A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology

Smith, William

A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology. William Smith, LLD, ed. 1890

(Ἀλέξανδρος ὁ Ἀνθρακεὺς), flourished in the third century. To avoid the dangers of a handsome person, he disguised himself and lived as a coal-heaver at Cumae, in Asia Minor. The see of this city being vacant, the people asked St. Gregory Thaumaturgus to come and ordain them a bishop. He rejected many who were offered for consecration, and when he bade the people prefer virtue to rank, one in mockery cried out, " Well, then ! make Alexander, the coal-heaver, bishop!" St. Gregory had him summoned, discovered his disguise, and having arrayed him in sacerdotal vestments, presented him to the people, who, with surprise and joy, accepted the appointment. He addressed them in homely but dignified phrase, and ruled the church till the Decian persecution, when he was burnt, A. D. 251. (S. Greg. Nyssen. Vit . S. Greg. Thaumaturg. §§ 19, 20, ap. Galland. Biblioth. Patr. vol. iii. pp. 457-460.)