Reference numbers Urk. 15
Doc. 14
CPG 2003
Incipit καὶ πρὸς τῇ ὀρθῇ περὶ πατρὸς
Date 319-324?
Ancient source Codex Brit. Mus. Add. 12,156
Modern Syriac edition J.B. Pitra, ed., Analecta Sacra vol. 4 (Paris: A. Roger and F. Chernoviz, Bibliopolis, 1883) pp. 196-97
Modern reconstruction of the Greek text E. Schwartz, “Zur Geschichte des Athanasius.” Nachrichten von der Königlichen Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften  zu Göttingen, Philologisch-Historische Klasse (Gottingen: Luder Horstmann, 1905) pp. 265-67

[A letter of Alexander of Alexandria from the encyclical writing 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.) 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. [And after the opening…]

(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.) 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)”. [And after other things…]

(4.) In fact, according to this saying they must deny both “in the beginning was the Word” and “Christ is the Power of God and the Wisdom of God,” 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.

[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.]

(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.]

Translation by AJW

Discussed in Hanson, p. 136 and 148

Back to Early Arian DocumentsNext Arian Document

Back to Alexander of Alexandria

No Responses yet