have been written by his notary, the monk John, and discovered by Cardinal Mai, he lived in the fifth century and led a monastic life near Alexandria. The fame of his virtues attracted the attention of Cyril, Bishop of Alexandria, who visited him with his clergy, and in 444, when dying, had him elected his successor, and consecrated him bishop, though much against his will. Eusebius displayed great zeal in the exercise of his office and did much good by his preaching. Among those he converted was a certain Alexander, a man of senatorial rank. After having ruled his see for seven or, according to another account, for twenty years, he made Alexander his successor and retired to the desert, whence Cyril had summoned him and there died in the odor of sanctity.
  While Mai seems to have established the existence of a Eusebius of Alexandria who lived in the fifth century, it had been objected than neither the name of Eusebius or his successor Alexander, appears in the list of the occupants of that ancient see. Dioscurus is mentioned as the immediate successor of Cyril. Nor does the style of the homilies seem on the whole in keeping with the age of Cyril. It may be noted, however, that the biographer of Eusebius expressly states that the Cyril in question is the great opponent of Nestorius. Various solution of the difficulty have been proposed. Thilo (Ueber die Schriften des Eusebius v. Alexandrian U. des Eusebius von Emesa, Halle, 1832) thinks that the authorship of the homilies is to be assigned either to a certain monk ? one of four brothers 3 of the fifth century, or to a presbyter and court chaplain of Justinian I, who took an active part in the theological strifes of the sixth century. Mai suggests that after the death of Cyril, there were two bishops at Alexandria, Dioscurus, the Monophysite leader, and Eusebius, the head of the Catholic party. The homilies cover a variety of subjects, and the author is one of the earliest patristic witnesses to the doctrine regarding the descent of Christ into Hell. A list of homilies with the complete text is given by Mai (Spicilegium Romanum IX). They may also be found in Migne, P.G., LXXXVI. The "Sermo de Confusione Diaboli" was published with an introduction by Rand in "Modern Philology", II, 261.

H.M. Brock, ed.
Transcribed by: C.A. Montgomery
This text is cited July 2004 from The Catholic Encyclopedia, New Advent online edition URL below.



Hierocles, a Roman proconsul at first of Bithynia, and afterwards at Alexandria, in the time of Diocletian, A. D. 284-305. It is said that this emperor was instigated to his persecution of the Christians, in A. D. 302, mainly by Hierocles, who was a man of great philosophical acquirements, and exerted all his powers to suppress the Christians and their religion, and raise the polytheistic notions of the Pagans by attributing to them a profound meaning, which had only been misunderstood and mistaken by the vulgar (Lactant. Instit. Div. v. 2, de Mort. Persecut. 16). With this object in view, he published a work against the Christians, in which he attempted to point out contradictions in the Scriptures in the historical as well as in the doctrinal portions. It bore the title Gogoi philaletheis pros tous Christianous, and consisted of two books the work itself is lost, but we may still form an idea of it from the notice which Lactantius takes of it (Div. Instit. l. c.), and more especially from the refutation which Eusebius wrote of it. We there see that Hierocles attacked the character of Jesus Christ and his apostles, and put him on an equality with Apollonius of Tyana.


Athanasius (Athanasios), of Alexandria, a presbyter of the church in that city, was a son of Isidora, the sister of Cyril of Alexandria. He was deprived of his office and driven out of Alexandria and Egypt by the bishop, Dioscurus, from whom he suffered much persecution. There is extant a small work of his, in Greek, against Dioscurus, which he presented to the council of Chalcedon, A. D. 451.


Cyrus (called also in some editions Syrus), a native of Alexandria, who lived in the fifth century after Christ. He was first a physician and philosopher, and afterwards became a monk. He is said to have been an eloquent man, and to have written against Nestorius. (S. Gennadius, de Illustr. Vir. c. 81.)

