Faithful Friday: Cyril of Jerusalem

By Ian Wilson (Rated G)

Cyril of Jerusalem lived during some of the most significant and tumultuous times in church history. Little is known of the details of Cyril of Jerusalem’s life, and he left few writings behind. What little writing he did leave behind is a valuable resource on the theology and ritual of the Early Church.

He was consecrated a bishop to replace St. Maximus by a group of local bishops, the standard practice of the time. However, one of these bishops, Acacius, was an adherent of the Arian heresy and It was thought that Cyril would side with the Arians in this time of controversy. To the surprise and anger of the Arians, he did not. 

Twice Cyril found himself driven out of his diocese; fully half of his time as bishop was spent in exile. When he was finally vindicated, and able to return to his seat, he found the whole church in Jerusalem in chaos. Schism and heresy threatened to destroy the very fabric of the church.

Cyril had a long and contentious struggle ahead of him to maintain the integrity of the church, and even his own integrity, as there was still suspicion about his theological leanings. In 381, Cyril was called to the First Council of Constantinople, which revised the Nicene Creed. Cyril vindicated himself once again, joining his name with those who supported Christ’s full divinity, and defeating Arianism.

May we weather the storms of life with the grace and dignity of Cyril.

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