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St. Alexander

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St. Alexander, who died in chains after cruel torments in the persecution of Decius, was first Bishop of Cappadocia, and was afterwards associated as coadjutor with the Bishop of Jerusalem, who was then 116 years old.

This association came about as follows: Alexander had been imprisoned for his faith in the time of Alexander Severus and on being released came to Jerusalem, where he was compelled by the aged bishop to remain, and assist him in the government of that see. This arrangement, however, was entered into with the consent of all the bishops of Palestine. It was Alexander who permitted Origen, although only a layman, to speak in the churches. For this concession he was taken to task, but he defended himself by examples of other permissions of the same kind given even to Origen himself elsewhere, although then quite young. Butler says that they had studied together on the great Christian school of Alexandria. Alexander ordained him a priest. Especial praise is given to Alexander for the library he built at Jerusalem.

Finally, in spite of his years, he, with several other bishops, was carried off a prisoner to Caesarea, and as the historians say, "the glory of his white hairs and great sanctity formed a double crown for him in captivity". He suffered many tortures, but survived them all. When the wild beasts were brought to devour him, some licked his feet, and others their impress on the sand of the arena. Worn out by his sufferings he died in prison. This was in the year 251. His feast is kept by the Latins on 18 March, by the Greeks, 22 December.


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