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Monday, 19 March 2018
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St Cyril of Jerusalem



St. Cyril became the Archbishop of Jerusalem at 35. He was present at the Council of Constantinople in 381 A.D., where Jerusalem was first recognised as a patriarchal See, along with Rome, Antioch, Alexandria and Constantinople. This council is responsible for the Nicene Creed which was promulgated in its final form. He died on the 18th March in 386 at the age of seventy, after 35 years as a bishop, of which he spent 16 years in exile.

Cyril's life began a few years before Arianism - the heresy that Jesus was not divine, or one in being with the Father - began, and he lived to see its suppression and condemnation at the end of his life. In between, he was the victim of many of the power struggles that took place.

During his episcopate, the apostate Julian tried to contradict the words of sacred scripture, by rebuilding the temple at Jerusalem. He was aided by a Roman emperor, and resourced by some wealthy Jews. Cyril was unmoved. "The word of God abides," he said; "one stone shall not be laid on another." A pagan writer of the time reported that horrible flames came forth from the earth, rendering the place inaccessible to the scorched and scared workmen. The project was attempted again and again, and then abandoned in despair. Soon, the emperor perished in a war against the Persians, and the Church was at peace.

Cyril was a peacemaker, of a gentle nature, and a great teacher of the early Church. His foremost surviving work is the 'Catecheses' - a collection of 23 catechetical lectures to candidates for (adult) Baptism. St Cyril was declared a Doctor of the Church in 1882
. A Doctor of the Church, (from the Latin docere, to teach), is a saint from whose writings the whole Church is held to have derived great advantage and to whom "eminent learning" and "great sanctity" have been attributed.

"Let us, therefore, not be ashamed of the Cross of Christ; but though another hide it, you openly seal it upon your forehead, that the devils may behold the royal sign and flee trembling far away. Make then this sign at eating and drinking, at sitting, at lying down, at rising up, at speaking, at walking: in a word, at every act."   St Cyril of Jerusalem