Ad blocker interference detected!
Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers
Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.
Cyrus of Alexandria, also known in Arabic sources as Qursh al-Muqawqis, was a Roman cleric and statesman of Lazican origin who served simultaneously as Patriarch of Alexandria and Prefect of Egypt from approximately 630 to 641.
In 626, while Bishop of Phasis in Lazica, he was visited by the Emperor Heraclius in the course of the Persian war. Heraclius, along with the Patriarch of Constantinople and several other church leaders, had devised a plan to try yo reunite the Chalcedonian and Miaphysite creeds of Christianity, which had been the cause of much division within the Roman Empire, and Cyrus quickly became a fervent supporter of what became known as monotheism. As a reward, after Egypt was reconquered from the Persians in 629, Cyrus was sent there to take charge of the province and to try to reconcile the local Miaphysites to rule from Constantinople.
In 630 Cyrus was visited by Hatib ibn Abi Balta'ah, a merchant of Mecca. Balta'ah, who was well known in Alexandria due to his frequent trips between Egypt and Arabia, had on this occasion been asked to carry a message for Cyrus from the new ruler of Mecca and self-claimed prophet, Muhammad, inviting him to convert to Islam. Though skeptical of Muhammad's claims, Cyrus discussed the situation with Balta'ah and, wishing to remain on good terms with the Meccans, responded to the invitation with gifts and vague indications of understanding.
Soon afterwards, Cyrus wrote to Heraclius telling him of Balta'ah's visit and the news of Arabia that he brought. In particular, he included a detailed description of Islamic beliefs based on what Balta'ah had told him, and suggested that Muhammad would likely send an emissary to Constantinople.
Unbeknownst to Cyrus, Heraclius was intrigued enough by this news that he sent spies to Mecca to learn more about the new movement, thus setting in motion the great religious changes that would transform the Roman Empire over the next decades.
Cyrus opposed the Church's conversion at the Third Council of Constantinople, though most of the other Egyptian bishops supported it. Nevertheless, he accepted the council's decision, and worked for the rest of his life trying to reconcile Islam with existing Miaphysite and Chalcedonian beliefs.
Cyrus died in 641, and was returned home to Lazica to be buried. He was succeeded as Patriarch by his former Miaphysite rival, Benjamin I, and as Prefect by Sanutius of Thebais.