Pope Heraclas of Alexandria


Heraclas of Alexandria
Pope of Alexandria & Patriarch of the See of St. Mark
Martyr Eraclus of Antioch.jpg
Saint Heraclas (Theoclas)
Papacy began232
Papacy ended17 December 248
Personal details
Died(248-12-17)December 17, 248
BuriedChurch of the Cave, Alexandria
DenominationChurch of Alexandria
ResidenceSaint Mark's Church
Feast day17 December (8 Koiak in the Coptic Calendar)

Pope Heraclas (Ancient Greek: Ἡρακλῆς, Theoclas), 13th Pope of Alexandria & Patriarch of the See of St. Mark.

Pope Heraclas of Alexandria, was born to pagan parents who believed and were baptized after his birth. They taught him the Greek philosophy, then the Christian wisdom. He also studied the four gospels and the epistles. St. Demetrius, 12th Pope of Alexandria, ordained him deacon, then a priest over the church of Alexandria. He was successful in the ministry and was faithful in all that was entrusted to him. He followed Origen as head of the Catechetical School of Alexandria.

When Pope Demetrius departed, St. Heraclas was chosen as Patriarch. He converted many pagans and baptized them. He devoted his efforts to teaching, preaching and instructing. He assigned to St. Dionysius the work of judging between the believers, and taking care of their affairs. Pope Heraclas sat on the throne of St. Mark for 16 years until his death.

He has been identified as the first Patriarch of Alexandria to carry the appellation of "Pope" (in Greek, Papás, a term, originally a form of address meaning 'Father', that the church of Rome did not use until the sixth century). The first known record of this designation being assigned to Heraclas is in a letter written by the bishop of Rome, 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.]


  1. ^ [1], Eusebius, Historia Ecclesiastica Book VII, chapter 7.4 (trans.)

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Titles of the Great Christian Church
Preceded by
Demetrius I
Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria
Succeeded by