At this time the see of Alexandria was held by Cyril, brother's son to Theophilus whom he succeeded; at the same time Jerusalem was occupied by John in succession to Cyril whom we have formerly mentioned. The Antiochenes were under the care of Alexander whose life and conversation were of a piece with his episcopate. Before his consecration he passed his time in ascetic training and in hard bodily exercise. He was known as a noble champion, teaching by word and confirming the word by deed. His predecessor was Porphyrius who guided that church after Flavianus, and left behind him many memorials of his loving character. He was also distinguished by intellectual power. The holy Alexander was specially rich in self discipline and philosophy; his life was one of poverty and self denial; his eloquence was copious and his other gifts were innumerable; by his advice and exhortation, the following of the great Eustathius which Paulinus, and after him Evagrius, had not permitted to be restored, was united to the rest of the body, and a festival was celebrated the like of which none had ever seen before. The bishop gathered all the faithful together, both clergy and laity, and marched with them to the assembly. The procession was accompanied by musicians; one hymn was sung by all in harmony, and thus he and his company went in procession from the western postern to the great church, filling the whole forum with people, and constituting a stream of thinking living beings like the Orontes in its course.
When this was seen by the Jews, by the victims of the Arian plague, and by the insignificant remnant of Pagans, they set up a groaning and wailing, and were distressed at seeing the rest of the rivers discharging their waters into the Church. By Alexander the name of the great John was first inscribed in the records of the Church.