Reference Dok. 14; Urk. 15; CPG 2003
Incipit [Καὶ πρὸς τῇ ὀρθῇ περὶ πατρὸς]
Date c. 323
Ancient source Brit. Museum, Add. 12,156
Modern editions Syriac: J. Pitra, Analecta Sacra  4:196-197
Greek (reconstruction): E. Schwartz, “Zur Geschichte des Athanasius,” 265-67 (= GS 3:127-129)

Sometime after the controversy had become inter-regional, affairs deteriorated further in Alexandria. Arius and his followers seem to have organized separate parishes; Alexander meanwhile sought to expel the Arian leaders from Alexandria, and solidify the opposition more widely. As part of that effort, Alexander composed an encyclical warning of Arius’s teaching and sent it out across the provinces, asking bishops everywhere to subscribe to the doctrinal analysis in the letter. R. Williams dates the letter to 323, after a preliminary “synod of 100 bishops” in Alexandria. Only a couple sections of the letter have been preserved, in Syriac, apparently belonging to the copy sent to Philogonius of Antioch-on-the-Orontes (§5), He may also be responsible for the introductory paragraph and for the notation of the signatories (§4b).

The Greek text below is that of E. Schwartz’s retroversion from the Syriac (first published by Pitra), found in his  “Zur Geschichte des Athanasius,” Nachrichten von der Königlichen Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften  zu Göttingen, Philologisch-Historische Klasse (Gottingen: Luder Horstmann, 1905) pp. 265-67 (reprinted in his Gesammelte Schriften 3:127-129). The English translation is by Aaron West.

Click here to access a downloadable pdf of this document.

This work is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

[Ἀλεξάνδρον Ἀλεξανδρείας ἐκ τοῦ ἐγκυκλίουτόμου τοῦ γεγραμμένου ὑπὸ τοῦ πάπαἈλεξάνδρου ἀρχιεπισκόπου Ἀλεξανδρείας περὶτῆς ὀρθῆς πίστεως πρὸς τοὺς κατὰ πάντα τόπονθεοφιλεῖς ἐπισκόπους, ᾧ καὶ συνέθεντο οἱθεοφιλεῖς ἐπίσκοποι τὸν ἀριθμὸν ὄντες πλέονἔλαττον διακόσιοι οὕτως κατέχειν ὑπογράψαντες. ὁ δὲ αὐτὸς τόμος ἐν πρώτοις μὲν ἐγράφη κατὰτῆς ἀσεβείας τῆς Ἀρείου καὶ τῶν μετ’ αὐτοῦἀποστατούντων, ἔπειτα δὲ περὶ τῆς καθολικῆςπίστεως καθὼς δεῖ πάντας κατέχειν καὶ ὅτιθεοτόκος ἐστὶν ἡ ἁγία παρθένος.][A letter of Alexander of Alexandria from the encyclical composed by Bishop Alexander, archbishop of Alexandria, concerning the correct faith, to God-loving bishops everywhere, to which about two hundred God-loving bishops subscribed, to confess these sentiments as their own. As for the letter itself, the first section was written against the impiety of Arius and those who revolted with him. The second part discusses the catholic faith: how it is necessary to hold fast to all the teachings, and that the holy Virgin is the Mother of God.]
1. Τῷ δεσπότῃ καὶ συλλειτουργῷ μου ὁμοψύχῳΜελιτίῳ καὶ τοῖς λοιποῖς ἐπισκόποις τῆςκαθολικῆς ἐκκλησίας Ἀλέξανδρος ἐν θεῷ χαίρειν. 1. To my master and fellow-minister who is of the same mind, Melitius, and to the other bishops of the catholic church. Alexander greets you in God’s name.
[Καὶ μετὰ τὴν ἀρχήν·] [And after the opening…]
2. καὶ πρὸς τῇ ὀρθῇ περὶ πατρὸς καὶ υἱοῦ πίστει, καθὼς ἡμᾶς αἱ γραφαὶ διδάσκουσιν,

ἕν πνεῦμα ἅγιον ὁμολογοῦμεν καὶ μίανἐκκλησίαν καθολικὴν καὶ τὴν ἀνάστασιν νεκρῶν, ἧς ἀπαρχὴ γέγονεν ὁ κύριος καὶ σωτὴρ ἡμῶν᾿Ιησοῦς Χριστός, σῶμα ἐνδυσάμενος ἐκ τῆςθεοτόκου Μαρίας, ἵν᾽ ἐπιδημήσῃ τῷ γένει τῶνἀνθρώπων, ἀποθανών, ἀναστὰς ἐκ νεκρῶν καὶἀναληφθεὶς ἐν οὐρανοῖς, καθήμενος ἐν δεξιᾷ τῆςμεγαλοσύνης.

