ST. PROTERIUS, PATRIARCH OF ALEXANDRIA, M.
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 intrusting 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. Quirinus, 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 intercessionibus
misericordem et propitium Deum nobis fieri postulamus. Conc. t. 4, p.
907. His name occurs in the Greek calendars on the 28th of
February.—See Evagrius, Hist. Ecc1.1. 2, c. 4. Liberat. Diac.
ip Breviar. c. 15. Theophanes in Marciano et Leone. Theodor. Lect.1.
1 F. Cacciari, Diss, in Op. S. Leonis, t. 3. Henschenius, t. 3, Febr.