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Saint Heraclas of Alexandria
Patriarch of Alexandria
Died 247
Venerated in Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Church, Coptic Church
Canonized Pre-congregation
Feast 14 July

Pope Heraclas of Alexandria served as the thirteenth Pope of Alexandria (head of the church that became the Coptic Orthodox Church and the Greek Church of Alexandria) between 232 and 248.

He followed Origen as head of the Catechetical School of Alexandria.

He has been attributed as the first Bishop of Alexandria to carry the appellation of "Pope". The first known record of this designation being assigned to him is in a letter written by Pope Dionysius to Philemon:

τοῦτον ἐγὼ τὸν κανόνα καὶ τὸν τύπον παρὰ τοῦ μακαρίου πάπα ἡμῶν Ἡρακλᾶ παρέλαβον.[1] [I received this rule and ordinance from our blessed pope, Heraclas.]

The use of the term "Pope" for the head of the church of Rome was not until centuries later. Heraclas is commemorated in the Coptic Synaxarion on the 8th day of Koiak.

Papa has been the specific designation for the Archbishop of Alexandria, Patriarch of Egypt, and the See of Saint Mark, whose ecclesiastic title is, Papa Abba, the Abba stands for the devotion of all monastics, from Pentapolis in the West to Constantinople in the East, to his guidance. Abba is the most powerful designation, that for all Monks in the East to voluntarily follow his spiritual authority, it should be assumed he was a bearer of Christ. Historically, this office has held the title of Papa, Father in Coptic, since Papa Heracleus, 13th Alexandrine Patriarch (232-249 AD) was first to associate with the title three centuries before it was assumed by John I, the Roman Bishop (523- 526), who ratified the Alexandrian computation of the date of Easter. Bestowing the title on Rome's Pontiff did not strip it from Alexandria's, and the Roman Catholic Church recognizes this ecclesiastical fact.

Preceded by
Pope of Alexandria
Succeeded by

External links


  1. [1], Eusebius, Historia Ecclesiastica Book VII, chapter 7.7] (trans.)

ar:ياراكلاس (بابا الإسكندرية) pt:Héraclas de Alexandria