The PriestMartyr Proterias, Patriarch of Alexandria, and those suffering with him

Commemorated on February 28

            The PriestMartyr Proterias, Patriarch of Alexandria, and those suffering with him: During the time of the patriarchal tenure of Dioskoros (444-451), who was an adherent of the Monophysite false-teaching of Eutykhios, at Alexandria there lived the presbyter Proterias, who fearlessly denounced the heretics and confessed the Orthodox faith. In the year 451 at the Fourth OEcumenical Council at Chalcedon, the heresy of Eutykhios was condemned and the definition established, by which Christ is confessed to be Perfect God and Perfect Man, existing in these two natures "unconfusedly" and "indivisibly" [and "immutably" and "inseparably"]. The heretic Dioskoros was deposed and exiled, and upon the Alexandria patriarchal throne was elevated Proterias, distinguished for his strict and virtuous life.
            However, many supporters of Dioskoros remained in Alexandria, and rebelling against the choice of Proterias, they rioted and burned the soldiers, sent out to pacify them. The pious emperor Marcian (450-457) deprived the Alexandrians of all the privileges they were accustomed to, and dispatched new and re-inforced detachments of soldiers. The inhabitants of the city then quieted down and besought Patriarch Proterias to intercede before the emperor to restore them their former privileges. The kindly saint consented and readily gained the request.
            After the death of Marcian the heretics again raised their heads. Presbyter Timothy, himself striving for the patriarchal dignity, and taking advantage of the absence of the governor of the city, came forth at the head of the rioters. Saint Proterias decided to leave Alexandria, but that night he saw in a dream the holy Prophet Isaiah, who said to him: "Return to the city, and there I shalt await thee". The saint realised that this was a premonition about his martyr's end. He returned to Alexandria and concealed himself in a baptistry.
            The rioting heretics broke into this refuge and killed the patriarch and six men who were with him. It did not even stop them, that this occurred during the Canon of Pascha on Holy Saturday. In their raging they went so far, that they tied a rope to the body of the murdered patriarch, and they dragged it on the street, struck at and lacerated it, and finally they burnt it, and scattered the ashes to the wind (+ 457).
            The Orthodox reported about this to the holy Emperor Leo (457-474) and Saint Anatolios, Patriarch of Constantinople (449-458). An army arrived at Alexandria, the rebellion was crushed, and Timothy brought to trial and exiled.
            Regarding the death of the PriestMartyr Proterias, four Thracian bishops of his time wrote: "We do consider His Holiness Proterias in the ranks and choir of the Saints, and we beseech God to be compassionate and merciful to us through his prayers".

1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.

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