Esaias of Egypt

Esaias of Egypt. Palladius in the biographical notices which make up what is usually termed his Lausiac History, mentions two brothers, Paasius (Paesios) and Esaias, the sons of a merchant, Spanodromos. by which some understand a Spanish merchant. Upon the death of their father they determined to quit the world; one of them distributed his whole property to the poor, the other expended his in the foundation of a monastic and charitable establishment. If the Orations mentioned below are correctly ascribed to the Esaias of Palladius, the first oration (which in the Latin version begins "Qui mecum manere vultis, audite," &c.) enables us to identify him as the brother that founded the monastery. Rufinus in his Lives of the Fathers, quoted by Tillemont, mentions an anecdote of Esaias and some other persons of monastic character, visiting the confessor Anuph or Anub (who had suffered in the great persecution of Diocletian, but had survived that time) just before his death. If we suppose Esaias to have been comparatively young, this account is not inconsistent with Cave's opinion, that Esaias flourished A. D. 370. Assemanni supposes that he lived about the close of the fourth century. He appears to have lived in Egypt.
  There are dispersed through the European libraries a number of works in MS. ascribed to Esaias, who is variously designated "Abbas", "Presbyter", "Eremita", "Anachoreta". They are chiefly in Greek. Some of them have been published, either in the original or in a Latin version. Assemanni enumerates some Arabic and several Syriac works of Esaias, which, judging from their titles, are versions in those tongues of the known works of this writer. It is not ascertained whether Esaias the writer is the Esaias mentioned by Palladius. Cardinal Bellarmin, followed by the editors of the Bibliotheca Patrum, places the writer in the seventh century subsequent to the time of Palladius; but the character of the works supports the opinion that they belong to the Egyptian monk.

(1.) Chapters on the ascetic and peaceful life (Kephalaia peri askeseos kai hesuchias), published in Greek and Latin in the Thesaurus Asceticus of Pierre Possin, Paris, 1684. As some MSS. contain portions of this work in connexion with other passages not contained in it, it is probable that the Chapters are incomplete. One MS. in the King's Library at Paris is described as "Esaiae Abbatis Capita Ascetica, in duos libros divisa, quorum unusquisque praecepta centum complectitur".
(2.) Precepta seu Consilia posita tironibus, a Latin version of sixty-eight Short Precepts, published by Lucas Holstenius, in his Codex Regularum Monasticarum (Augsburg, 1759).
(3.) Orationes. A Latin version of twentynine discourses of Esaias was published by Pietro Francesco Zini, with some ascetic writings of Nilus and others, Venice, 1574, and have been reprinted in the Bibliotheca Patrum. They are not all orations, but, in one or two instances at least, are collections of apophthegms or sayings. Some MSS. contain more than twentynine orations: one in the King's Library at Paris contains thirty, wanting the beginning of the first ; and one, mentioned by Harless, is said to contain thirty-one, differently arranged from those in the Bibliotheca Patrum.
(4.) Dubitationes in Visionem Ezechielis. A MS. in the Royal Library of the Escurial in Spain, is described by Montfaucon (Bibliotheca Bibliiothecarum) as containing Sermones et Dubitationes in Visionem Ezechielis, by "Esaias Abbas". Of the Dubitationes no further account is given; but the subject, as far as it is indicated by the title, renders it very doubtful if the work belongs to the Egyptian Monk.

The Ascetica and Opuscula of Esaias, described in Catalogues, are perhaps portions or extracts of the works noticed above. This is probably the case with the passages given by Cotelerius among the "Sayings of the Fathers".

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Dec 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Euthalius, bishop of Sulca

