jeudi 26 février 2015

Saint ALEXANDRE d'ALEXANDRIE, évêque

Saint Alexandre, évêque

Après avoir vainement essayé de ramener à la foi orthodoxe, Arius, l'un de ses prêtres, Alexandre, évêque d’Alexandrie en Egypte, convoqua un concile pour condamner l'hérésie naissante. Secondé par l'un de ses diacres qui deviendra saint Athanase, il fait triompher la vérité lors du concile de Nicée en 325. Il était plein de miséricorde pour recevoir les "lapsi" ceux qui étaient tombés devant les tortures, avaient quitté l'Eglise et voulaient y revenir une fois la paix revenue. Il mourut en 326.

Saint Alexandre

Évêque d'Alexandrie ( 326)

Après avoir vainement essayé de ramener à la foi orthodoxe, Arius, l'un de ses prêtres, il convoqua un concile pour condamner l'hérésie naissante. 

Secondé par l'un de ses diacres qui deviendra saint Athanase, il fait triompher la vérité lors du concile de Nicée en 325. 


Il était plein de miséricorde pour recevoir les "lapsi" ceux qui étaient tombés devant les tortures, avaient quitté l'Église et voulaient y revenir une fois la paix revenue. Il refusa les intégrismes soutenus par l'évêque Mélèce de Lycopolis, connut les débuts de l'hérésie arienne où le même évêque soutenait Arius. Saint Alexandre rencontra ainsi bien des difficultés tant devint grande l'extension de l'hérésie, grâce aux chansons populaires qui la traduisaient. Il put voir le concile œcuménique de Nicée et eut la joie d'être soutenu par saint Athanase.

Commémoraison de saint Alexandre, évêque d’Alexandrie, glorieux vieillard enflammé de zèle pour la foi. Devenu évêque de cette ville après saint Pierre, il chassa de la communion de l’Église Arius, son prêtre perverti par l’impiété hérétique, réfuté par la vérité divine, et que, plus tard, il condamna avec les trois cent dix-huit Pères du Concile de Nicée. Quelques mois après le Concile, en 326, il s’en alla vers le Seigneur.

Martyrologe romain
Alexander of Alexandria B (RM)

Born c. 250; died 326-328. Named bishop of Alexandria in 313 to succeed Saint Achillas, Saint Alexander is famed chiefly for his opposition to the Arian heresy, which claimed the Jesus was not truly God, that the Son was a creature, and that there was a time when the Son did not exist. Alexander is also known for his apostolic doctrine and life, one of the great accomplishments of which was his training of a young deacon name Athanasius, who was later to be celebrated throughout the whole Christian world.

Alexander was gentle with the Arians but he was determined. Many accused him of compromising the position of the Church by the former attitude, many others said he was an impetuous man because of the latter position. He nevertheless must be considered a champion of orthodox Catholic teaching and credited with great pastoral zeal for the kindly, fatherly expostulation he addressed to Arius for a long period before excommunicating him at a meeting of his clergy about 321. The excommunication was confirmed at a local synod in Alexandria. His circular epistle on the Arian heresy has survived and is an important part of the ecclesiastical literature of this period.

As a bishop, Alexander seems to have preferred monks as bishops, appointing by preference those who had lived in hermitages or in the desert since he considered these the proper models of what a bishop ought to be to his flock. Alexander also insisted on charity to the poor in the dioceses under his control--a thing for which he was famous in the diocese of Alexandria.

Alexander is reputed to have drawn up the acts of the first General Council of Nicaea in 325, where Arianism was formally condemned. He died in Alexandria two years after his return from the council, having appointed Athanasius his successor (Benedictines, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Walsh). Click here to see an anonymous Greek icon of Saint 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. Arius had begun to teach his heresies in 300 when Peter, by whom he was excommunicated, was Patriarch. He was reinstated by Achillas, the successor of Peter and then began to scheme to be made a bishop. 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 was while his predecessor Peter was in prison, waiting for martyrdom, that he and Achillas succeeded in reaching the pontiff, and interceded for the reinstatement of Arius, which Peter absolutely refused declaring that Arius was doomed to perdition. The refusal evidently had little effect, for when Achillas succeeded Peter, Arius was made a priest; and when in turn Alexander came to the see, the heretic was still tolerated. 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.

Campbell, Thomas. "St. Alexander." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 1. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907. 25 Feb. 2016 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01296a.htm>.

Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Joseph P. Thomas.


Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. March 1, 1907. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York.