Synesius, Letter 009

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 66, 67, 90, 68, 76, 69, and 80.

Letter 9 was written in 411 and is offered here in the translation of A. Fitzgerald.

Letter 9: On a Paschal Letter

[1] To the Archbishop Theophilus

Most holy and wise prelate, may a long and comfortable old age await you! A great boon it were to us in other respects, the prolongation of your life; and the greatest contribution to Christian teaching is this series of Paschal letters, which grows as the years pass.

[2] The one that you have this year sent us has both instructed and charmed our cities, as much by the grace of its language as by the grandeur of its thoughts.