Alexander, bp. of Jerusalem
Alexander, bp. of Jerusalem, was an early friend and fellow scholar of
Origen at Alexandria, where they studied together under Pantaenus and Clemens Alex.
(Eus. H. E. vi. 14). He was bishop of a city in Cappadocia (ib. vi.
11); or, according to Valesius (Not. ad Euseb.) and Tillemont (Mém. eccl.
iii. p. 183), of Flaviopolis in Cilicia. He became a confessor in the persecution
of Severus, A.D. 204, and was thrown
into prison, where he continued some years. He was still a prisoner at the commencement
of Caracalla's reign, A.D. 211, when
he sent a letter by the hand of Clemens to congratulate the church of Antioch on
the appointment of Asclepiades as their bishop in the room of Serapion (Eus. vi.
11). The next year he was released from prison, and, in fulfilment of a vow, visited
Jerusalem, where he was chosen coadjutor to the aged bp. Narcissus. This being the
first occasion of the translation of a bishop, as well as of the appointment of
a coadjutor bishop, and in apparent violation of the canons of the church, it was
deemed essential to obtain the sanction of the whole episcopate of Palestine. A
synod was summoned at Jerusalem, and the assembled bishops gave their unanimous
consent to the step, A.D. 213 (Hieron. de Script. Eccl.;
Vales. Not. in Euseb. vi. 11; Socr. vii. 36; Bingham, Origines, bk.
ii. § 4). On the death of Narcissus, Alexander succeeded as sole bishop. His chief
claim to celebrity rests on the library he formed at Jerusalem, and on the boldness
with which he supported Origen against his bishop, Demetrius of Alexandria. [Origen.]
The friendship of Alexander and Origen was warm and lasting; and the latter bears
testimony to the remarkable gentleness and sweetness of character manifested in
all Alexander's public instructions (Orig. Homil. I. in Lib. Reg. No. 1).
Alexander was again thrown into prison at Caesarea in the Decian persecution, where
he died A.D. 251 (Eus. H. E. vi. 46; Hieron. Script.
Eccl.). Eusebius has preserved some fragments of Alexander's letters: to the
Antinoites, H. E. vi. 11, to the church of Antioch, ib.; to Origen,
H. E. vi. 14, and to Demetrius, H. E. vi. 19. These have been published
by Galland, Biblioth. Vet. Patrum, vol. ii. pp. 201 seq. Clemens Alex. dedicated
his Canon Ecclesiasticus to him (Eus. vi. 13).