during the Diocletian persecution. So he ordained a group of his followers as bishops to keep the 'pure' church alive. Peter, bishop of Alexandria, then excommunicated both him and his new bishops. But further persecution by the government had led to Peter being martyred and Meletius being sent off to the mines. When Meletius returned, he continued working to keep the uncontaminated line of bishops and followers in place. The Council of Nicaea decided that Meletian bishops could serve under Alexander ofAlexandria, and take the place of any 'Catholic' bishop who died and left the bishopric vacant. But when Athanasius became bishop of Alexandria, this solution broke down and the Meletians continued their schismatic churches. They lasted throughout our period within both congregations and monasteries. In a number of ways this schism resembled that of the Donatists in North Africa, but apparently with much less violence involved.11
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