CYRILLONA Qurillona

The codex of the British Library, add. 14591, pp. 54-67 and 72-83, preserves six interesting poetical texts, titled as follows: 1 On the Institution of the Eucharist; 2 On the Washing of the Feet; 3 On the Pasch of Our Lord by Mar Qurillona; 4 On the Scourges, by Qurillona; 5 On Zacchaeus; 6 On the Grain of Wheat. Only nos. 3 and 4 bear the name of Qurillona, but stylistic criteria and content allow us to conclude that the whole contained in the London MS can be attributed to the Syrian poet though Griffin 13-23 dissents regarding On the Grain of Wheat. The allusion in On the Scourges to the Hun invasion 395 also allows us to date it to between the last quarter of the 4th c. and the first quarter of the 5th c. A certain Absamya, nephew of Ephrem of Nisibis according to the Chronicle of Edessa and Barhebraeus’s Ecclesiastical Chronicle, composed poems or homilies on the Hun invasion: a few critics have maintained the identification of the two, supposing that Absamya took the name Cyrillona at his priestly ordination.

Recently the hypothesis has been proposed that the last poem, which presents parallels with both Gregory of Nyssa and with Cyrillona’s other texts, was actually the product of a later editor. The images and religious language closely recall those of 4th-c. prose and poetic texts, in particular those of Ephrem of Nisibis. CYRUS of Alexandria d. 642. Patriarch. As bishop of Fasi Sebastopolis, in 626 he adhered to the monothelitism of Sergius of Constantinople, becoming a pawn in Sergius’s and Heraclius’s plan for religious unity. He was appointed Byzantine patriarch of Alexandria in 631, also with the functions of prefect of Egypt and military governor, so as to suppress monophysitism more effectively.

In 633 he called a council at Alexandria promulgating an act of union under 9 headings Kephalaia based on monothelitism. In 640, during the Arab advance on Egypt, Heraclius accused him of high treason and deposed him. Restored in 641, in November of that year he negotiated the capitulation of Alexandria. Died 21 March 642. Besides the Kephalaia, we possess three letters from Cyrus to Sergius Mansi X, 1003-1006; XI 559-668. CPG 7610-7613. Fliche-Martin 5 It. ed., Turin 1971, passim; EC 3, 1734; Coptic. Enc. 3, 682-683.

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