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The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity

from its origins to circa AD 700, across the entire Christian world

Cyril of Alexandria in 431, during the Council of Ephesus, preaches three homilies on *Mary (Mother of God, S00033) and one on *John (the Apostle and Evangelist, S00042); two are explicitly delivered at the Ephesian shrines of the two saints. Written in Greek at Ephesus (western Asia Minor).

Evidence ID


Type of Evidence

Literary - Sermons/Homilies

Major author/Major anonymous work

Cyril of Alexandria

Cyril of Alexandria, Various Homilies (Homiliae Diversae).

Homily 2: Preached at Ephesus, on the feast of John the Evangelist
(CPG 5246 = BHG 932m)
Panegyric on the feast of the Evangelist, referring to him and Mary.
Migne 1864, 985-989.

Homily 4: On Mary and against Nestorius (CPG 5248 = BHG 1151)
The homily was held at the basilica of Mary in Ephesus, during the Council of Ephesus. It consists of exegesis of Marian doctrine in the form of rhetorical praise for Mary, including some polemic against Nestorius.
Migne 1864, 992-996

Homily 8. Given at the basilica of Mary in Ephesus (CPG 5252)
Only a small fragment of this sermon is preserved, in Latin translation.
Migne 1864, 1009-1010.

Homily 11: Encomium on the Holy Mary who gave birth to God (Theotokos) (CPG 5255 = BHG 1154)
A farewell panegyric addressed to the Council and city of Ephesus in 431, including rhetorical praises for the city and John the Evangelist, and a lengthy theologically loaded praise for Mary.
Migne 1864, 1029-1040.

Liturgical Activities

Service for the saint


Saint’s feast

Cult Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Activities accompanying Cult

Meetings and gatherings of the clergy

Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops


Cyril of Alexandria, bishop of Alexandria (412-444), was one of the dominant figures of the Eastern Church in the early 5th century, and one of the protagonists of the Council of Ephesus in 431, which condemned Nestorius of Constantinople as a heretic. These sermons were preached during the council.

On tbe manuscript tradition of the texts, see:
CPG 5246 :
CPG 5248 :
CPG 5255 :


Migne, J.-P., Patrologiae Cursus Completus: Series Graeca 77 (Paris: Imprimerie Catholique, 1864), 985-989, 992-996, 1009-1010, 1029-1040.

Further reading:
Russell, N., Cyril of Alexandria (The Early Church Fathers; London/New York: Routledge, 2000).

Record Created By

Efthymios Rizos

Date Last Modified


Related Saint Records
IDNameName in SourceIdentity
S00033Mary, Mother of ChristΜαρία, ΘεοτόκοςCertain
S00042John, the Apostle and EvangelistἸωάννηςCertain

Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL:
Efthymios Rizos, Cult of Saints, E06261 -