), literary and ecclesiastical.
1. Of ALEXANDRIA (1). Petrus or Peter, the first of that name in the st of the bishops of Alexandria, succeeded Theonas in that see sometime between Easter and the latter part of November, A. D. 300, according to Tillemont's calculation ; and exercised his episcopal functions more than eleven (Eusebius says for twelve) years. Of the time and place of his birth we have no account. Cave considers that he was probably born at Alexandria, and that he was there "trained alike to virtue and to sacred literature by his predecessor Theonas ;" but we do not know that these statements ments are more than inferences from his being chosen to succeed Theonas.
He had not occupied the see quite three years when the persecution commenced by the emperor Diocletian [DIOCLETIANUS] and continued by his successors, broke out A. D. 304. During its long continuance Peter was obliged to flee from one hiding-place to another.
The monk Ammonius (De Caede SS. Patrum in Monte Syna et in Solitudine Raithu,
apud Valesium, Not. ad Euseb. H. E.
7.32) attests this; and Peter himself, if confidence may be placed in a discourse said to have been delivered by him in prison and given in certain Acta Petri Alexandrini
(apud Valesium, ibid.) states that he found shelter at different times in Mesopotamia, in Phoenicia, in Palestine, and in various islands; but if these Acta
are the same that were published by Coméfis in his Selecti Martyrum Triumphi
, 8vo. Paris, 1660, their authority is materially lessened by the inter-polations of Symeon Metaphrastes. Cave conjectures that he was imprisoned during the reign of Diocletian or Maximian Galerius [MAXIMIANUS II.], and if there is truth in the account given by Epiphanius (Haeres.
68.1-5) of the origin of the schism in the Egyptian churches, occasioned by Meletius of Lycopolis [MELETIUS, literary and ecclesiastical, No. 3], the conjecture is probably correct; and if so, Peter must have obtained his release, as this imprisonment must have been antecedent to the deposition of Meletius by Petrus, and the commencement of the Meletian schism.
In the ninth year of the persecution Peter was, suddenly and contrary to all expectation, again arrested and was beheaded, by order of Maximin Daza [MAXIMINUS II.], without any distinct charge being brought against him. Eusebius speaks with the highest admiration of his piety and his attainments in sacred literature, and he is revered as a saint and martyr both in the Eastern and Western Churches. His martyrdom is placed by an ancient Oriental chronicle of the bishops of Alexandria, translated by Abraham Echellensis (Paris, 1651), on the 29th of the month Athur or Athyr, which corresponds sometimes to the 25th, and sometimes to the 26th November. His memory is now cele 26th, except in Russia, where the more ancient computation, which placed it on the 25th, is still followed.
An account of the martyrdom (Acta Martyrii
) of Peter, in the Latin version of Anastasi Bibliothecarius, is given by Surius, De Probatis Sanctorum Vitis,
a. d. 25 Nov.; and the Greek Acta
of Symeon Metaphrastes are given, with a Latin version, in the Selecti Martyrum Triumphi
of Combéfis already cited.
Peter wrote several works, of which there aro very scanty remains.
These discourses are not extant in their original form, but fifteen canons relating to the lapsi, or those who in time of persecution had fallen away, fourteen of then from the Sermo de Poenitentia,
the fifteenth from the Sermo in Sanctum Pascha,
are contained in all the Canonum Collectiones. They were published in a Latin version in the Micropresbyticon, Basel, 1550
; in the Orthodoxographa of Heroldus, Basel, 1555
, and of Grynaeus, Basel, 1569
; in the first and second editions of De la Bigne's Bibliotheca Patrum, Paris, 1575 and 1589
, and in the Cologne edition, 1618. They are given also in the Concilia.
In the edition of Labbe (vol. i. col. 955) and in that of Hardouin (vol. i. col. 225) they are given in Greek with a Latin version, but without notes; but in the Συνοδικόν
, sive Pandectae Canonum
of Bishop Beveridge (vol. ii. p. 8, fol. Oxon. 1672) they are accompanied by the notes of Joannes Zonaras and Theodorus Balsamon. They are entitled Τοῦ μακαρίου ἀρχιεπισκόπου Ἀλεξανσρείας Πέτρου καὶ μάρτυρος κανόνες ἐπιφερόμενοι ἐν τῷ περὶ μετανοίας αὐτοῦ λόγῳ Beati Petri Archiepiscopi Alexandrini et Martyris Canones qui feruntur in Sermone ejus de Poenilentia.
It is only in some MSS. and editions that the separate source of the fifteenth canon is pointed out.
A passage from the Sermo in Sanctum Pascha,
or from some other work of Peter's on the same subject, is given in the Diatriba de Paschate
prefixed to the Chronicon Alexandrinum
and published separately in the Uranologion
of Petavius, fol. Paris, 1630, p. 396, &c.
