Cyril of Alexandria’s Contra Iulianum: Imperial politics, and Alexandrian Philosophy (c. 416–428)

Book chapter


Crawford, Matthew R. 2020. Cyril of Alexandria’s Contra Iulianum: Imperial politics, and Alexandrian Philosophy (c. 416–428). in: E. Anagnostou-Laoutides and K. Parry (ed.) Eastern Christianity and Late Antique Philosophy United Kingdom: Brill. pp. 110 - 132
AuthorsCrawford, Matthew R.
EditorsE. Anagnostou-Laoutides and K. Parry
Abstract

[Extract] So entrenched is the view of Cyril of Alexandria as an ecclesiastical tyrant who ruthlessly and scrupulously wielded his power to crush foes both at home and abroad that it is counterintuitive to learn that he began his episcopal tenure from a position of pronounced weakness, facing persistent opposition both from a faction of the Christian population of Alexandria as well as from imperial authorities. Upon the death of the former bishop Theophilus in 412, the city’s Christian community split into two camps, with some supporting the archdeacon Timothy as Theophilus’ replacement and others backing Cyril, who, although ordained only as a reader at the time, was Theophilus’ nephew. Presumably Timothy’s higher ecclesiastical rank made him seem a more suitable successor, while Cyril’s familial association with the former bishop worked to his advantage.1 Because our historical sources for this event are brief, we do not know any further details about the alliances backing each of these candidates2 but the two sides were evenly matched enough that the struggle went on for three days and was only resolved when Abundantius, the commander of the troops in Egypt, sided with Cyril.3 As a result, according to the church historian Socrates, “on the third day after the death of Theophilus, Cyril was enthroned as bishop” (τρίτῃ ἡμέρᾳ μετὰ τὴν τελευτὴν Θεοφίλου ὁ Κύριλλος ἐνθρονισθεὶς ἐπὶ τὴν ἐπισκοπὴν).4

Page range110 - 132
Year2020
Book titleEastern Christianity and Late Antique Philosophy
PublisherBrill
Place of publicationUnited Kingdom
SeriesTexts and Studies in Eastern Christianity
ISBN9789004411883
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004429567_006
Research GroupInstitute for Religion and Critical Inquiry
Grant IDARC/DE180101539
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