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Saint Alexius


Early in the fifth century there lived in Odessa, Syria, a beggar. Which same was of such sanctity that he was revered as a Saint, and was known by no other name than The-Man-of-God. Sometime after his death, probably between the years 450 and 475, an unknown writer wrote an account of him. Wherein we are told that he lived by begging at church doors, and that he shared the alms with other poor folk, and himself existed on what little was left when their needs were supplied. And when he died, he was buried in the potter's field of Edessa. But before his death he confided to the man that was nursing him that he was a member of one of the noblest Roman families. A later rescension of this book saith (on what authority no one now knoweth) that his name was Alexius. And that from his penitent love for Jesus Christ, he received a particular command from God not to touch the bride that he was about to take unto himself, but rather to undertake a pilgrimage to the most famous churches of the world. So that for many years he remained occupied in these journeys and utterly unknown. In the course of which he came back to Rome, and fared to the house of his own father. Who knew him not, but gave him shelter in a space under the stairs leading up to the house, where he lived unrecognized by any for many years. Who by such a hard and hidden penitent life sheweth unto worldlings that God hath servants who have loved Christ Jesus with a love passing that of women, for which same they count the world well lost.


O GOD, who makest us glad with the yearly feast of blessed Alexius, thy Confessor: mercifully grant, that, as we now observe his heavenly birthday, so we may follow him in all virtuous and godly living. Through the same our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Spirit ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

The Anglican Breviary, Frank Gavin Liturgical Foundation, Inc., New York, 1955, pages 1321

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