March 18

St. Cyril of Jerusalem

Saint Cyril of Jerusalem

Early Life

Not much is known about Saint Cyril’s early life. What properdocumentation of his life and works began with his first notableexperience with religion.

Saint Cyril was said to have been born around 313 A.D. Given the lack ofa means of confirmation, this date might have been chosen as anassumption.

His place of birth was said to have been born somewhere around CaesareaMaritima, Syria Palaestina, or what is now called the blessed country ofIsrael.

Some accounts claim that Saint Cyril was born around the city ofJerusalem.

Saint Cyril was thought to have been a devout young man growing up. Somebiographers believe that he must have been educated in the writings ofTheologians and Philosophers.

Saint Cyril was a Church layman till he was ordained as a deacon byBishop Macarius circa 335. This placed him at about 22 years old.

He was dedicated to the church and his piety and fiery passion causedhim to be appointed a priest in 343 by Bishop Maximus.

Some documents accuse Saint Cyril of being a supporter of the Arianheresy at this time.

This was partly due to the supposed Alliance between Cyril and Acaciusof Caesarea. Acacius and the rest of the Arian bishops had promisedCyril authority over the church if he dissociated himself from Maximus.

Dedication and Devotion

When he wasn’t studying liturgies, Saint Cyril spent his time prayingand preaching.

It was at this time that a dispute arose between Acacius and SaintCyril. It is widely believed that Acacius was envious of the respectthat Saint Cyril received and despised him for it.

Saint Cyril was accused of selling Church properties. In truth,Jerusalem had been gripped by such a deadly famine that people werestarving to death. It is recorded by some historians that Saint Cyrilhad sold Church adornments to cater for his people.

Saint Cyril refused to go to the hearings he was invited to and fled hisoffice. In his absence in357, he was impeached and Acacius was elected.This led to a string of complicated political saga.

Saint Cyril hid with Bishop Silanus of Seleucia. Two years later,Acacius was impeached and Cyril was replaced. In 360, EmperorConstantius once again impeached and exiled Saint Cyril.

When Julian became Emperor in 361, he allowed the return of Saint Cyril.

In 367, Saint Cyril was again exiled on the order of the Arian EmperorValens. After Valens died in 367, Saint Cyril returned home.


Although Saint Cyril existed in a time with challenging politicalclimates, he never stopped preaching the gospel.

Saint Cyril might have been a part of the Arian heresy but he was also abeliever in the Nicene Orthodox. He expressed this in some of histheological writings.

Saint Cyril was not only a reader but was also a writer. Some of hiswritings managed to survive till recent years.

It is also worth knowing that Saint Cyrill practiced forgiveness line hebelieved the gospel taught people to. Although exiled from his churchand land many times, he never held a grudge against his antagonists.

An example of the famous work of the Saint’s includes the twenty-threecatechetical lectures, a book of lectures for the layman.

Death and Canonization

Saint Cyril died in Jerusalem at the supposed age of 73 in 386 A.D.

He is respected by the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Catholic Church,Eastern Orthodox Church, Oriental Orthodoxy, Anglican Communion, andLutheran Church.

In 1883, Saint Cyril was venerated a Doctor of the Church by Pope LeoXIII. He was canonized Pre-Congregation and is celebrated on the 18th ofMarch.

5 Interesting Facts About St. Cyril of Jerusalem

  1. Did you know that Saint Cyril is mostly called St. Cyril of
    Jerusalem to avoid confusion with St. Cyril of Alexandria?
  2. Did you know that Saint Cyril had a nephew called Gelasius who
    became a Saint?
  3. Did you know that Saint Cyril’s catechetical lectures were said to
    have been jotted down by a member of the brethren?
  4. Did you know that Saint Cyril appointed his nephew as his successor?
  5. Did you know that Saint Cyril is said to have caused Jerusalem to be
    a favorite pilgrim place?

Prayer to St. Cyril of Jerusalem

Father,through Cyril of Jerusalemyou led your Church to a deeper understandingof the mysteries of salvation.Let his prayers help us to know your Son betterand to have eternal life in all its fullness.Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,who lives and reigns with youin the unity of the Holy Spirit,one God, for ever and ever.Amen.