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Saint Cyril, Patriarch of Jerusalem (18 March)

This Saint was born in 315, and succeeded Maximus as Archbishop of Jerusalem in 350. He was zealous for the Orthodox Faith, and was a defender of the poor. He was exiled three times by the Arian Emperors Constantius and Valens. But after their death, he was recalled to his throne; he reposed in peace in 386. Of his writings, the most prominent are his catechetical lectures, which are considered the most ancient systematic summary of Christian teaching. Before Saint Cyril, there had been two dioceses, one of Jerusalem, and one of Holy Sion; under Saint Cyril, they were united into one bishopric.

Cyril was born in Jerusalem during the reign of Constantine the Great and died during the reign of Theodosius the Great (315-386 A.D.) He was ordained a priest in 346 A.D. and succeeded to the throne of Blessed Maximus, Patriarch of Jerusalem, in 350 A.D. On three occasions he was dethroned and sent into exile. Finally, during the reign of Theodosius, he returned but was not reinstated. He lived peacefully for eight years and then gave up his soul to the Lord. He underwent two difficult struggles: one against the Arians, who became powerful under Constantius, the son of Constantine, and the other during the reign of Julian the Apostate, against this traitor and the Jews.

During a period of Arian domination, on the day of Pentecost, the sign of the Cross, brighter than the sun, stretched over Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives, lasting for several hours beginning at nine o’clock in the morning. This phenomenon, seen by all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, was reported in writing to Emperor Constantius, and served greatly in establishing Orthodoxy over the heretics. During the time of the Apostate, still another sign occurred. In order to humiliate the Christians, Julian persuaded the Jews to restore the Temple of Solomon. Cyril prayed to God to prevent this.

There was a terrible earthquake, which destroyed all that had been newly built. Then the Jews began restoration anew. Again there was an earthquake, which not only destroyed the newly constructed portion but also overturned and scattered the old stones beneath the ground that supported the Temple. And so the words of the Lord came true: There shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down (Mark 13:2; Luke 21:6). Among the many writings of this Holy Father is his Catechetical Discourses, a first-class work preserved to the present, which confirms the Faith and practice of Orthodoxy.

This saint was a unique archpastor and a great ascetic. He was meek, humble, exhausted from fasting, and pale in complexion. After a life of many labors and noble struggles for the Orthodox Faith, Cyril peacefully reposed and took up his habitation in the eternal court of the Lord.

Apolytikion of Cyril, Abp. Of Jerusalem

Fourth Tone

A model of faith and the image of gentleness, the example of your life has shown you forth to your sheep-fold to be a master of temperance. You obtained thus through being lowly, gifts from on high, and riches through poverty. Cyril, our father and priest of priests, intercede with Christ our God that He may save our souls.

Kontakion of Cyril, Abp. Of Jerusalem

First Tone

Thy speech inspired of God hath enlightened thy people to honour the One God, undivided in essence, yet known and distinguished in His Three Persons, the Trinity. Wherefore, with great joy we keep thy holy remembrance, and we have thee as our intercessor, wise Cyril, to pray unto God for us.