By this name, two types of documents are generally described.

  1. The letters addressed either to other or to some other contemporary personage, preserved in Greek or Coptic. These have been conveniently indexed by M. Geerard in his (CPG). They derive from the synods held in the ancient period at Alexandria, which was the seat of the down to the tenth century. These synods, with their letters, are:
  • Synod of A.D. 320: CPG 2000 and 2002
  • Synod of 338: CPG 2123, sec. 1
  • Synod of 362: CPG 2134
  • Synod of 363: CPG 2135
  • Synod of 400: CPG 2595 and 2596
  1. The letters called “synodical letters” designating the letters which the exchanged with those of the see of after their election; they thus bore witness to their community in faith. The majority are preserved in Arabic in the dogmatic florilegium entitled of the Fathers (I‘tiraf al- Aba’). This work, important for the history of the patriarchate of Alexandria, has been analyzed and almost all the pieces in it identified by (1937, pp. 345-402). There are some data in this article that did not include in his treatment of the text in (Vol. 2, pp. 321-23). We may add here and to the pages of Graf’s Geschichte the notes by (1979, pp. 64-67).

Graf in his Geschichte (Vol. 1, pp. 443-44) gives in detail the synodical letters, the Arabic translation of which is found in the work entitled Al-Kharidah al-Nafisah fi Tarikh al-Kanisah (ed. ‘Ata Allah , Cairo, 1924); they stretch from the eighth to the . Graf also indicates the letters that are preserved in the Bibliotheca Orientalis of J. S. Assemani or in the Nomocanon of Mikha’il of Damietta.

The letters mentioned above were addressed by the to the patriarchs of Alexandria. The letters of the patriarchs of Alexandria—at least what has been preserved of them—are noted by G. Graf (1944-1953, Vol. 1, pp. 480-81), who indicates their locations.


  • Graf, G. “Zwei dogmatischen Florilegien der Kopten.” Orientalia Christiana Periodica 3 (1937):345-402.
  • Riedel, W. Die Kirchenrechtsquellen des Patriarchats Alexandrien. Leipzig, 1900; repr. Aalen, 1968.
  • Samir, K. “Le Kitab I‘tiraf al-Aba’ [inv. 10781].” Bulletin d’ chrétien 3 (1979):64-67.

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