Commemorated on March 18th
Cyril, Patriarch of Jerusalem
St Cyril, Archbishop of Jerusalem, was born in Jerusalem in 315 AD and was raised in strict Christian piety. Upon reaching the age of maturity, he became a monk, and in 346 AD he became a Priest. In 350 AD, he succeeded Maximos as Archbishop of Jerusalem.
As Patriarch of Jerusalem, St Cyril zealously fought against the heresies of Arius and Macedonius. In so doing, he aroused the animosity of the Arian bishops, who sought to have him deposed and banished from Jerusalem.
There was a miraculous portent in 351 AD at Jerusalem; at the third hour of the day on the Feast of Pentecost, the Holy Cross appeared in the heavens, shining with a radiant light. It stretched from Golgotha above the Mount of Olives. St Cyril reported this portent to the Arian emperor Constantius (351-363 AD), hoping to convert him to Orthodoxy.
The heretic Akakios, deposed by the Council of Sardica, was formerly the Metropolitan of Caesarea, and he collaborated with the emperor to have St Cyril removed. An intense famine struck Jerusalem, and St Cyril expended all his wealth in charity. However, since the famine did not abate, the Saint pawned church utensils, and used the money to buy wheat for the starving. The Saint's enemies spread a scandalous rumor that they had seen a woman in the city dancing around in clerical garb. Taking advantage of this rumor, the heretics forcibly expelled the Saint.
St Cyril found shelter with Bishop Silvanos in Tarsus. After this, a local Council at Seleucia, at which there were about 150 Bishops (including St Cyril). The heretical Metropolitan Akakios did not want to allow him to take a seat, however the Council would not consent to this. Akakios stormed out of the Council, and before the emperor and the Arian patriarch Eudoxios, he denounced both the Council and St Cyril. The emperor had the Saint imprisoned.
When the emperor Julian the Apostate (361-363 AD) ascended the throne he repealed all the anti-Orthodox decrees of Constantius, seemingly out of piety. St Cyril returned to his own flock. However, after a certain while, when Julian had become secure upon the throne, he openly Apostatized and renounced Christ. He permitted the Jews to start rebuilding the Temple of Jerusalem that had been destroyed by the Romans during 70 AD, and he even provided them part of the funds for the building from the state treasury.
St Cyril predicted that the words of the Saviour about the destruction of the Temple down to its very stones (Luke 21:6) would undoubtedly transpire, and the blasphemous intent of Julian would come to naught. Soon there was such a powerful earthquake, that even the solidly set foundation of the ancient Temple of Solomon shifted in its place, and what had been rebuilt fell down and shattered into dust. When the workers resumed construction, a fire came down from the heavens and destroyed their tools, and great terror seized everyone. On the following night, the Sign of the Cross appeared on their clothing, which they could not remove by any means.
After confirmation of St Cyril's prediction, they banished him again, and the bishop's throne was occupied by St Kyriakos, but St. Kyriakos soon suffered a martyr's death (commemorated October 28).
After the Emperor Julian perished in 363 AD, St Cyril returned to his See, but during the reign of the emperor Valens (364-378) he was exiled for a third time. It was only under the holy emperor St Theodosios the Great (379-395 AD) that he finally returned to his Archpastoral activity. In 381 AD, St Cyril took part in the Second Ecumenical Synod, which condemned the heresy of Macedonius and affirmed the Nicea-Constantinople Creed (Symbol of Faith).
The works of St Cyril include 23 Instructions (18 are Catechetical, intended for those preparing for Baptism, and five are for the newly-baptized), and the two discourses on the Gospel themes: "On the Paralytic", and "Concerning the Transformation of Water into Wine at Cana". At the heart of the Catechetical Instructions is a detailed explanation of the Symbol of Faith. The Saint suggests that a Christian should inscribe the Symbol of Faith upon "the tablets of the heart."
St Cyril teaches, "The articles of the Faith were not written through human cleverness, but they contain everything that is most important in all the Scriptures, in a single teaching of faith. Just as the mustard seed contains all its plethora of branches within its small kernel, so also does the Faith in its several declarations combine all the pious teachings of the Old and the New Testaments".
The Saint, a great ascetic and a champion of Orthodoxy, died in the year 386 AD.
Dismissal Hymn (Fourth Tone)
The truth of things have revealed you to your flock as a rule of faith, an icon of meekness, and a teacher of temperance; for this cause, you have achieved the heights by humility, riches by poverty. O Father and Hierarch Cyril, intercede with Christ God that our souls be saved.
Kontakion (First Tone)
The soldiers standing guard
Your speech inspired of God has enlightened your people to honour the One God, undivided in essence, yet known and distinguished in His Three Persons, the Trinity. Therefore, with great joy we keep the holy remembrance, and we have you as our intercessor, wise Cyril, to pray unto God for us.