A letter to Alexander

There are roads you’ve walked, and there are others you haven’t walked. These second ones I want to present you, walking them with you for a while now. Inner roads, roads of imagination and fairy tale, roads of the East, roads of the West. Roads of silk, but also of the Byzantine Empire, roads of suspicion of the true God and roads of salvation certainty.

The prophecy of Daniel

The leopard, which the prophet Daniel mentions, is Alexander the king of Macedonians, who flew like a bird on the universe. Because no-one was quicker and more flexible than he, but was impetuous and flexible like the wild beast. The prophet says ” The leopard had four wings of a bird on the upper part of its body “.


Timely and everlasting is the following speech of M. Alexander. Once again saint Maximus the Confessor saves it. ” When someone who showed that they loved him said your cities may pay more taxation, Alexander observed and detested the gardener who eradicates the vegetables from the roots. (” κηπουρόν μισῶ τὸν ἐκ ριζῶν ἐκτέμνοντα τὰ λάχανα “).

Trust – Confidentiality

Saint Maximus the Confessor quotes the following saying of Alexander ” Whoever promised to keep a secret and did not keep it, but revealed it, it is unjust or very intemperate (” ἄδικός ἐστιν ἢ ἀκρατής ἄγαν “). He who reveals it, to gain benefit, it is unjust. But he who reveals it without any benefits is intemperate. Both are bad equally (” ἴσως δέ γ’ εἰσὶν ἀμφότεροι κακοί “).

Beware of slanderers

M. Basil advises: ” When we hear slander that burdens someone, we should do what Alexander did: to hear them with only one ear and the other to keep it free, so we can hear the one who is being slandered ” (” τὴν ἑτέραν τῶν ἀκοῶν ἀκεραίαν ταμιευσόμεθα τῷ διαβαλλομένῳ “.

Tribute to his friends

Saint Gregory Palamas adressed two philosophers saying how, when a prisoner gave useful advice to Alexander, the Macedonian king obeyedwith pleasure (” ὑπήκουσε τῷ αἰχμαλώτῳ “). And not only this, but counted him amongst his friends (” τὸν εἰσηγησάμενον μετὰ τῶν φιλούντων ἠρίθμησε “) even though he was a prisoner and illiterate.


Saint Gregory Theologos mentions that beautiful moment, when Alexander with his generosity spared the life of the defeated king of India, Porus and proceeded to the surprised remark: ” Καὶ ἦν αὐτῷ ἡ περιουσία τοῦ θαρρεῖν τὸ φιλάνθρωπον ” (= It was philanthropy that gave Alexander his unique and unlimited bravery).

His purity

Without doupt, purity is the top virtue of the young commander, even bigger than his unique and insuperable bravery. The ancient writers had noted this, as Ploutarchos write that everybody admired Alexander, because he showed much purity facing the women of Persia over his bravery to the Persians.

A unique leader

And with him they praised the nation of the Macedonian which has distinguished him that is Greek, as Alexander is Macedonian, and ” the king of the Macedonians ” but Greek and ” the king of the Greeks ” and with both titles, is named by the fathers of the church as in the Old Testament.

Civilization of the people in the East

When Alexander was walking towards the East, he felt that he had to offer to the people a life panhuman vision. This vision derived from Greek education, the only education with insuperable spirit and transcendence, the same as the talented victorious army commander was taught in his country in all the extension and all the depth from the best scientist and wiser teacher in those years, Aristotle …

Pure and temperate

Alexander was humble and temperate. Ploutarchos characterizes him ” invulerable desire “, while Arrianos writes that he was ” temperate of the pleasures of the body ” (” The Anabasis of Alexander “, 28,2). He never came close to a woman and never knew one before the wedding, because he regarded ” βασιλικώτερον τὸ κρατεῖν ἑαυτοῦ τοῦ νικᾶν τοὺς πολεμίους “, meaning it is much more significant and more royal than the king to conquer passion than to conquer the enemies ” (” The Anabasis of Alexander “, 21,7).