St. Proterius

St. Proterius

St. Proterius
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He was ordained priest by St. Cyril, but opposed Dioscorus, his successor, on his patronizing Eutyches, and giving into his errors, notwithstanding his endeavor to gain him to his interest, by making him archpriest, and entrusting him with the care of his church. Dioscorus being condemned and deposed by the council of Chalcedon, Proterius was elected in his room, and was accordingly ordained and installed in 552. The people of Alexandria, famed for riots and tumults, then divided; some demanding the return of Dioscorus, others supporting Proterius. The factious party was headed by two vicious ecclesiastics, Timothy, surnamed Elurus, and Peter Mongus, whom the saint had canonically excommunicated. And so great and frequent were the tumults and seditions they raised against him, that during the whole course of his pontificate he was never out of danger of falling a sacrifice to the schismatical party, regardless both of the imperial orders and decisions of the council of Chalcedon.

In the height of one of these tumults, Elurus, having caused himself to be ordained by two bishops of his faction, that had been formerly deposed, took possession of the episcopal throne, and was proclaimed by his party the sole lawful bishop of Alexandria. But being soon after driven out of the city by the imperial commander, this so inflamed the Eutychian party, that their barefaced attempts obliged the holy patriarch to take sanctuary in the baptistery adjoining to the church of St. Qnirinus, where the schismatical rabble breaking in, they stabbed him on Good-Friday, in the year 557. Not content with this, they dragged his dead body through the whole city, cut it in pieces, burnt it and scattered the ashes in the air. The bishops of Thrace, in a letter to the emperor Leo, soon after his death, declared that they placed him among the martyrs, and hoped to find mercy through his intercession. Sanctissi mum Proterium in ordine et choro sanctorum martyrum ponimus, et ejus in. tercessionibus misericordem et propitium Deum nobis fieri postulamus.
(Source: Butler’s Lives of the Saints)

Martyrs in the Plague of Alexandria

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Martyrs in the Plague of Alexandria
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A violent pestilence laid waste the greatest part of the Roman empire during twelve years, from 249 to 263. Five thousand persons died of it in one day in Rome, in 262. St. Dionysius of Alexandria relates, that a cruel sedition and civil war had filled that city with murders and tumults; so that it was safer to travel from the eastern to the western parts of the then known world, than to go from one street of Alexandria to another. The pestilence succeeded this first scourge, and with such violence, that there was Dot a single house in that great city which entirely escaped it, or which had not some dead to mourn for.

All places were filled with groans, and the living appeared almost dead with fear. The noisome exhalations of carcasses, and the very winds, which should have purified the air, loaded with infection and pestilential vapors from the Nile, increased the evil. The fear of death rendered the heathens cruel towards their nearest relations As soon as any of them had caught the contagion, though their dearest friends, they avoided and fled from them as their greatest enemies. They threw them half dead into the streets, and abandoned them without succor; they left their bodies without burial, so fearful were they of catching that mortal distemper, which, however, it was very difficult to avoid, notwithstanding all their precautions.

This sickness, which was the greatest of calamities to the pagans, was but an exercise and trial to the Christians, who showed, on that occasion, how contrary the spirit of charity is to the interestedness of self-love During the persecutions of Decius, Gallus, and Valerian, they durst not appear, but were obliged to keep their assemblies in solitudes, or in ships tossed on the waves, or in infected prisons, or the like glares. which the sanctity of our mysteries made venerable. Yet in the time of this public calamity, most of them, regardless of the danger of their own lives. In assisting others, visited, relieved, and attended the sick, and comforted the dying. They closed their eyes, carried them on their shoulders, laid them out, washed their bodies, and decently interred them, and soon after shared the same fate themselves; but those who survived still succeeded to their charitable office, which they paid to the very pagans their persecutors. Thus