Pope Theophilus of Alexandria

Pope Theophilus of Alexandria

Theophilus of Alexandria, (died 412) was Patriarch of Alexandria, Egypt from 385 to 412. He is regarded as a saint by the Coptic Orthodox Church.

He was a Coptic Pope at a time of conflict between the newly dominant Christians and the pagan establishment in Alexandria, each supported by a segment of the Alexandrian populace.

In 391, Theophilus (according to Rufinus and Sozomen) discovered a hidden pagan temple. He and his followers mockingly displayed the pagan artifacts to the public which offended the pagans enough to provoke an attack on the Christians. The Christian faction counter-attacked, forcing the pagans to retreat to the Serapeum. A letter was sent by the emperor that Theophilus should grant the offending pagans pardon, but destroy the temple.

The destruction of the Serapeum was seen by many ancient and modern authors as representative of the triumph of Christianity over other religions. When the philosopher Hypatia was lynched by an Alexandrian mob, they acclaimed Theophilus's nephew and successor Cyril as "the new Theophilus, for he had destroyed the last remains of idolatry in the city". ["Chronicle" of John of Nikiu]

Theophilus turned on the followers of Origen after having supported them for a time. He was accompanied by his nephew Cyril to Constantinople in 403 and there presided at the "Synod of the Oak" that deposed John Chrysostom.

urviving works

* Correspondence with St. Jerome, Pope Anastasius I and Pope Innocent I
* Tract against Chrysostom
* Homilies translated by St. Jerome (preserved in Migne)
* Other homilies survive only in Coptic and Ge'ez translations.


* Charles, R. H. "The Chronicle of John, Bishop of Nikiu: Translated from Zotenberg's Ethiopic Text", 1916. Reprinted 2007. Evolution Publishing, ISBN 978-1-889758-87-9.

External links

* [http://www.bede.org.uk/library.htm#theophilus Bede's Library: Theophilus]
* [http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14625b.htm New Advent Entry: Theophilus]
* [http://www.ccel.org/w/wace/biodict/htm/iii.xx.xxxix.htm Christian Classics Ethereal Library: Theophilus]
* [http://magnificat.ca/cal/engl/02-09.htm Order of the Magnificat: St. Cyril]
* [http://www.earlychurch.org.uk/cyrilalex.html Cyril of Alexandria]
* [http://www.oxuscom.com/theology.htm Nestorian Theology]
* [http://www.cosmopolis.com/alexandria/hypatia-bio-john.html John of Nikiu, "Chronicle"] : the lynching of Hypatia
* [http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf202.ii.ix.viii.html Socrates and Sozumenos "Ecclesiastical Histories" ch. vii]

Alexandria was the town he was pope in

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