Pope Heraclas of Alexandria

Heraclas of Alexandria
Pope of Alexandria & Patriarch of the See of St. Mark
Saint Heraclas (Theoclas)
Papacy began 232
Papacy ended 17 December 248
Predecessor Demetrius
Successor Dionysius
Personal details
Born Egypt
Died (248-12-17)December 17, 248
Buried Church of the Cave, Alexandria
Nationality Egyptian
Denomination Coptic Orthodox Christian
Residence Saint Mark's Church
Feast day 17 December (8 Koiak in the Coptic Calendar)

Pope Heraclas (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 shepherded the flock of Christ well. He converted many pagans and baptized them. He devoted his efforts to teaching, preaching and instructing the transgressors. 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 and departed in peace.

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. , Eusebius, Historia Ecclesiastica Book VII, chapter 7.4 (trans.)
Titles of the Great Christian Church
Preceded by
Demetrius I
Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria
Succeeded by
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