St. Cyril of Alexandria is best known for his role in the Christological disputes of the fifth century. In recent years, however, scholars have turned their attention to Cyril the exegete. Cyril wrote extensive commentaries on nearly every book of the Bible; in fact, two-thirds of his extant corpus is devoted to biblical interpretation. Yet, despite this strong interest in Cyril as theologian and biblical interpreter, his activity as the Patriarch of Alexandria remains obscure. Doctrinal treatises and biblical commentary reveal little of the daily pastoral duties that occupied Cyril during his years as leader of one of ancient Christianity's most important sees. This new translation of Cyril's festal letters will help fill these gaps.
These letters illuminate other aspects of the ancient church in Alexandria, including that church's complex relationship with the Jews and other religious groups, as well as the ways in which the ascetical movement wound its way into the patriarch's pastoral program. In short, Cyril of Alexandria's Festal Letters provides modern readers with a rare opportunity to enter the daily reality of the church in ancient Alexandria.