ALEXANDER of Alexandria

ALEXANDER of Alexandria d. 17 April 328. Bishop of Alexandria 312328, from the outset fought against the schism of the Melitians of Lycopolis, which broke out at the time of persecution that claimed the life of his predecessor, Peter I of Alexandria d. 311. By the time of the first ecumenical council, the Council of Nicaea 325, this schism involved almost half of the episcopal sees juridically dependent on Alexander, and priests and deacons of Alexandria itself. Canon 6 of Nicaea reaffirmed the prerogatives of the Alexandrian see over Egypt proper, the Thebaid, Libya and Pentapolis. It does not seem that the situation changed much by the time of Alexander’s death, 17 April 328. It was in this context, moreover, that the Arian crisis began. Around 318, Alexander was opposed by an ideological party formed in his own church through the work of one of his most influential priests, Arius, to whom he had entrusted the parish of Baucalis. After a period of discussion and debates, the bishop gathered a synod of 100 bishops 319 that excommunicated Arius and five other priests, six deacons and two bishops. The encyclical letter Henos s´matos, sent by Alexander after the synod to the dear and most venerated fellow-ministers of the Catholic church everywhere, reacted against the interference of Eusebius of Nicomedia and other Eastern bishops in the Arian affair; these had offered support to those excommunicated at Alexandria. Arius himself makes reference to the reason for the conflict in a letter to Eusebius, saying of Alexander: He has thrown us out of the city because we do not speak as he does in the public declaration where he says: Always God, always Son. Together Father, together Son Opitz, Urkunde 1. It is difficult to ascertain the exact reason for Arius’s outrage. Alexander clearly insisted on the eternity of the divine generation and on the substantial unity of the Son, as another dogmatic letter of his shows, sent to Alexander of Thessalonica in 324. It is also certain that Arius reacted by fully confirming his christological theses, known esp. through extracts of his Thalia, a small treatise written at Alexandria prior to his exile that marked a literal and doctrinal innovation in the debate between the parties of Alexandrian theologians, in which Alexander intervened by formulating his doctrine of the Son of God. The excessive originality of Arius’s theses gained them no credit with the Eastern bishops, who nonetheless protected him. Alexander’s ideas prevailed in the Synod of Antioch 324, however, and later at Nicaea 325. Anti-Arian details of the Nicene formula of faith were not beyond debate; they are properly understood according to Alexander’s theology, though he had never used the word homoousios. During this doctrinal debate, which took up the last 10 years of his episcopate, Alexander found a faithful and intelligent ally in his future successor, the young deacon Athanasius. In the latter’s Against the Arians, Alexander’s essential teaching can be found, without, however, reversing the roles and attributing to the deacon an active part in writing Alexander’s dogmatic letters, as has sometimes been done. Some MS texts attribute to Alexander a sermon, On the Soul and Body and on the Passion of the Lord, in Syriac and Coptic translation. Its authenticity is strongly contested, or at least it appears dubious; it contains traces of a homily by Melito of Sardis. CPG II, 2000-2017; PG 18, 571-582; H.G. Opitz, Athanasius Werke III, I, 6 Urkunde 4a; 6-11 Urk. 4b; 19-29 Urk. 14; 29-31 Urk. 15; 31 Urk. 16; A. Harnack, Geschichte d. alt. Literatur, I, Leipzig 1893 2 1958 449-451; E. Schwartz, Die Quellen ¼ber den melitianischen Streits, NGWG, 1905, 164- 187 = Gesam. Schr. III 1959 87-116; Id., Die Dokumente des arianischen Streits bis 325, NGWG, 1905, 257-299 = Gesam. Schr.III 1959 117-168; Das antiochenische Synodal Schreiben von 325, NGWG, 1908, 305-374 = partim Gesam. Schr.III 1959 169-187; P.H. Kettler, Den melitianische Streit in Aegypten: ZNTW 35 1936-37 155-193; A. Aranda Lomena, El Esp­ritu Santo en los S­mbolos de Cirilo di Jerusalm y Alejandro di Alejandr­a: ScTh 5 1973 223-273; W. Schreemelcher, Der Sermo De anima et corpore ein Werk Alexanders von Alexandrien, Festschrift f. G. Dehn 1957 119-143; A. Martin, Athanase et les Mlitiens 325-335, in Ch. Kannengiesser ed., Politique et Thologie chez Athanase d’Alexandrie 1974 31-61; E. Bellini, Alessandro e Ario. Un esempio di conflitto tra fedi e ideologia. Documenti della prima controversia ariana, Milan 1974; M. Simonetti, La crisi ariana nel IV secolo, Rome 1975; BBKL 1,108-109; N.H. Baynes, Sozomen Ecclesiastica Historia, I. 15: JTS 49 1948 165-168; O. Skarsaune, A Neglected Detail in the Creed of Nicaea 325: VChr 41 1987 34-54; G.C. Stead, Athanasius’ Earliest Written Work: JTS 39 1988 76-91; A. Martin, Athanase d’Alexandrie e l’‰glise d’‰gypte au IVe si¨cle 328-373, Paris 1996; M. Vinzent, Die Entstehung des Rmischen Glaubensbekentniss, in Tauffragen und Bekenntnis, ed. W. Kinzig et al., Berlin 1999, 185-409; Storia del christianesimo. 2, see Index p. 933.St. Alexander of Alexandria, Plinio Correa de Oliveira commentary … travelquaz

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ALEXANDER of Alexandria

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ALEXANDER of Alexandria

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ALEXANDER of Alexandria

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