Euthalius (Euthalios), bishop of Sulce, lived, according to some, at the time of the great Athanasius; and Cave, in the London edition of his Hist. Lit., places him in A. D. 398, whereas, in the Basle edition, he places him about A. D. 458. The latter supposition agrees with a statement of Euthalius himself, in his Introduction to the Life of St. Paul. When Euthalius was yet a young man, he divided the Epistles of St. Paul into chapters and verses; and after his elevation to the bishopric, he did the same with the Acts of the Apostles and the Catholic Epistles. The Epistles of St. Paul, however, had been divided in that manner before him, about A. D. 396; but Euthalius added the argumenta of the chapters, indexes, and the passages of Scripture to which allusions are made in the Epistles. This work he afterwards sent to Athanasius the younger, who was bishop of Alexandria in A. D. 490. A portion of it was first published by cardinal Ximenes, in 1514. Erasmus, in his several editions of the New Testament, incorporated the Argumenta to the Epistles of St. Paul and the Acts. The Prologue on the Life of St. Paul. with at prefatory Epistle, was first edited by J. H. Boeclerus at the end of his edition of the New Testtament, Argentorat. 1645 and 1660, from which it was afterwards often reprinted. All the works of Euthalius were edited by L. Zaccagni, in his Collectanca monum. vet. Eccles. Graecae, Rome, 1698. Whether Euthalius also wrote a commentary on the Gospel of St. Luke and on the Acts, is uncertain, at least there is no distinct mention of them, and no MSS. are known to exist.

Euthalius, a deacon of Alexandria and later Bishop of Sulca. He lived towards the middle of the fifth century and is chiefly known through his work on the New Testament in particular as the author of the "Euthalian Sections". It is well known that the divisions into chapters and verses with which we are familiar were entirely wanting in the original and early copies of the New-Testament writings; there was even no perceptible space between words. To obviate the manifest inconveniences arising from this condition of the text, Ammonius of Alexandria, in the third century, conceived the idea of dividing the Four Gospels into sections varying in size according to the substance of the narrative embodied in them, and Euthalius, following up the same idea, extended a similar system of division to the other books of the New Testament with the exception of the Apocalypse. So obvious were the advantages of the scheme that it was soon adopted throughout the Greek Church. As divisions of the text these sections have no longer any intrinsic value. But as they were at a given period adopted in nearly all the Churches, and noted by the copyists, they are valuable as chronological indications, their presence or absence being an important circumstance in determining the antiquity of a manuscript.
  Other labours of Euthalius in connexion with the text of the New Testament refer to the larger sections or lessons to be read in the liturgical services, and to the more minute divisions of the text called, or verses. The custom of reading portions of the New Testament in the public liturgical services was already ancient in the Church, but with regard to the choice and delimitation of the passages there was little or no uniformity, the Churches having, for the most part, each its own series of selections. Euthalius elaborated a scheme of divisions which was soon universally adopted. Neither the Gospels nor the Apocalypse enter into this series, but the other portions of the New Testament are divided into 57 sections of varying length, 53 of which are assigned to the Sundays of the year, while the remaining four refer probably to Christmas, the Epiphany, Good Friday, and Easter.
  The idea of dividing the Scriptures into, or verses, did not originate with Euthalius. It had already been applied to portions of the Old Testament, especially to the poetical parts, and even to some parts of the New. Here, as with regard to the other divisions, Euthalius only carried out systematically and completed a scheme which had been but partially and imperfectly realized by others, and his work marks a stage of that progress which led finally to punctuation of the text. These were of unequal length, either containing a few words forming a complete sense, or as many as could be conveniently uttered with one breath. Thus, for instance, the Epistle to the Romans contained 920 of these verses; Galatians, 293; Hebrews, 703; Philemon, 37, and so on.
  Besides these textual labours Euthalius framed a catalogue of the quotations from the Old Testament and from profane authors which are found in the New- Testament writings. He also wrote a short "Life of St. Paul" and a series of "Argumenta" or short summaries which are placed by way of introduction to the different books of the New Testament. Of Euthalius' activities as a bishop little or nothing is known. Even the location of his episcopal see, Sulca, is a matter of doubt. It can hardly be identified with the bishopric of that name in Sardinia. More likely it was situated somewhere in Egypt, and it has been conjectured that it is the same as Psilka, a city of the Thebaid in the neighbourhood of Syene.
After having long lain in oblivion, the works of Euthalius were published in Rome, in 1698, by Lorenzo Alessandro Zaccagni, Prefect of the Vatican Library.

James F. Driscoll, ed.
Transcribed by: W. G. Kofron
This text is cited Dec 2005 from The Catholic Encyclopedia, New Advent online edition URL below.

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