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Alexander of Jerusalem

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Biography

 Alexander of Jerusalem
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Saint Alexander of Jerusalem (died 251 AD) is venerated as a Martyr and Saint by both the Eastern Orthodox Churches and the Roman Catholic Church. He died during the persecution of Emperor Decius.

He was the first Bishop of Cappadocia and was afterwards associated as coadjutor with the Bishop of Jerusalem, Saint Narcissus, who was then 116 years old. Alexander had been imprisoned for his faith in the time of Roman Emperor 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 (Syria Palaestina). 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. Alban Butler says that they had studied together in the great Christian school of Alexandria. Alexander ordained him a priest.

Alexander is praised 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". His vita states that 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.

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Originally printed in 1885, the ten-volume set, Ante-Nicene Fathers, brings together the work of early Christian thinkers. In particular, it brings together the writings of the early Church fathers prior to the fourth century Nicene Creed. These volumes are noteworthy for their inclusion of entire texts, and not simply fragments or excerpts from these great writings. The translations are fairly literal, providing both readers and scholars with a good approximation of the originals. This volume harmonizes various fragmentary material. It contains the work of different authors: St. Gregory Thaumaturgus, Pope Dionysius of Alexandria, Sextus Julius Africanus, St. Anatolius, Pope Peter of Alexandria, and others. These writings were heavily influential on the early Church, and for good reason, as they are inspirational and encouraging. These volumes also come with many useful notes, providing the reader with new levels of understanding. Overall, Ante-Nicene Fathers, or any part of it, is a welcome addition to one's reading list.

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