Saturday, March 6, 2010

Memorial of St Cyril of Constantinople

"Cyril, the Bishop of Alexandria, was born of noble parents. He was nephew, on the father's side, of Theophilus, then Bishop of Alexandria, who sent the youth to Athens to pursue his studies. There Cyril made marked progress, and he afterwards sought out John, the Bishop of Jerusalem, that he might be thoroughly instructed in the perfection of christian life. Strengthened by his intercourse with the Bishop, Cyril retired to Mount Carmel, where he led for some time the life of heaven upon earth, in company with certain pious men who dwelt there. Later he returned to Alexandria, his native city, and was ordained a priest of that church. Shortly afterwards, Theophilus died, who was Bishop, as well as Cyril's uncle, and Cyril was raised to the vacant seat by general consent.

As Bishop he gave himself up wholly to the duties of the episcopal charge. In the first place, that he might purge his diocese of the errors of unbelievers, he drove the Jews out of Alexandria, for they were then undermining the city by their evil lives. He attached also the Nestorian heretics, and he was therefore appointed the legate of Celestine the First, at the Council of Ephesus, where he uprooted almost entirely the baneful dogma of the Nestorians, and proved the Blessed Virgin Mary to be the true mother of God.

The old enemy of the human race, and of the Mother of God, raised up many persecutions against Cyril by means of John (Sacrensis), who represented the Emperor at Ephesus. Cyril was divinely aided in warding off these attacks; and after his return to Alexandria he wrote many letters to the different parts of Egypt, in order to blot out what remained of the Nestorian heresy. He wrote much and labored much in defence of the Church, and his works are read in the divine office throughout almost the whole of Syria. After he had ruled his church in holiness for many years, being bowed down with age, he gave up his soul to God on the fourth of the Kalends of February, under the Emperors Theodosius and Valentinian.


Father of heavenly light! who, with the light of wisdom and of the true faith, hast vouchsafed to enlighten the mind of Blessed Cyril, thy Confessor and Pontiff, that he might defend the honor of Mary, the Mother of Thy Son and ever Virgin, from the errors of heretics; grant, through his intercession, that the hearts of them that go astray may return to the unity of Thy truth, and that we may be on in obedience to Thy will. Through our Lord."

-- Proper Offices of the Saints granted to the Barefooted Carmelites (1896)

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