Achillas of Alexandria

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Achillas of Alexandria was the eighteenth Pope of Alexandria during the second decade of the fourth century. He had previously headed the Catechetical School of Alexandria. His episcopate lasted less than a year.

Little is known of Achillas’ early life. He was ordained a priest by Pope Theonas of Alexandria, with Pierius who had preceded him as head of the Catechetical School. Achillas was noted for his work in Greek philosophy and theology. He became the archbishop of Alexandria in 312 during the Diocletian persecutions, after the repose of Peter I in 311.

He inherited from Peter the Meletian sect that had been founded by the bishop of Lycopolis, Melitius, that was one of the sects that maintained a rigorous position on return to the church of those repentant Christians who had renounced their belief in Christ during the persecutions. Meletius had established a body of supporters, including twenty-eight bishops that he had consecrated, who challenged the primacy of the archbishop of Alexandria. According to the historian Philip Schaff, Peter had deposed Miletius as a disturber of the peace of the church, a deposition that he was unable to enforce. Also, Meletius has been alleged to have ordained as a priest Arius who had been excommunicated by Peter.

Shortly after Achillas became the archbishop of Alexandria, he was prevailed upon by supporters of Arius to not only to forgive the excommunication but also to place Arius as priest of the oldest church in Alexandria, the Church of Bucalis, breaching the command of his predecessor, Peter I. Achillas reposed in 313. This was the only notable action by Achillas during his episcopate to come down to us.

Succession box:
Achillas of Alexandria
Preceded by:
Peter I
Archbishop of Alexandria
312 - 313
Succeeded by:
Alexander I
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