Apparently, some dude named Synesius from Cyrene was a very good speaker, so the people of Ptolemais asked to have him as their bishop. Synesius told them he couldn’t possibly take the offer, because he didn’t actually believe in the resurrection of the body. (Although he was a Christian, thanks to the efforts of his wife.) Also, because he was married, and didn’t want to change his way of living or that of his wife. (He was willing to give up hunting with his hunting dogs, although it made him sad. He wrote a book which doesn’t survive, “Cynogetics”, about dog breeding.)
They made him bishop anyway.
However, it was several months later, and apparently he accepted the resurrection of the body and the wages of being a bishop, after taking the time to study and pray about it all.
As a bishop, he was known for both his orthodoxy and his love of writing stuff in the same high-sounding words that the Valentinian heretics did. (Nice trick if you can manage it.) He wasn’t afraid to excommunicate one of his acquaintances for violating sanctuary (and took the time to condemn the guy for torturing people, while he was at it). But he never lost his love of philosophy; he made it serve Christ, as many other Christian philosophers before him had done.
He was a student and friend of Hypatia; his letters to her survive. (Yes, that Hypatia. Who may or may not have been Christian, despite what is normally heard.) In fact, in his last letter to her, he called her “mother, sister, and teacher”. His hymns seem very devout and philosophical, but the death of three of his sons and his own final sickness apparently weighed heavily upon him. A very interesting guy.
Anyway, there are some pretty nice translations of his hymns, along with some bits of Ambrose, Boethius, etc., and some original poems, in this poetry book by a Victorian lighthouse engineer.🙂
More on Synesius of Cyrene at livius.org.