Subject Area

History, Religion, Theology/Religious Education


Cyril of Alexandria is an extremely important figure in the history and development of Christian doctrine, particularly in the area of Christology. He was a major influence on the major conciliar decisions of the fifth century and continued to shape the progression of Christian theology well into the Middle Ages and beyond. However, relatively little attention has been given to the ecclesiological significance of his works. In this dissertation, I aim to make a contribution to Cyrillian studies and to the field of historical theology more broadly by identifying and elucidating what I see as one of the most important components of Cyril’s ecclesiology, namely his conception of the unity of the church. I do this by examining four primary aspects of his vision of ecclesial unity: the solidarity of the human race, unity as beauty, baptism, and the eucharist. After looking at how Cyril’s predecessors potentially shaped his ecclesiological perspective, I treat each of these areas in turn, intentionally building up to how he relates ecclesial unity to the eucharist, as this is the summit of his overall vision. Along the way, but especially in the final chapters, I also draw out some of the more important implications of Cyril’s teaching on ecclesial unity and offer some suggestions for further study.

Degree Date

Fall 2021

Document Type


Degree Name



Religious Studies


Bruce Marshall

Second Advisor

James K. Lee

Third Advisor

Rebekah Miles

Fourth Advisor

Khaled Anatolios

Number of Pages




Available for download on Wednesday, December 09, 2026