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March 18

Saint Cyril of Jerusalem

Saint Cyril of Jerusalem

Bishop and Doctor of the Church

(c. 315 – 386)

“After all, He saved the thief on the holy hill of Golgotha because of one hour’s faith, will He not save you too, since you have believed?

Saint Cyril of Jerusalem

Saint’s Life Story

His Early Life 

Cyril was born around 315 at or near the city of Jerusalem, Isreal. He was apparently well-read in both the writings of the early Christian theologians and the Greek philosophers

Ordained Deacon 

Cyril was ordained deacon, in 335, by Bishop Makarios, and priest, in 345, by Bishop and Saint Maximus. Cyril taught catechumens for several years and around 349 succeeded Maximus as Bishop of Jerusalem. His “Mystagogic Catecheses” delivered during Lent in 347 gave a clear picture of the instruction given to those preparing for baptism.

Accused, Expelled, and Recalled

Initially, he was supported by the Arian bishop, Acacius of Caesarea, who was his metropolitan. However, Bishop Acacius of Caesarea brought accusations against Cyril that he sold gifts the emperor had given to the Church to raise funds to feed the poor. So, Acacius, who claimed ecclesiastical jurisdiction over Jerusalem, had an Arian synod condemn Cyril. Acacius had Cyril expelled in 357 for selling church possessions.  But, in reality, it was because of his opposition to Arianism in favor of orthodox doctrine. Cyril went to Tarsus, but was recalled by the Council of Seleucia in 359. Although Cyril lived in a time with challenging political climates, he never stopped preaching the gospel.

Expelled and Recalled Again

Cyril was again expelled at Acacius’ instigation with Emperor Constantius and recalled again in 361 by Emperor Julius Apostate. Emperor Valens banished all churchmen recalled during Julius reign including Cyril in 367. Under the orthodox Catholic emperor Theodosius, Cyril was recalled in 379 and attended the Council of Constantinople. It is also worth knowing that Cyril practiced the same forgiveness that he believed the gospel taught people. Although exiled from his church and land many times, Cyril never held a grudge against his antagonists.

“Homosousios” in the Nicene Creed

The Council of Antioch in 379 sent Saint Gregory of Nyssa to Palestine to investigate the charges against Cyril arising from his questioning the “homoousios” in the Nicene Creed. Cyril and Gregory attended the Council of Constantinople in 381 which further condemned Arianism and strengthened orthodox doctrine. Cyril completely accepted the amended Nicene Creed and the term “homoousios”.

Scholar and Author

Cyril was a scriptural scholar and a successful preacher. He was also an author with some of his famous work include the twenty-three catechetical lectures, a book of lectures for the layman. Cyril was a firm opponent of Arianism and his orthodoxy was unquestioned.

His Death

Cyril died in Jerusalem around the age of 73 in 386.  He is respected by the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Church, Oriental Orthodoxy, Anglican Communion, and Lutheran Church. Cyril was declared a Doctor of the Church in 1882 by Pope Leo XIII.

Born:                   Around 315 near Jerusalem, Syria Palaestina (Israel)

Died:                   386 in Jerusalem, Syria Palaestina (Israel)

Beatified:           Pre-Congregation

Canonized:        Pre-Congregation

Feast Day:         March 18

Patron Saint:    Faithfulness to the Church

Source:

Reflection

Many people assume that a saint’s life is “easy” because, well, they are a saint. Saint Cyril’s live was far from easy. He was accused of crimes and expelled from his country. Not once, not twice, but Saint Cyril was expelled at least three times due to the political climate he lived in. During this time, Saint Cyril never waived in his faith. He never wrote or showed any ill will towards those who wronged him. Saint Cyril did what other saints before and after him have done and just kept the faith and served God.

How strong is your faith? Could you be banished to another country and not say or write on social media bad things about those who wronged you? May we forgive others who have wronged us just as Jesus dying on the cross forgives us for our sins.

Prayers

Saint Cyril of Jerusalem you were a model teacher of the right doctrine. May the Holy Spirit fill us with the right words of our faith to speak to those we encounter from family, friends, coworkers and strangers so we may be a model of Jesus in our actions and words.

Saint Cyril of Jerusalem, pray for us. Amen.

Saint Links 

Aleteia – Why do Catholics make the Sign of the Cross before praying?

AnaStpaul – Saint of the Day – 18 March – St Cyril of Jerusalem (315-387)

Catholic Fire – St. Cyril of Jerusalem

Catholic Ireland – Mar 18 – St Cyril of Jerusalem (315-386)

CatholicSaints.Info – Saint Cyril of Jerusalem

Franciscan Media – Saint Cyril of Jerusalem

Independent Catholic News – Saint Cyril of Jerusalem

My Catholic Life – Saint Cyril of Jerusalem, Bishop and Doctor

Newman Ministry – Saint Cyril of Jerusalem

Saint Mary’s Press – Saint Cyril of Jerusalem (c.315-386)

Saint of the Day – March 18 Saint Cyril of Jerusalem

uCatholic – Saint Cyril of Jerusalem

Wikipedia – Cyril of Jerusalem

Video Link

St. Cyril of Jerusalem – YouTube Video (Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network – USA)