Cyril of Alexandria


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Cyril of Alexandria

Saint. ?375--444 ad, Christian theologian and patriarch of Alexandria. Feast day: June 27 or June 9
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Norman Russell distinguishes the different foci in understanding theosis among the modern theologians: some of them adhere to the cosmic theology of Maximus the Confessor and of the later fathers; some return to the more biblical focus of Athanasius and Cyril of Alexandria. For example, the author notes that John Zizioulas interprets theosis as our adoption by the Father as his sons by grace.
In compiling this commentary, Wilken draw's on commentaries by Eusebius of Caesarea, Jerome, Cyril of Alexandria, and Theodoret of Cyrus in Syria, but he also cites sermons and other theological writings from a host of other Christian leaders.
But it is not her scientific brains or alleged superior good looks to which she owes her commemoration, but chiefly to the fact that she was murdered--or rather martyred--as a pagan by a Christian mob possibly acting under orders of Bishop Cyril of Alexandria, in AD 415.
The flaws arising from this neglect include the occasional factual error concerning details of religious controversy, such as identifying Arius as a presbyter from Antioch rather than Alexandria; no discussion of the councils of Ephesus of 431 and 449, which had tremendous significance for the religious life of the empire; and minimal attention to figures such as Cyril of Alexandria, whose theological legacy directly affected ecclesiastical politics in the empire for at least another two centuries and was fundamental to the formation of Christian doctrine for all modern confessions.
Are these the genuine letters of an actual Isidore, a monk living in or near Pelusium, active in the earlier decades of the fifth century and notorious for some abrupt notes to Cyril of Alexandria lovingly preserved in hostile collections; or, are they (as a number of sceptical voices have suggested) products of an elaborate forgery which created both the letters and the person of their author?
First, contrary to the gospel story there is no offering of perfume to symbolize the lady's sincere faith, as Saint Jerome would have it.(37) Second, there is no kissing of Jesus's feet to show evidence of the lady's love for her Savior; therefore, Saint Gregory's criterium is lacking.(38) Third, there is no fragrant oil to fill the house with a pleasant smell and signify, according to Saint Cyril of Alexandria, the acknowledgement of the Word of God throughout the world.(39)
Their topics include violence against Christians and violence by Christians in the first three centuries, avenging Julian: violence against Christians during the years 361-363, violence in the early years of Cyril of Alexandria's episcopate, Priscillian of Avila's Liber ad Damasum and the inability to handle a conflict, and the reception and interpretation of Jesus' teaching of love for enemies in ancient Christianity.
For example, he discusses the three offices of prophet, priest, and king--which became significant with Calvin--as an exercise in "open sobornicity" or the acceptance of Western elements in Eastern theology, an exercise justified by texts from the Bible, Macarius of Egypt, Cyril of Alexandria, and John Chrysostom.
Topics from later periods include the apostolic fathers, those called Gnostics and related groups, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian and Cyprian in Carthage, infant baptism, Origen, fourth-century Syriac writers, Cappadocia, sickbed baptism, Spain, Cyril of Alexandria and the Coptic rite, and Augustine of Hippo.
Wilken's A Study of Cyril of Alexandria: Exegesis and Theology (Yale, 1971), and L.J.
David Cassel argues that Cyril of Alexandria's sermons embedded within his commentary are deliberate attempts to supply the classical education that his hearers lacked.