2. Of ALEXANDRIA (2), was presbyter of the Church at Alexandria during the life-time of Athanasius, whom he accompanied for many years in his wanderings and shared his dangers. Athanasius before his death had nominated Peter as his successor, and after his decease his appointment was carried into effect with the great applause of the orthodox part of the Alexandrian populace and with the approval of the neighbouring bishops, A. 100.373.
But the Arians, then in the ascendant under the emperor Valens, though they had, from reverence or fear, conceded the quiet possession of the see to the age and authority of Athanasius [ATHANASIUS], were by no means disposed to acquiesce in the appointment of an orthodox successor; and Peter was at once deposed, and, according to Socrates and Sozomen, imprisoned by the officers of the emperor. Tillemont and Galland, however, doubt if he was imprisoned.
At any rate he soon made his escape, and, getting on board ship, fled to Rome, where he was kindly received by the pope Damasus I., leaving his Arian competitor Lucius [LUCIUS, No. 2] in possession of the churches of Alexandria. On the departure of Valens from Antioch (A. D. 378) to his fatal war with the Goths, Peter, who had returned from Rome with letters from Damasus, confirming his title to the see, recovered possession of the churches by favour of the populace, who expelled Lucius, and compelled him to flee to Constantinople. Peter, however, survived his restoration only for a short time, dying A. D. 381, and being succeeded in his bishopric by his own brother Timotheus or Timothy. Valesius (Not. ad Sozomten. H. E.
7.9) describes Peter as the abettor of Maximus the Cynic [MAXIMUS ALEXANDRINUS] in his usurpation of the see of Constantinople, but Theodoret (H. E.
5.8) ascribes the transaction to Timotheus. (Socrates, H. E.
4.20-22, 37; Sozonten, H. E.
6.19, 39 Theodoret, H.E.
Peter was held in the highest esteem by his con temporaries. Gregory Nazianzen unites him in the same eulogy with St. Athanasius; and the emperor Theodosius the Great, in one of his laws, refers to the faith preached by hint as the standard of orthodoxy. (Tillemont, Men. vol. vi. p. 580, &c.) Two productions of Peter have been preserved in part:--1. Ἐπιστολὴ
a letter sent by him, after his escape from Alexandria, to all the churches, giving an account of the persecutions and other atrocities perpetrated by Lucius and the Arian party. Theodoret has given a large extract, probably the chief part of this, in the original Gretk (H. E.
4.22). 2. Epsitola ad Episcopos et Presbyteros atque Diaconos pro vera Fide in exsilio constitutos,
s. ad Episcopos, Presbyteros, atque Diaconos qui sub Valente Imperatore Diocaeaream fuerant exules missi.
Facundus has preserved two passages of this in a Latin version in his Pro Defensione Trium Capitulorum,
lib. 4. c.2, lib. 11. c.2.
These fragments of the works of Peter are given from Theodoret and Facundus, in the seventh volume of the Bibliotheca Patrum.
of Galland. (Cave, Hist. Litt.
ad ann. 371, vol. i. p.254 ; Fabric. Biblioth. Graec.
vol. ix. p. 318; Galland. Bibliotheca Patrum,
proleg. ad vol. 7.100.6.)