Saturday, November 26, 2011

Peter of Alexandria

was Patriarch of Alexandria (300–311).

It is believed that Peter was given by his parents to His Holiness Theonas to be brought up as a priest, similarly to the story of Samuel in the Old Testament. He rose through the ranks of holy orders, first becoming a reader, then a deacon, then a priest. On his death bed, Theonas advised the church leaders to choose Peter as his successor, which they did.

Peter's time as bishop included the most terrible persecution Christianity was subjected to, that of Roman Emperor Diocletian, which began in 303, and continued intermittently over the next ten years.

Accounts of Peter's position during the persecution vary, but one states that he was imprisoned for a time with bishop Meletius of Lycopolis and they fell into an argument over the treatment of Christians who had either offered pagan sacrifice or surrendered scriptures to the authorities to save their lives during the persecution. Peter urged leniency while Meletius held firmly that the lapsed had abandoned their faith and needed to be rebaptised. Their argument became heated, and was ended when Peter hung a curtain between him and Meletius. One of Meletius' followers was a priest named Arius (modern scholarship differs on whether this was the same Arius as became involved with the Arian controversy a few years later). According to Severus of Ashmumeen, Arius tried in vain to receive absolution from the Patriarch before Peter was executed, and before dying Peter issued a prophecy against Arius.

Propers for Peter of Alexandria - Bishop and Martyr

The Collect.

O Almighty God, who didst give to thy servant Peter boldness to confess the Name of our Saviour Jesus Christ before the rulers of this world, and courage to die for this faith: Grant that we may always be ready to give a reason for the hope that is in us, and to suffer gladly for the sake of the same our Lord Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

The Lesson - 2 Esdras 2:42-48

The Holy Gospel - St. Matthew 10:16-22

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