Bishop Alexander the Charcoal-Burner of Comana (d. 251)

Alexander obtained the name “charcoal-burner” because his job was burning charcoal as a means to live a life of Christ’s humility and escape all forms of worldly recognition. Because his external appearance was filthy, people looked down on him and failed to see Alexander’s heart virtues.

Gregory of Nyssa’s biography of Gregory the Wonder-Worker describes how Alexander was ordained the bishop of Comana (Tokat in Turkey). Gregory the Wonder-Worker went to Comana to select a bishop. After rejecting all candidates, someone suggested Alexander the charcoal-burner. Gregory examined him and discovered a man of deep spiritual wisdom. He ordained Alexander as Comana’s new bishop.

Alexander was burned to death during the reign of emperor Decius, around 251