Saint Brigid Religious Education
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St. Cyril of Jerusalem

Feast day: March 18

Cyril spent his whole life in Jerusalem, where he was consecrated deacon in 335, by Bishop Makarius, and presbyter in 345, by Bishop Maximus, and where he finally became bishop himself.

In the Arian controversy he tried to maintain a neutral position but he did not succeed. After the death of Maximus Cyril became bishop by the aid of this party. At all events he was consecrated by Acacius of Cęsarea, who was an Arian. But the harmony between him and Acacius did not last long.

According to the seventh canon of the Council of Nice, the Bishop of Jerusalem ranked immediately after the Bishops of Rome. From this point the disagreement began, but it was greatly inflamed by religious discrepancies.

Acacius cited Cyril before him, and when he declined to appear, Acacius had him removed by a council of only a few bishops. Cyril appealed to another and larger council held at Seleucia, and mostly composed of Semi-Arians, and this council removed Acacius. But in 360 a still larger council of Arians held in Constantinople, confirmed the removal of Cyril, and it was only the accession of Julian which enabled Cyril to return to his see.

During the last twenty years he lived in comparative peace and quiet, though he was expelled twice more, under Valens.

Of the works ascribed to Cyril, the homilies are certainly false, though with the exception of the one on the impotent man at the Pool of Bethesda, first published by Thomas Mules in 1703, which seems to be genuine. But the catecheses, or catechetical lectures, are genuine, and are of the greatest interest, both for the history of the Christian dogmas, and for the true understanding of the liturgy and catechetical methods of the ancient Church.

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