Cyril of Alexandria (d. 444)

Patr. of Alexandria and Greek Church Father. Cyril, who became patr. in 412, was the leading theologian of the Alexandrine miaphysite christology, and opponent of Nestorius, patr. of Constantinople. Many of his works were translated into Syriac; some of these are particularly important since the Greek original is largely lost (this notably applies to the Homilies on Luke). The main Syriac translations that have been published so far are:

1. Homilies on Luke ( CPG 5207), ed. R. Payne Smith (1858; ET 1859); first part re-edited by J.-B. Chabot (CSCO 70; 1912; LT, R.Tonneau, CSCO 140; 1953). (Incomplete; for some further parts, see A. Vööbus, Discoveries of great import on the Commentary on Luke by Clement of Alexandria [PETSE 24; 1973], and J.-M. Sauget, in SymSyr I, 439–56).

2. To the Emperor, On right faith ( CPG 5218), ed. P. E. Pusey (1877), and P. Bedjan, Acta martyrum et sanctorum , vol. 5, 628–96. This was probably translated by Rabbula of Edessa.

3. Exposition of the Twelve Anathemas ( CPG 5223), ed. Bedjan, Nestorius. Le livre d’Héraclide (1910), 523–42.

4. Letters: a. The following are published by R. Y.  Ebied and L. R.  Wickham, A Collection of unpublished Syriac Letters of Cyril of Alexandria (CSCO 359–60; 1975): Ep. 55, On the Nicene Creed ( CPG 5355); Ep. 40, to Acacius of Melitene ( CPG 5340), Epp. 45–6, to Succensus I–II ( CPG 5345–6); Ep. 44, to Eulogius ( CPG 5344). b. to Tiberius ( CPG 5232), ed. Ebied and Wickham, in LM 83 (1970), 433–82. c. to monks ( CPG 5400, lost in Greek), ed. Ebied and Wickham, in JTS ns 22 (1971), 420–34. d. Ep. 39, to John of Antioch ( CPG 5339), ed. P. Bedjan, Le livre d’Héraclide, 569–77. e. Ep. 50, to Valerian ( CPG 5350), ed. Bedjan, Le livre d’Héraclide, 542–562. f. Ep. 74, to Rabbula ( CPG 5374), ed. J. Overbeck, S. Ephraemi Syri... (1865), 226–9.

5. The fragments of Cyril’s work against the Emperor Julian were collected by E. Nestle, in C. J. Neumann, Iuliani ... contra Christianos (1880), 42–87.

The main unpublished translations that survive complete are:

1. Glaphyra ( CPG 5201). Only the Prologue, Hom. 1 and parts of VI were published by I. Guidi, Rendiconti, Reale Accademia dei Lincei, 1886, 404–16.

2. Worship in Spirit ( CPG 5207).

3. Thesaurus ( CPG 5215).

4. Ninth Dialogue, that Christ is One ( CPG 5228).

5. Encomium on Mary ( CPG 5255).

Large numbers of quotations and excerpts from Cyril feature in Severus’s works, and in the many dogmatic florilegia. The Anaphora of Cyril (ed. in Anaphorae Syriacae I.3 [1944]) is attributed in the mss. either to Cyril of Jerusalem or to Cyril of Alexandria.

He is commemorated on either 30 July or 18 Jan.


  • CPG 5200–5438.
  • D.  King, The Syriac versions of the writings of Cyril of Alexandria. A study in translation technique (CSCO 626; 2008).
  • N.  Russell, St Cyril of Alexandria (2000). (for the wider background)

How to Cite This Entry

Sebastian P. Brock , “Cyril of Alexandria,” in Cyril of Alexandria, edited by Sebastian P. Brock, Aaron M. Butts, George A. Kiraz and Lucas Van Rompay,

Footnote Style Citation with Date:

Sebastian P. Brock , “Cyril of Alexandria,” in Cyril of Alexandria, edited by Sebastian P. Brock, Aaron M. Butts, George A. Kiraz and Lucas Van Rompay (Gorgias Press, 2011; online ed. Beth Mardutho, 2018),

Bibliography Entry Citation:

Brock, Sebastian P. “Cyril of Alexandria.” In Cyril of Alexandria. Edited by Sebastian P. Brock, Aaron M. Butts, George A. Kiraz and Lucas Van Rompay. Digital edition prepared by David Michelson, Ute Possekel, and Daniel L. Schwartz. Gorgias Press, 2011; online ed. Beth Mardutho, 2018.

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