Alexander of Constantinople

From OrthodoxWiki
Jump to: navigation, search

Our father among the saints Alexander of Constantinople was the first bishop of Constantinople having been the bishop of the city of Byzantium when the name of the city was changed to Constantinople. Alexander participated in the First Ecumenical Council at Nicea and fought against the Arian heresy. His feast day is August 30.


St. Alexander is believed to have been born between 237 and 244. He was elected as a vicar to assist St. Metrophanes, who was the bishop of Byzantium during the early decades of the fourth century, and was of great age by the time of the council at Nicea. There is considerable uncertainty about the time of Alexander’s transition as Metrophanes’ successor as Bishop of Byzantium and Metrophanes’ repose. Alexander’s consecration as vicar is believed to have taken place between 313 and 314, when Alexander was 72 years old. In view of Metrophanes’ age Alexander attended the Council in Nicea, although Metrophanes may have attended the council himself. [1]. In the event, in accordance with Metrophanes’ will, Alexander succeeded Metrophanes upon his reposed.

The central issue of the Council at Nicea was Arius and his teaching Arianism. Alexander supported Alexander of Alexandria in the defense of the Trinitarian position at the council that in the end resulted in the council’s condemnation of Arius and Arianism. After the council, Arius wanted to be received back into communion. With the support of Eusebius of Nicomedia, who convinced him, Constantine I commanded Alexander to formally receive Arius back into communion. [2] According to Socrates Scholasticus, Arius did not in fact repent of his heresy, but was equivocating, of which Bishop Alexander was aware.[3] Alexander, though threatened by the Eusebians with deposition and banishment, persisted in his refusal to admit Arius back into the Church. Alexander 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 in 336 on his way to the church, before he could be received back into communion.

Alexander did not long survive Arius.[4] On his deathbed he was said to have nominated his vicar, Paul as his successor, and to have warned his clergy against Macedonius, a semi-Arian who became bishop of Constantinople in 342 and whose teachings inspired Macedonianism.


  1. The website of the Ecumenical Patriarchate [[1]] lists Alexander succeeding Metrophanes in 314
  2. Athanasius of Alexandria Ep. ad Serap.; Rufinus, Hist. i.
  3. Socrates Scholasticus, op. cit. i. 37
  4. Socrates Scholasticus, op. cit. ii. 6 ; Theodoret, op. cit.i. 19
Succession box:
Alexander of Constantinople
Preceded by:
Bishop of Byzantium – vicar
Succeeded by:
Preceded by:
Bishop of Constantinople
Succeeded by:
Paul I
Help with box

Troparion - Tone 4

O God of our Fathers, always act with kindness towards us; take not Your mercy from us, but guide our lives in peace through the prayers of the Patriarchs Alexander, John, and Paul.

Kontakion - Tone 8

Set aflame by the love of Christ, O glorious ones, you took up the yoke of His precious Cross revealing yourselves as followers in His footsteps by your way of life, and you became partakers of His divine glory, divinely-wise Alexander, with wonderful John and glorious Paul. As you stand before His throne, earnestly pray for our souls.


External links