Festal Letters 1-30

Festal Letters 1-30

Translated by PHILIP R. AMIDON
Edited with introduction and notes by JOHN J. O’KEEFE
Copyright Date: 2009
Pages: 260
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt32b08q
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Festal Letters 1-30
    Book Description:

    No description available

    eISBN: 978-0-8132-1218-0
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. ABBREVIATIONS
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. ix-xii)
  5. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-32)

    When Cyril of Alexandria was consecrated patriarch of Alexandria in A.D. 412, he inherited a style of leadership that was already venerable and old. Reaching back more than two hundred years to the time of Demetrius, the traditions of the Alexandrian see were well established, and the influence of the city’s bishop on the affairs of church and empire was rivaled only by the bishops of other patriarchal cities such as Rome, Constantinople, and Antioch. Cyril, then thirty-five years old,¹ having been groomed for this role from his youth, was one of the most powerful men in the Christian Empire....

  6. FESTAL LETTERS 1–12
    • FESTAL LETTER ONE A.D. 414
      (pp. 35-51)

      The bright light of our divine feast shines forth upon the whole world with such cheerful radiance, that it banishes all gloom and darkness for those wishing to celebrate the feast worthily. Thus the blessed apostle speaks as follows to such as these when he shows them how to proceed: “The night is advanced, and the day draws near; let us walk becomingly, as by day.”¹ Thus guided by the unquenchable rays of our Savior’s light, we may reach the Jerusalem above, where we shall dwell with the holy choirs of angels in heaven. Blessed David, then, in gathering us...

    • FESTAL LETTER TWO A.D. 415
      (pp. 52-67)

      Rejoice in the lord always; again I say, rejoice!”¹ Our discourse hastens to this starting-point, and quite understandably, for it is a feast which is proclaimed. For when our message has as its purpose to announce that we should take delight in our Savior’s deeds, one can hardly think of a better way to begin it. It is right, then, that it should begin thus; it will resolutely avoid what is not to the point, shrink from irrelevant excursions, and make every effort to present to its hearers in a timely manner what it is good and beneficial to them...

    • FESTAL LETTER THREE
      (pp. 68-68)

      In the Sources Chrétiennes edition of the letters, Évieux notes the following:

      The manuscript tradition has made us aware of a series of 29 festal letters of Cyril, numbered 1–30. They announce the Paschal feast from 414 to 442. Since Cyril was bishop from October 17, 412, until June 27, 444, we are only missing letters from 413, 443, and 444. . . . . it is evident in the dates of the letters that there is no gap in the series 414–442. The absence of the number 3 in the series is the result of a scribal...

    • FESTAL LETTER FOUR A.D. 416
      (pp. 69-82)

      Once again the season for the holy feast shines upon us, with the contest of endurance getting under way shortly before and commanding us to display holiness of life and every other virtue as a sort of payment of a yearly debt to God, the Lord of all. But there is no exhortation to obedience that is unsuitable to those well-disposed, who seek to gain profit from the subject. For the fruit of good labors is glorious, while there is nothing more grievous than hesitation and idleness; the refusal to endure whatever is necessary to gain what will be of...

    • FESTAL LETTER FIVE A.D. 417
      (pp. 83-100)

      There is a time for everything,”¹ says holy Scripture, and that seems to me an excellent view of the nature of things, for nothing can be more harmful to it than missing the proper time. Since, then, no one will deny that to do this is bad, and those of sound mind will certainly agree, it behooves one, by contrast, to prefer the better idea, meaning the time suitable to everything, and fitting to each thing.

      The present time, then, is that of festival, and we must once again obey holy Scripture when it says, “Blow the trumpet at the...

    • FESTAL LETTER SIX A.D. 418
      (pp. 101-124)

      With our holy feast shining forth and appointing the renowned contest of endurance for those accustomed to a reputation for good works, I think it fitting for everyone to be gathered to the spiritual theater, saying, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob.”¹ Thus when we form an all-hallowed company in it, and through our unity with one another in the Spirit are joined together as though to form a single lyre, let us praise in song our chorus-master with the words, “All nations, clap your hands;...

    • FESTAL LETTER SEVEN A.D. 419
      (pp. 125-136)

      Rejoice in the lord always; again I say, rejoice!”¹ Behold, the thrice-longed-for time of our holy feast has arisen for us, coming in the course of the same cycles, like those from foreign parts putting into home port. It already appears in the harbor, and now the cables are being made fast to the shore. But since it is already here, and has all but come ashore among us, I consider it reasonable and proper, that we especially who, belonging to the divine priesthood,² bear the sacred trumpet in our mouth, should give the clarion signal for the festival, and...

    • FESTAL LETTER EIGHT A.D. 420
      (pp. 137-154)

      Sound the trumpet in Zion,”¹ says the sacred law some place, rousing the Church to its yearly call to the customary acts of zeal, and compelling those who have chosen a life of excellence to rally to the signal for the divine contests. For behold, behold, once again the season of the holy feast arises upon us as though from some circle or circuit, preceded of course by a fast, and by the contest of perseverance which rises before it like the day-star. For that body all but speaks aloud in announcing to the industrious the radiance of the sun,...

    • FESTAL LETTER NINE A.D. 421
      (pp. 155-174)

      Once again we display the radiant signal for the holy feast, crying out in a loud and piercing voice, “It is time to act for the Lord!”¹ For once again there has come to us, come indeed through the yearly cycle, the time for fasting. For just as when the sun begins its flight over the earth from its eastern regions, but still holds within itself its splendor, its bright rays rise up to transform the dejection of darkness into the vision of the pleasantly laughing beauty of its colors, so also, I think, now that the announcement of our...

    • FESTAL LETTER TEN A.D. 422
      (pp. 175-194)

      Behold, once again we take it to be our duty to obey the voices of the saints, and in our eagerness to follow as it were in the footsteps of the custom they practiced, to extend a hand of mutual affection to those who are as brothers and at the same time all but children, addressing them in the following sacred words: “Grace and peace to you from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”¹ He it is who once again has proclaimed to us this time of the holy feast, so deeply longed for and ardently desired, which...

    • FESTAL LETTER ELEVEN A.D. 423
      (pp. 195-215)

      Come, then, come now, let us exult in the Lord,”¹ and through the all-holy fast, “come, let us worship and fall down before him,”² and in complete submission let us honor the King of heaven and earth, knowing what is written: “It is good for a man when he bears a yoke in his youth.”³ For who would not be overjoyed to be yoked under the Law, and to be reared in the precepts which come through Christ, counting it among the highest marks of honor? For virtue, dearly beloved, is something precious and valuable, and among all the things...

    • FESTAL LETTER TWELVE A.D. 424
      (pp. 216-234)

      “The law has a shadow of the good things to come,”¹ and outlines the bright form of the truth, by figures and symbols, giving us a glimpse of the mystery of the things revealed through Christ. It bids the sons of Israel accordingly, “Blow the trumpet at the new moon, on the glorious day of your feast.”² But let us, in leaving the figures as far behind us as we may, and ridding our present situation of the ancient forms, consider more important our education in the divine and evangelical precepts. And since the luminous and most glorious feast has...

  7. APPENDIX AND INDICES