Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 2249
Presbyter Pierius of Alexandria (East) moves to Rome after the end of the persecutions and spends the rest of his life there, after 309. Jerome, "On Illustrious Men", Betlehem, AD 392-393.
PIERIUS, Alexandrinae ecclesiae presbyter, sub Caro et Diocletiano principibus eo tempore quo eandem ecclesiam Theonas episcopus regebat, florentissime populos docuit et in tantam sermonis diuersorum que tractatuum, qui usque hodie extant, uenit elegantiam, ut Origenes Iunior uocaretur. Constat, hunc mirae ἀσκήσεως et adpetitorem uoluntariae paupertatis scientissimum que dialecticae artis post persecutionem omne uitae suae tempus Romae fuisse uersatum. Huius est longissimus tractatus De propheta Osee, quem in peruigilio paschae habitum ipse sermo demonstrat.
(ed. Cushing Richardson 1896: 41)
Pierius, a presbyter of the church of Alexandria in the reign of the emperors Carus and Diocletian, at the same time when Theonas was bishop of Alexandria, instructed the faithful with great success and reached such a pitch of eloquence in different treatises of his which survive to the present day that he was called Origen Junior.
It is well known that he was a practitioner of extreme asceticism (ἀσκήσεως) and voluntary poverty and was most knowledgeable in the art of dialectic, and after the persecution spent the rest of his life in Rome.
There is in existence a very long sermon of his, On the Prophet Hosea, which was delivered on the vigil of the Pasch, as the text itself makes clear.
(trans. Halton 1999: 108, slightly altered by J. Szafranowski)


It is quite probable that Pierius was not fleeing from Alexandria because of the persecutions but because of his possible troubled relations with Theonas' successor and the new patriarch, Peter. He was appointed bishop of Alexandria in either 300 or 303, and is not mentioned by Jerome as Pierius' ecclesiastical superior. The persecutions of Christians in Egypt were not that severe, and Peter is known to be in conflict with some of his clergy and other Egyptian bishops (Wipszycka 2015: 75-95).
Pierius is also mentioned by Eusebius of Caesarea in the Ecclesiastical History (7., but there is no mention there of Pierius' move to Rome.

Place of event:

  • Rome
  • Rome

About the source:

Author: Jerome of Stridon
Title: On Illustrious Men, De viris illustribus, De viris inlustribus De viris inlustribus, On the Lives of Famous Men
Origin: Bethlehem (East)
Denomination: Catholic/Nicene/Chalcedonian
At the beginning and end of his De viris illustribus, Jerome writes that he finished the book in the fourteenth year of Theodosius` reign, that is, between 19 January 392 and 18 January 393. The De viris illustribus contains short biographies of 135 Christian authors, with Jerome himself being the subject of the last. The goal of Jerome`s project was to manifest that Christian literature should be seen on a par with the pagan literature in terms of both the quantity of great writers and the quality of their work. The dedicatee of the De viris illustribus is Flavius Lucius Dexter, a Roman official in the service of Theodosius and son of Bishop Pacianus of Barcelona.
E. Cushing Richardson ed., Hieronymus liber De viris inlustribus; Gennadius liber De viris inlustribus, Leipzig 1896.
Jerome, On Illustrious Men, trans. Th.P. Halton, The Fathers of the Church 100, Washington 1999.
E. Wipszycka, The Alexandrian Church. People and Institutions, Warsaw 2015.


Travel and change of residence
Described by a title - Presbyter/πρεσβύτερος
Relation with - Bishop/Monastic superior
Writing activity
Education - Theological interest
Devotion - Ascetic practice
Pastoral activity - Preaching
Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: J. Szafranowski, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER2249,