Olga's Gallery

Christian Saints

St. Alexis of Rome

            St. Alexis of Rome is doubted by many to have actually existed. According to his legend he was born in Rome into a wealthy Christian family sometime in the 5th century. He fled his arranged marriage and instead set out on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, where he lived in Edessa as an almsman for 17 years. Upon his return to Rome he was so changed as to be unrecognizable by his own parents, however he chose not to reveal his identity, and settled instead beneath a staircase of his father’s home. He lived out another 17 years as an anonymous beggar, in the process becoming renowned for his saintliness. Only when he was lying on his death bed did Alexis disclosed to the Pope, who had come to his side in that hour, who he really was. The legend of St. Alexis was very popular in the East, and at the end of the Middle Ages, also became widespread in the West.
Another version of the story says Alexis never returned to Rome and died in Edessa around 430 A.D.
Feastday: 17 July in West. 17 March in East.
See: Georges de La Tour.The Discovery of the Body of St. Alexis.

By Sergey Mataev and Olga Mataev

Recommended reading:
The Alexis in the Saint Albans Psalter: A Look into the Heart of the Matter (Garland Studies in Medieval Literature, V. 4) by Rachel Bullington. Garland Pub, 1991.
The Oxford Dictionary of Saints (Oxford Paperback Reference) by David Hugh Farmer. Oxford University Press, 2003.
The Golden Legend by Jacobus De Voragine, William Granger Ryan (Translator). Princeton Univ Pr, 1995.

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