SCHOOL OF ALEXANDRIA
A quick glimpse of the names which headed the Christian School of Alexandria provides self-evidence of the history of the school and its rank among similar institutions. Among these are Athenagoras, Pantaenus, Clement, Origen, Heraclas, Alexander, Dionysius, Theognostes, Peter, Macarius, Didymus the Blind, as well as Athanasius the Apostolic, Cyril of Alexandria, Dioscorus etc.
The western historians do not mention Yostius, Eumenius, and Marcianius, the first three deans of the School of Alexandria, for the following reasons:
1. Since the pastoral care of the Fathers kept them quite busy, especially with non-Christians, they either had little opportunity to write or their writings were lost.
2. The learned philosopher Athenagoras influenced the School greatly due to his philosophical ability; which brightened his star over his predecessors. Hence the beginning of the School was related to him, especially that his writings were universally interchanged from the first century even though his name as a writer was not mentioned as we shall see. Many historians believe Athenagoras was the first principal of the School.
St. Jerome mentions that St. Mark the Apostle and Evangelist is the founder of the Christian School of Alexandria. Further more Coptic references mention that the Apostle, in his last days, appointed Yostius as the new dean of the School. The new dean was the contemporary of four Patriarchs who succeeded St. Mark, until he was ordained Patriarch for Alexandria in the year 121 A.D.
Pope Anianius, who was ordained by St. Mark himself, took care of the School, and all who joined it renounced the world to devote their lives to the worship and service of God, living in true love and spiritual peace; there was no rich nor poor among them, for the rich gave their money to the poor, to be rich in God. They ate once a day at sunset, both men and women alike in this respect.
We can say that the two most important characteristics of the School were the combination of study with spiritual life, such as prayer, fasting and almsgiving. It was open and men and women were co-admitted to the School.
One of the righteous men of Alexandria, who succeeded Yostius in the leadership of the School and Patriarchate is Eumenius.
Though we know nothing about his speeches or writings, he was known as pure and chaste, famous for ordaining a large number of priests for preaching. He sent them in all directions of the Egyptian country, Nuba, and the Five Western Cities in North Africa to spread the Christian faith. In his time the Adrian persecution of Christians increased, and many Copts were martyred, such as St. Sophia from Manf, whose body was transferred by Emperor Constantine to Constantinople, and who built a church in her name "Agia Sophia."
Eumenius took care of his people as an Archbishop for twelve years and three months during the reigns of Emperors Hadrian and Antoninus Pius. He was laid to rest on 10 Babah near the remains of St. Mark in the Church of Buclais in Alexandria.
Born in Alexandria, Marcianius was appointed dean of the School, and in 144 A.D he was ordained Patriarch. He persevered at a time when the persecution by Caesar Antony was severely stirred. Marcianus took care of his people as an Archbishop for ten years and two months during the reign of Emperor Antoninus Pius. He was laid to rest on 6 Toba 154 A.D, near the remains of St. Mark in the Church of Buclais in Alexandria.