Synesius, Letter 090

Synesius of Cyrene (c.370-c.413) was a Neo-Platonic philosopher who became bishop of Ptolemais in the Cyrenaica. He left behind a small corpus of texts that offer much information about daily life in Late Antiquity, and about the christianization of the Roman world.

The addressee, Theophilus,was patriarch of Alexandria from 384/385 to 412. He is generally considered a Christian "hardliner" and was responsible for the destruction of the Serapeum in 392. In 409, he appointed Synesius bishop. Other letters to Theophilus are 9, 66, 67, 68, 76, 69, and 80.

Letter 90 was written in 411 and is offered here in the translation of A. Fitzgerald.

Ancient text

Letter 90: Andronicus

[1] To Theophilus

Justice has gone out from mankind. In the past Andronicusnote did injustice, but now in turn is treated with injustice. Nevertheless it is the character of the Church to exalt the humble and to humble the proud. The Church detested this man Andronicus on account of his actions, wherefore she pressed for this result, but now she pities him for that his experiences have exceeded the measure of her malediction. On his account we have incurred the displeasure of those now in power.

[2] After it, it were dreadful if we never take our stand with those that are prosperous, and now if we were ever weeping with them that weep. So we have snatched him from the tribunal here, and have in other respects greatly mitigated his sufferings.

[3] If your sacred person judges that this man is worthy of any interest, I shall welcome this as a signal proof that God has not yet entirely abandoned him.