Saint of the Day – 25 April – St Anianus of Alexandria (Died c 86) 2nd Bishop of Alexandria, Consecrated by St Mark the Evangelist and succeeding him, disciple of St Mark. He was Ordained by Saint Mark and was also the first convert Mark won for Christ in the region, in c 48. Also known as – Anian, Annianus. Patronage – cobblers.
The Roman Martyrology states of him today: “At Alexandria, the Bishop St Anianus, disciple of the blessed Mark and his successor in the episcopate. With a great renown for virtue, he rested in the Lord.”
As St Mark was entering Rakotis, a suburb of Alexandria, the strap of his sandal broke. He found a cobbler, St Anianus, to repair it. While he was working on the sandal, the awl slipped in Anianus’ hand, piercing it. Anianus cried ‘“Heis ho Theos” (“God is one”) in response to the pain. Mark took the opportunity to preach the Gospel of Christ to him, at the same time, miraculously healing Anianus of his wound.
St Mark was invited to Anianus’s house, where he taught Anianus’ family the Gospel and baptised them all. A large number of natives of the area were quickly converted by St Mark and his followers, causing those citizens, who did not convert, to feel obliged to defend their local gods against the new faith
St Mark, the outsider, decided it might be best if he were to leave the area for a while. He Ordained Anianus and Consecrated hm as Bishop in his absence. He also Ordained three Presbyters and seven Deacons at the same time, charging the group with zealously watching over the Church.
St Mark was gone for a period of two years, during which time, he is said to have gone to Rome, Aquileia and the Pentapolis, preaching, performing miracles,and winning converts to Christianity at each location.
On St Mark’s return, he found that the Church in Alexandria had grown significantly and, that they were able to build a Shurch for themselves at Bucolia, on the shore of the eastern harbour of Alexandria.
Following the Martyrdom of Mark, Anianus became the Bishop of the Church in Alexandria. He would remain in that capacity for over seventeen years. During that time, the number of Christians in the area grew immensely and Anianus Ordained new Priests and Deacons for the growing Church. The extent of the evangelisation they performed is unknown, although it has been thought by some, that it was done at least somewhat covertly, given the hostility the pagan population demonstrated to the new faith.
Anianus died in bed of natural causes and was buried next to St Mark at the Church in Baucalis.