Saint Alexandra

SAINT ALEXANDRA

A fourth-century recluse (feast day: 7 Amshir). The account of Saint Alexandra is given by the recension of the -Arabic SYNAXARION of Upper Egypt (Basset, 1916, pp. 801ff.; Forget, 1954, p. 453 [text]; 1953, p. 480 [trans.]), but this passage is only a translation of Chapter 5 of the Historia lausiaca by PALLADIUS (Butler, 1904, p. 21; Lucot, 1912, p. 50).

Alexandra was a young woman of Alexandria who, pursued by the importunities of a young man, preferred to shut herself up in a tomb not far from Alexandria, where she remained for ten years and where she died. Melania the Elder succeeded in getting her to tell her story and how she employed her time. From morning to the ninth hour, she prayed every hour and spun flax. According to Melania’s narrative, we can date the life of Alexandra to the second half of the fourth century.

The story in and the Synaxarion is interesting, for it shows reclusion as a form of the at Alexandria.

  • Lucot, A. Palladius: Histoire lausiaque. Textes et documents 15. Paris, 1912.

RENÉ-GEORGES COQUIN