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,
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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