Alexander of Constantinople

Infobox Saint
name=Saint Alexander
birth_date=237 - 244
feast_day=August 30
venerated_in=Eastern Orthodoxy
Roman Catholicism

Saint Alexander of Constantinople (born between 237 and 244 - 337) was bishop of Byzantium and the bishop of Constantinople [Theodoret "Hist." i. 19] (the city was renamed during his episcopacy). He was elected as a vicar to assist the aged bishop Saint Metrophanes of Constantinople. As a result, both he and Metrophanes are variously reported as being the first Bishop of Constantinople (both are also sometimes listed as first "Patriarch" of Constantinople, though the episcopal see had not yet been elevated to that rank). [See [ Canon iii] , First Council of Constantinople, 359 AD] Alexander served as bishop for about 23 years, until his death. His consecration, which has been variously dated from between 313 and 317, took place when he was 73 years of age. [Socrates Scholasticus "Hist." ii. 6; Sozomen "Hist." iii. 3] At the time of Metrophanes' death, he left instructions in his will to elect his vicar to the throne of Constantinople.

During his episcopacy, Alexander engaged in debate with pagan philosophers and opposed heresies. He was highly praised by Gregory Nazianzus [Gregory Nazianzus, "Oration 27"] and Epiphanius of Cyprus. [Epiphanius of Cyprus, "Adv. Haer". lxix. 10] Theodoret called him an "apostolic" bishop. [Theodoret, "Hist." i. 3, cf. "Phil." 12]

Arian controversy

When the Arian controversy began, Alexander, the Patriarch of Alexandria, requested his cooperation in combatting what he perceived to be heresy. [Theodoret, "op. cit." i. 4] According to most sources, Alexander of Constantinople was present at the First Council of Nicaea [Sozomen, "op. cit." ii. 29] as Metrophanes' deputy, although some sources state that Metrophanes (who would have been 117 years of age at the time) attended the council personally. At the council, Arius and his teachings were condemned.

Later, Arius desired to be received back into the communion of the Church. The Roman Emperor Constantine I, having been convinced by the Eusebians, commanded Alexander to formally receive Arius back. [Athanasius of Alexandria "Ep. ad Serap."; Rufinus, "Hist." i.] According to Socrates Scholasticus, Arius did not in fact repent of his heresy, but was equivocating, and Bishop Alexander was aware of this. [Socrates Scholasticus, "op. cit." i. 37] Alexander, though threatened by the Eusebians with deposition and banishment, persisted in his refusal to admit Arius back into the Church, and shut himself up in the Church of Hagia Irene (which at that time was the cathedral of Constantinople) in fervent prayer that God would take him from this world rather than be forced to restore someone to communion who he feared was only feigning repentance. As it happened, Arius died on his way to the church, before he could be received back into communion.


Alexander did not long survive Arius. [Socrates Scholasticus, "op. cit." ii. 6 ; Theodoret, "op. cit."i. 19] On his deathbed he was said to have nominated his vicar, Paul as his successor, and to have warned his clergy against Macedonius, who became bishop of Constantinople in 342 and whose teachings inspired Macedonianism.

After his death, Alexander came to be regarded as a saint of the Church. The service in his honor was printed in Venice in 1771. According to some ancient manuscripts, the feast of St Alexander was commemorated on June 2. Today, his feast day is celebrated annually on August 30, in a common commemoration with his fellow Patriarchs of Constantinople John the Faster (582–595, also commemorated on September 2) and Paul the New (780-784).



last =Wace
first =Henry
contribution =Alexander, of Byzantium
year =1911
title =Dictionary of Christian Biography and Literature
publisher =John Murray (Reprint: Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., 1999)
id =ISBN 1-56563-460-8
url =,%20of%20Byzantium
accessdate = 2007-08-10


External links

* [ St Alexander the Patriarch of Constantinople] Orthodox Icon and Synaxarion

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Alexander — This article is about the male first name. For other uses, see Alexander (disambiguation). Alexander Paris, depicted in this c. 1636 painting by Peter Paul Rubens making his famous judgment, was given the surname Alexander as a child when he rou …   Wikipedia

  • Alexander van Millingen — (Constantinopla, 1840 ibíd., 15 de septiembre de 1915) fue un académico en el campo de la arquitectura bizantina y profesor en el Robert College de Estambul entre 1879 y 1915. Contenido 1 Biografía 2 Obras destacadas 3 Enlace …   Wikipedia Español

  • Constantinople — • Capital, formerly of the Byzantine, now of the Ottoman, Empire (As of 1908, when the article was written.) Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Constantinople     Constantinople …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Alexander (Early Bishops) —     Alexander (Early Bishops)     † Catholic Encyclopedia ► Alexander (Early Bishops)     ALEXANDER OF ANTIOCH     Thirty eighth bishop of that see (413 421), praised by Theodoret (Hist. Eccl. V, 35) for the holiness and austerity of his life,… …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Alexander III of Russia — Alexander III Photograph by Sergey Levitsky Emperor and Autocrat of All the Russias Reign 13 March 1881 – 1 November 1894 ( 100000 …   Wikipedia

  • Alexander I of Greece — Alexander, King of the Hellenes ( el. Αλέξανδρος, Βασιλεύς των Ελλήνων; 1 August 1893 ndash;25 October 1920) ruled Greece from 1917 to 1920 until his unusual death as the result of sepsis contracted by being bitten by two monkeys.Early lifeHe was …   Wikipedia

  • Alexander Mantashev — (Armenian: Ալեքսանդր Մանթաշյան, Aleksandr Mantashian; Russian: Александр Иванович Манташев, Aleksandr Ivanovich Mantashev; March 3, 1842 – April 19, 1911 and was buried on April 30 in the Armenian Pantheon of Tbilisi) was a prominent Armenian oil …   Wikipedia

  • Alexander Drankov — Alexander Osipovich Drankov (1880? – 1948 or 1949?) was a Russian photographer, cameraman, film producer, and one of the pioneers of the Russian pre revolutionary cinematography.The exact date of birth and birthplace of Alexander Drankov are… …   Wikipedia

  • Alexander Leeper — (3 June 1848 ndash; 6 August 1934), was an Australian educationist.Alexander Leeper, the son of the Rev. Alexander Leeper, canon of St Patrick s Cathedral, Dublin, was born on 3 June 1848. He was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, where he… …   Wikipedia

  • Alexander the Good — ( Alexandru cel Bun ; Alexandru I Muşat ) was a Voivode (Prince) of Moldavia between 1400 and 1432,cite book|last=Vauchez|first=Andre|title=Encyclopedia of the Middle Ages|publisher=Routledge|date=2001 04… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.