2. With respect to the orthodox teaching on the Father and the Son: Just as the writings teach us, we confess one Holy Spirit and one Catholic Church and the resurrection of the dead, of which our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ has become the first-fruits. He was clothed in a body from Mary the Mother of God in order to dwell among the human race, he died, he rose from the dead, and was taken up into the heavens, where he is sitting at the right hand of the Majesty.
3. ταῦτα ἐκ μέρους ἐνεχάραξα τῇ ἐπιστολῇ τὸκαθ’ ἕκαστον ἀκριβῶς γράφειν ἀφεὶς διὰ τὸ μηδὲτὴν θείαν ὑμῶν ταῦτα λεληθέναι σπουδήν. ταῦταδιδάσκομεν, ταῦτα κηρύττομεν, ταῦτα τῆςἐκκλησίας τὰ ἀποστολικὰ δόγματα ὧν ἐναντίοιγενόμενοι οἱ ἀμφὶ τὸν Ἀρειον καὶ Ἀχιλλᾶν καὶ οἱμετ’ αὐτῶν ἀπεώσθησαν τῆς ἐκκλησίας, ἀλλότριαδιδάσκοντες τῆς ὀρθῆς ἡμῶν διδασκαλίας, κατὰτὸν μακάριον Παῦλον λέγοντα· “Εἴ τις ὑμᾶςεὐαγγελίζεται παρ᾽ ὃ παρελάβετε, ἀνάθεμαἔστω.”3. I have described these only partially in this letter, deciding not to carefully write out each point, because your godly zeal is well aware of these things. This we teach, this we preach; these are the doctrines of the apostolic church. Both Arius and Achillas and those with them have become hostile to these teachings and have been driven out of the church for teaching things which are foreign to the orthodox teaching. As the blessed Paul says, “If anyone preaches a gospel besides the one you received, let him be accursed (ἀνάθεμα ἔστω)”.
[Καὶ μεθ’ ἕτερα’·][And after other things…]
4. Καὶ γὰρ κατὰ τὸν λόγον τοῦτον τό τε “ἐν ἀρχῇἦν λόγος” ἀρνοῦνται καὶ τὸ “Χριστὸς θεοῦδύναμις καὶ θεοῦ σοφία ἢ λόγον εἶναι καὶσόφίαν τοῦ πατρὸς μὴ διδάσκοντες ἢ τὸν θεὸνοὔποτε γεννῆσαι σοφίαν καὶ λόγον πιστεύοντες·ἃ καὶ ἐννοῆσαι ἀπίστου ἂν εἴη ψυχῆς καὶἀλλοτρίας τῶν τοῦ Χριστοῦ μαθη<μά>των. 4. In fact, according to this saying they must deny both “in the beginning was the Word” [John 1:1]  and “Christ is the Power of God and the Wisdom of God” [1 Cor. 1:24] or they must teach that he is not the Word and Wisdom of the Father, or they must believe that God has never begotten Wisdom or Word. Understand that these ideas could only come from an unbelieving soul; they are completely foreign to a disciple of Christ.
[Καὶ μετὰ τὰς ὑπογραφὰς τὰς τῶν ἐκ πάσης τῆςΑἰγύπτου καὶ Θηβαΐδος καὶ Λιβύης καὶΠενταπόλεως καὶ τῶν ἄνω τόπων, ἔτι δὲ τῶν ἐκΠαλαιστίνης καὶ Ἀραβίας καὶ Ἀχαΐας καὶ Θράκηςκαὶ Ἑλλησπόντου καὶ Ἀσίας καὶ Καρίας καὶΛυκίας καὶ Λυδίας καὶ Φρυγίας καὶ Παμφυλίαςκαὶ Γαλατίας καὶ Πισιδίας καὶ Πόντου καὶΠολεμωνιακοῦ καὶ Καππαδοκίας καὶ Ἀρμενίαςὑπέγραψεν καὶ Φιλογόνιος ἐπίσκοπος Ἀντιοχείαςτῆς Συρίας [καὶ πάντες οἱ τῆς Ἀνατολῆςθεοφιλεῖς ἔπίσκοτοι τῆς Μεσοποταμίας καὶΑὐγουστοευφρατησίας καὶ Κιλικίας καὶἸσαυρίας καὶ Φοινίκης·][And after the signatures of the bishops in all of Egypt, Thebes, Libya, the Pentapolis, and the regions throughout that area, those also of Palestine, Arabia, Achaea, Thrace, the Hellespont, Asia, Caria, Lycia, Lydia, Phrygia, Pamphylia, Galatia, Pisidia, Antioch, Pontus, Polemoniakos, Cappadocia, and Armenia all signed it, and also Philogonius, bishop of Syrian Antioch (and all the God-loving bishops of the East (Mesopotamia, the Euphrates, Cilicia, Isauria, and Phoenicia.]
Φιλογόνιος ἐπίσκοπος τῆς καθολικῆς ἐκκλησίαςτῆς Ἀντιοχείας μεγάλα ἐπαινῶν τὴν πίστιν τὴν ἐντῷ τόμῳ τοῦ δεσπότου καὶ ὁμοψύχου μουἈλεξάνδρου καὶ συντιθέμενος αὐτῇ καὶ τῇὁμολογίᾳ τοῦ ἁγίου τάγματος τῶν ὁμοψύχων, ὑπέγραψα καὶ πάντες οἷ ἐν τῇ Ἀνατολῇ τοῖς ἄνωγεγραμμένοις.5. [Philogonios, bishop of the catholic church of Antioch, greatly praises the faith in this tome of my master and like-minded friend Alexander. I subscribe to it and to the confession of the ranks of the like-minded. I signed along with all of those in the East to the things written above.]

Back to Early Arian DocumentsNext Arian Document

Back to Alexander of Alexandria

Last updated 5/6/24 by AGC

No Responses yet