St Cyril, Bishop of Alexandria, and Pastoral Care

Pauline Allen, FAHA
Professor, Australian Catholic University, Brisbane QLD
Director of Centre for Early Christian Studies
University of Pretoria, Sydney College of Divinity

Abstract: Scholars generally concur that St Cyril of Alexandria was more an exegete, polemicist, and politician, rather than a pastor. The question to be asked here, then, is whether Cyril was not interested primarily in the pastoral aspects of his episcopal role; whether the evidence of his pastoral involvement is simply too difficult to discover or assemble from his numerous exegetical and polemical works; or whether his role as pastor has been neglected by scholars. This article takes as starting-points the bias of our ancient sources with regard to Cyril, and a recent study which draws on modern theories of pastoral care to outline the profile of the pastoral activities of a late-antique bishop. How does St Cyril measure up as a pastor?