Bishop of Alexandria from about 283 to 301 ( Eusebius, "Chronicle", Ann. Abr. 2299, St. Jerome's version). In his time Achillas, who had been appointed presbyter at Alexandria, at the same time with Pierius, became celebrated ( Eusebius, "Hist. eccl.", III, xxxii). The celebrated letter of Theonas to Lucianus, chamberlain to Diocletian, which has often been quoted as giving such a lifelike description of the position of a Christian in the imperial Court has been pronounced, first by Batiffol and then by Harnack, to be a forgery. Their verdict is endorsed by Bardenhewer. It was first published from what purported to be a transcript made by Jérôme Vignier, by Dacherius in his "Spicilegium". Theonas is commemorated in the Roman Martyrology on 27 August. St. Athanasius in his apology to Constantinus speaks of a church dedicated by his predecessor, St. Alexander, to Theonas. The same church is alluded to in the "Act of SS. Pachomius and Theodorus".
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