As the Diatriba
is mutilated, and the extract from Peter forms its present commencement, it was hastily inferred by some critics that the Diatriba
itself was the work of Peter, the title of the citation being considered as applying to the whole treatise; but Cave and others have observed that the Diatriba
was written not before the latter part of the sixth century. A Vatican MS. from which the text of the Bonn edition of the Chronicon
is taken, describes the work of Peter from which the citation is taken, as addressed Τρικεντίῳ τινι
, “Cuidam Tricentio.
There is a citation from this treatise in the Acta Concilii Ephesini;
it occurs in the Actio prima,
and a part of it is again cited in the Defensio Cyrilli
which is given in the sequel (pars 3.100.2) of the Act.
Three citations in Latin, one of them a version of the passage in the Defensio Cyrilli, are given in the Acta Concilii Chalcedon. Actio prima.
vol. iii. col. 508, 836, vol. iv. col. 286, ed. Labbe, vol. i. col. 1399, vol. ii. col. 241, ed. Hardouin.)
A short citation from this occurs in the Latin version of the work of Leonitus of Byzantium [LEONTIUS, literary, No. 5], Contra Nestorianos et Eutychianos,
lib. i. (apud Galland. Biblioth. Patrum,
vol. xii. p. 669).
A fragment in the original is given in a part of the Greek text of Leontius published by Mai in his Scriptorum Vet. Noua Collectio,
vol. vii. p. 134, 4to. Romae, 1833.
5, 6. Two fragments
Two fragments, one described, ἐκ τοῦ πρώτου λόγου περὶ τοῦ μηδὲ προυπάρχειν τὴν ψυχὴν, μηδε ἁμαρτήσασαν τοῦτυ εἰς τὸ σῶμα βληθῆναι
, Ex primo Sermone, de eo quod nec praeexstitit Anima, nec cum peccasset propterea in Corpus missa est,
the other as, ἐκ τῆς μυσταγωγίας ἧς ἐποιήσατο πρὸς τὴν ἐκκλησίαν μέλλων τὸν τοῦ μαρτυρίου στέφανον ἀναδέχεσθαι
, Ex Mystagogia quam fecit ad Ecclesiam cum Martyrii Coronam suscepturus esset,
are cited by the emperor Justinian, in his Epistola
(s. Tractatus ad Mennam CPolilanum adversus Origenem,
given in the Acta Concilia CPolitani II.
s. Oecunmenici V.
vol. v. col. 652, ed. Labbe, vol. iii. col. 256, 257, ed. Hardouin.) Another fragment of the same discourse is contained in the compilation Leontii et Joannis Rerum Sacrarum Lib. II. published by Mai in the above cited Collectio, vol. vii. p. 85.
noticing some irregular proceedings of the schismatic Meletius.
This letter, which is very short, was published in a Latin version by Scipio Maffei, in the third volume of his Obsercazione Letterarie
(6 vols. 12mo. Veronae 1737-1740).
A fragment of this work is cited by Leontius and Joannes, and was published by Mai (ibid. p. 96). We have no certain information of any other works of Peter.
A fragment of one of his works, of which the title is not given, is cited by the emperor Justinian in his Tractatus contra Monophysitas,
published by Mai in the Collectio
already cited, vol. vii. pp. 306, 307.
The Epistoa de Lapsi Tempore Persecutionis,
in the Bodleian library (Codd. Baroccian. No. clviii.; see Catatlog. MStorutm Angliue et Hibern.
), is probably the same as the Canones; and a fragment from an Epistola ad Epicteutum,
extant in a MS. in the library of St. Mark at Venice, is probably not from Peter but from Athanasius.
Some passages (quaedam loca) from the writings of Peter are given in the Πανδέκτης τῶν ἑρμηνειῶν τῶν θειων ἐντολῶν τοῦ Κυρίου
, Pandecta de Interpretatione Mandatorum Divinorum
, of Nicon [NICON, literary, No. 3).
The published fragments of Peter's works, with the exception of the passage in the Diatriba de Paschate,
the Latin citations in the Acta Concilii Chalcedon.,
and the fragments cited by Justinian, are given in the fourth volume of Galland's Bibliotheca Patrum,
p. 91, &c.
7.32, 8.13, 9.6, cum notis Valesii; Athanasius, Apolog. contra Arianos,
100.59; Epiphan. l.c. ;
Concilia, ll. cc.; Cave, Hist. Litt.
ad ann. 301, vol. i. p. 160, ed. Oxford, 1740-1743; Tillemont, Mémoires,
vol. v. p. 436, &c.; Fabric. Biblioth. Graec.
vol. ix. p. 316, &c.; Galland. Biblioth. Patrumt, proleg. ad vol. 4.100.6.)