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Synesius of Cyrene


Mosaic depicting an angel. Museum of Ptolemais. Photo Marco Prins.
Mosaic depicting an angel. Museum of Ptolemais
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.

Letter 12, written in 413, is offered here in the translation by A. Fitzgerald. Cyril had succeeded Theophilus as patriarch of Alexandria.

Letter 12: Congratulations

To Cyril

Go, my brother Cyril, to your mother Church, from whom you have not been excommunicated, but only separated for a period which is measured according to that which your shortcomings deserve.

I feel sure that our common Father of holy memory [1] would have taken this step long ago if the fatal hour had not come too soon; for to shorten the term of your penalty was clearly the act of one whose heart prompted him to pardon.

Consider then that that sacred priest himself has given you permission to return, and approach God with a soul free from suffering and enjoying amnesty from evil. Hold, moreover, in all happy memory that sacred elder clear to God, who appointed you a leader of the people. May all this be not without joy to you! 

Note 1:
Patriarch Theophilus of Alexandria.
Online 2007
Revision: 30 Sept. 2007
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