Friday, February 14, 2003

from the desert: Alexander the Patriarch of Antioch

Alexander the Patriarch of Antioch was notorious for his compassion and mercy. One of his secretaries once stole some gold from him, fled in fear and came to the Thebaid in Egypt. He was found wandering around by the bloodthirsty barbarians of Egypt and of the Thebaid; they took him as a slave to the remotest corner of their land. When the godly Alexander heard about this, he ransomed him from captivity at a cost of eighty-five pieces of gold. When the captive returned, the bishop was so loving and gentle with him that one of the inhabitants of the city once said, "There is nothing more profitable or advantageous than to sin against Alexander." On another occasion, one of the deacons slandered Alexander before all the clergy. But the godly Alexander prostrated himself before the man saying, "Brother, forgive me."

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