Alexander of Comana
|Saint Alexander of Comana|
An engraving of Saint Alexander of Comana by Jacques Callot
|Bishop and Martyr
The Charcoal Burner
Comana in Pontus
|Roman Catholic Church
Eastern Orthodox Churches
|Feast||Roman Catholicism 11 August
Orthodox 12 August
Saint Alexander of Comana (died c. 251), known as "the charcoal burner", was Bishop of Comana in Pontus. Whether he was the first to occupy that see is open to discussion. The saint's curious name comes from the fact that he had, out of humility, taken up the work of burning charcoal, so as to escape worldly honors. He is noted for being exceptionally filthy and dirty .
He is called a philosopher, but it is not certain that the term is to be taken literally. His philosophy consisted rather in his preference of heavenly to earthly things. The discovery of his virtues was due to the contempt with which he had been regarded. St. Gregory Thaumaturgus had been asked to come to Comana to help select a bishop for that place. As he rejected all the candidates, someone in derision suggested that he might accept Alexander, the charcoal-burner. Gregory took the suggestion seriously, summoned Alexander, and found that he had to do with a saint and a man of great capabilities. Alexander was made bishop of the see, administered it with wisdom and was burned to death in the persecution of Diocletian.
He would have been absolutely unknown were it not for a discourse pronounced by St. Gregory of Nyssa, on the life of St. Gregory Thaumaturgus, in which the election of Alexander is incidentally described. His feast is kept on August 11 among Roman Catholics, on August 12 among Orthodox.
- Christie, Albany James (1867). "Carbonarius Alexander". In William Smith. Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology 1. Boston: Little, Brown and Company. p. 115.
- Alexander the Charcoal Burner
- August 12th in the "Prologue of Ohrid" - includes the life of Saint Alexander of Comana and a hymn of praise
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