It was the long-established custom of the Alexandrian patriarch to write each year a paschal letter to the faithful of his province. In the letter of the year 399 the Patriarch Theophilus, an ecclesiastic of great ability but few scruples, inveighed rather severely against those who taught that God was corporeal, or in other words that God had bodily form. This opinion was by no means extraordinary. For over two centuries Alexandria had been the leading center of Christian theology, and for a much longer period a pre-eminent seat of philosophic learning as well. The repudiation of anthropomorphic conceptions of God had long been a matter of common acceptance by pagan and Christian theologians alike who laid any claim to a liberal education.