Anatolius of Laodicea

Anatolius of Laodicea (early 3rd century – July 3, 283[1]), also known as Anatolius of Alexandria, was Bishop of Laodicea on the Mediterranean coast of Roman Syria, and was one of the foremost scholars of his day in the physical sciences as well as in Aristotelean philosophy. He was also a great computist. The seventeen centuries old enigma of his famous 19-year Paschal cycle has recently been completely resolved by the Irish scholars Daniel P. Mc Carthy and Aidan Breen[2]. He is considered a saint by the Eastern Orthodox and the Roman Catholic Churches

Saint Anatolius
Bishop and Confessor
Bornearly 3rd century
Alexandria, Ptolemaic Egypt
DiedJuly 3, 283
Laodicea, Roman Syria (now Latakia, Syria)
Venerated inRoman Catholic Church; Eastern Orthodox Church;
FeastJuly 3


Anatolius was born and raised in Alexandria, Egypt, during the early 3rd century. Prior to becoming one of the great lights of the Church, Anatolius enjoyed considerable prestige at Alexandria, and was credited with a rich knowledge of arithmetic, geometry, physics, rhetoric, dialectic, and astronomy.[3] According to Eusebius of Caesarea, Anatolius was deemed worthy to maintain the school of the Aristotelian succession in Alexandria.[4] The pagan philosopher Iamblichus studied among his disciples for a short time.[5]

There are fragments of ten books on arithmetic written by him, and also a treatise on time of the Paschal celebration.[3]

A story is told by Eusebius of the way in which Anatolius broke up a rebellion in a part of Alexandria known then as Bruchium. It was held by the forces of Zenobia, and being strictly beleaguered by the Romans was in a state of starvation. Anatolius, who was living in Bruchium at the time, made arrangements with the besiegers to receive all the women and children, as well as the old and infirm, continuing at the same time to let as many as wished profit by the means of escaping. It broke up the defence and the rebels surrendered.[6]

In going to Laodicea he was seized by the people and made bishop. Whether his friend Eusebius had died, or whether they both occupied the see together, is a matter of much discussion. The question is treated at length in the Bollandists.

St Anatolius' feast day, like that of his namesake Saint Anatolius of Constantinople, is celebrated on July 3.


  1. "Lives of the Saints," Omer Englebert New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 1994, p. 256
  2. "The Ante-Nicene Christian Pasch: De ratione paschali, the Paschal Tract of Anatolius, bishop of Laodicea" by Daniel P. Mc Carthy and Aidan Breen (2003) Dublin: Four Courts Press
  3. "Lives of the Saints," p. 256
  4. Eusebius, Historia Ecclesiastica 7.32.6.
  5. Eunapius, Lives of the Philosophers and Sophists
  6. Eusebius, Historia Ecclesiastica 7.32.6-13


  • Acta Sanctorum, I, July
  • Michaud, Biog. Univ.
  • Sabine Baring-Gould, Lives of the Saints (London, 1872)
  • "Lives of the Saints," Omer Englebert, New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 1994, pp 532, ISBN 1-56619-516-0 (casebound)
  • "The Ante-Nicene Christian Pasch: De ratione paschali, the Paschal Tract of Anatolius, bishop of Laodicea" by Daniel P. Mc Carthy and Aidan Breen (2003) Dublin: Four Courts Press

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Campbell, Thomas Joseph (1907). "St. Anatolius (1)" . In Herbermann, Charles (ed.). Catholic Encyclopedia. 1. New York: Robert Appleton.

Further reading

  • Kieffer, John (1970). "Anatolius of Alexandria". Dictionary of Scientific Biography. 1. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. pp. 148–149. ISBN 0-684-10114-9.
  • Zuidhoek, Jan (2017). "The initial year of De ratione Paschali and the relevance of its paschal dates". Studia Traditionis Theologiae. 26. Turnhout: Brepols Publishers. pp. 71–93. ISBN 978-2-503-57709-8.
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