The Martyrdom of Thirty Thousand Christians in Alexandria
On this day, is the commemoration of the martyrdom of the thirty thousand Christians in the city of Alexandria. When Emperor Marcianus banished Pope Dioscorus to the island of Gangra, he appointed Proterius, a Patriarch, in his place. The bishops of Egypt refused to have a fellowship with him. They assembled a council against him, the Council of Chalcedon, and the Tome of Leo(1). Proterius became raged and with the aid of the government forces he attacked and plundered the monasteries and churches. Then he confiscated all their endowments for himself and he became wealthy. Thieves attacked him during the night, killed him, and plundered what he had. His friends sent to the Emperor saying, "The followers of Dioscorus were the ones that killed the Patriarch that was appointed by the Emperor."
The Emperor became furious and sent a number of his soldiers, who killed about thirty thousand Christians in the city of Alexandria.
Shortly after, Marcianus died and was succeeded by Leo the Great. The bishops of Egypt seized this opportunity and ordained Fr. Timothy a Patriarch for Alexandria. Immediately the new Pope assembled a council and excommunicated the Council of Chalcedon. The heretics informed the Emperor saying, "Those who killed Proterius ordained for themselves a Patriarch without permission from the Emperor." The Emperor was enraged and he exiled Abba Timothy and his brother Anatolius to the island of Gagra. They remained there for seven years until Emperor Leo the Less released them. After the return of Pope Timothy, he cooperated with Abba Peter of Antioch, and assembled a council of five hundred bishops in the capital. This council judged to refuse the Council of Chalcedon, and also affirmed the teaching of the unity of the natures of the Lord Christ. They also presented their report to the Emperor who approved it. The Emperor issued an edict that dictated to abide by this council report only. As a result, the Sees of Alexandria, Constantinople, Antioch and Jerusalem were united for a long time.
May the prayers of these fathers be with us. Amen.
(1) This Tome was sent by Leo, bishop of Rome, to the Council of Chalcedon. It briefly stated that, "Christ the two, the God and the Man, came. The first overwhelmed us with miracles, and the second received the humiliations." Therefore the Orthodox anathematized the Council of Chalcedon, as Pope Dioscorus had anathematized the heresy of Eutyches. Eutyches stated that the Human nature of Christ mingled with His Divine nature, and that the essence of the Divinity had suffered the passion of the Cross.
Pope Cyril of Alexandria (Kyrillos I) said, "The union of the Divinity and the Humanity, like the union of fire and iron, the hammering of the iron affects only the iron, but doesn't affect the fire, although it shares a unity with the iron. The union of the Divinity with the Humanity gave an infinitive value for the one Who suffered for the sake of the salvation of all the humanity.