Part Three: The Pelagian Crisis (411–430)
Note 66: Eusebius’ Letter to Cyril of Alexandria
Eusebius’ Letter to Cyril of Alexandria
Baronius presents a letter from Eusebius to Cyril of Alexandria which must have been written in 417, before Zosimus had written to Africa in favor of Pelagius and Caelestius.2 This letter contains pertinent facts concerning this era and there is no evidence of a forgery. Noris and Garnier receive this letter as authentic without difficulty.3 Valerianus whom the letter concerns is otherwise unknown. How many persons are known only in one place in history?
However the obscure and inelegant style of the letter causes us to doubt its authenticity. Is not percutienti retinnere in order to say “to respond to a letter,” more worthy of the ninth century than the fifth. Is the same not true of mea paruitas twice repeated in a short letter to make us aware of this repetition. Is in Christo frater so ancient an expression? At the very least this expression appears suitable only to a bishop. According to Baronius, this Eusebius is a priest from Cremona.4 Noris accepts him without difficulty.5 Garnier believes he is a bishop.6 If that were true, although this letter is humble in expression, it may be excessively humble even for a bishop. The letter is free in matters written to Cyril.
As for the facts, Eusebius strongly suggests the church of Alexandria had continuously been in union with Italy. This remark may not be a propos of 417 after the church of Alexandria...