Fourth-century Alexandrian ecclesiastic and writer; d. apparently Rome, 312. A priest at Alexandria under Bp. Theonas (c. 281–300), Pierius was a noted exegete, preacher, and ascetic. He was a disciple of origen and successor of Theognostus as head of the School of Alexandria; he was the teacher of pamphilus, and he suffered as a confessor in the Diocletian persecution, after which he settled in Rome. Philip Sidetes and jerome speak of the elegance of his style and profundity of his teaching (De vir. illus. 76), and photius mentions a collection of 12 λóγοι, or sermons, including a homily, On Easter and the Prophet Osee, and a treatise on St. Luke's Gospel (Bibl. codex 119). Philip Sidetes mentions a work, On the Mother of God, and a Vita of Pamphilus. Jerome was acquainted with his NT MSS in Caesarea. His close connection with Origen probably explains the loss of his works after the condemnation of Origenism.
Feast: Nov. 4.
Bibliography: Patrologia Graeca, ed. j. p. migne, 161 v. (Paris 1857–66) 10:241–246. c. de boor, Texte und Untersuchungen zur Geschichte der altchristlichen Literatur 5.2 (1888) 165–184. Acta Sanctorum Nov. 2.1:254–264. l. b. radford, Three Teachers of Alexandria (Cambridge, Eng. 1908). j. quasten, Patrology, 4 v. (Westminster, Md. 1950–86) 2.111–113. b. altaner, Patrology, tr. h. graef from 5th German ed. (New York 1960) 239. g. fritz, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, ed. a. vacant et al., 15 v. (Paris 1903–50; Tables générales 1951– ) 12.2:1744–1746.
[f. x. murphy]