Skip to comments.Saint Cyril of Alexandria:Doctor of the Church
Posted on 06/27/2002 6:01:01 PM PDT by Lady In Blue
Spiritual Bouquet: You are to be perfect, even as your heavenly Father is perfect. St. Matthew 5:48
"Saint Cyril of Alexandria"
SAINT CYRIL of ALEXANDRIA
Doctor of the Church
Born at Alexandria, Egypt, and nephew of the patriach of that city, Theophilus, Cyril received a classical and theological education at Alexandria and was ordained by his uncle. He accompanied Theophilus to Constantinople in 403 and was present at the "Synod of the Oak" that deposed John Chrysostom, whom he believed guilty of the charges against him.
He succeeded his uncle Theophilus as patriarch of Alexandria on Theophilus´ death in 412, but only after a riot between Cyril´s supporters and the followers of his rival Timotheus. Cyril at once began a series of attacks against the Novatians, whose churches he closed; the Jews, whom he drove from the city; and Governor Orestes, with whom he disagreed about some of his actions.
In 430 Cyril became embroiled with Nestorius, patriarch of Constantinople, who was preaching that Mary was not the Mother of God since Christ was divine and not human, and consequently She should not have the word Theotokos (God-bearer) applied to Her. He persuaded Pope Celestine I to convoke a synod at Rome, which condemned Nestorius, and then did the same at his own synod in Alexandria. Celestine directed Cyril to depose Nestorius, and in 431 Cyril presided over the third General Council at Ephesus, attended by some two hundred bishops, which condemned all the tenets of Nestorius and his followers before the arrival of Archbishop John of Antioch and forty-two followers who believed Nestorius was innocent; when they found what had been done, they held a council of their own and deposed Cyril. Emperor Theodosius II arrested both Cyril and Nestorius but released Cyril on the arrival of papal legates who confirmed the council´s actions against Nestorius and declared Cyril innocent of all charges. Two years later Archbishop John, representing the moderate Antiochene bishops, and Cyril reached an agreement and joined in the condemnation, and Nestorius was forced into exile.
During the rest of his life Cyril wrote treatises that clarified the doctrines of the Trinity and the Incarnation and that helped prevent Nestorianism and Pelagianism from taking long-term deep root in the Christian community. He was the most brilliant theologian of the Alexendrian tradition. His writings are characterized by accurate thinking, precise exposition, and great reasoning skill. Among his writings are commentaries on Saint John, Saint Luke, and the Pentateuch, treatises on dogmatic theology, an Apologia against Julian the Apostate, and letters and sermons. He was declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Leo XIII in 1882.
Source: Dictionary of Saints, by John J. Delaney (Doubleday & Co.: Garden City, 1980)
That anyone could doubt the right of the holy Virgin to be called the Mother of God fills me with astonishment.Surely she must be the Mother of God if our Lord Jesus Christ is GOd, and she gave birth to him!Our Lord's disciples may not have used those exact words,but they delivered to us the belief those words enshrine,and this has also been taught us by the holy fathers.
In the third book of his work on the holy and consubstantial Trinity, our father Athanasius, of glorious memory,several times refers to the holy Virgin as "Mother of God."I cannot resist quoting his own words:"As I have often told you, the distinctive mark of holy Scipture is that it was written to make a twofold declaration concerning our Savior;namely that he is and has always been God,since he is the Word, Radiance and Wisdom of the Father;and that for our sake in these latter days he took flesh from the Virgin Mary, Mother of God, and became man."
Again further on he says:"There have been many holy men, free from all sin. Jeremiah was sanctified in his mother's womb, and John while still in the womb leaped for joy at the voice of Mary, the Mother of God."Athanasius is a man we can trust, one who deserves our complete confidence, for he taught nothing contrary to the sacred books.
The divinely inspired Scriptures affirm that the Word of God was made flesh, that is to say, he was united to a human body endowed with a rational soul. He undertook to help the descendants of Abraham, fashioning a body for himself from a woman and sharing our flesh and blood, to enable us to see in him not only God, but also, by reason of this union, a man like ourselves.
It is held, therefore, that there are in Emmanuel two entities, divinity and humanity. Yet our Lord Jesus Christ is nonetheless one, the one true Son, both God and man;not a deified man on the same footing as those who share the divine nature by grace, but true God who for our sake appreared in human form. We are assured of this by Saint Paul's declaration:When the fullness of time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law and to enable us to be adopted as sons.
BTTT on the feastday of St. Cyril of Alexandria, 06-27-05
June 27, 2005
St. Cyril of Alexandria
Saints are not born with halos around their heads. Cyril, recognized as a great teacher of the Church, began his career as archbishop of Alexandria, Egypt, with impulsive, often violent, actions. He pillaged and closed the churches of the Novatian heretics, participated in the deposing of St. John Chrysostom and confiscated Jewish property, expelling the Jews from Alexandria in retaliation for their attacks on Christians.
Cyrils importance for theology and Church history lies in his championing the cause of orthodoxy against the heresy of Nestorius.
The controversy centered around the two natures in Christ. Nestorius would not agree to the title God-bearer for Mary. He preferred Christ-bearer, saying there are two distinct persons in Christ (divine and human) joined only by a moral union. He said Mary was not the mother of God but only of the man Christ, whose humanity was only a temple of God. Nestorianism implied that the humanity of Christ was a mere disguise.
Presiding as the popes representative at the Council of Ephesus (431), Cyril condemned Nestorianism and proclaimed Mary truly the God-bearer (the mother of the one Person who is truly God and truly human). In the confusion that followed, Cyril was deposed and imprisoned for three months, after which he was welcomed back to Alexandria as a second Athanasius (the champion against Arianism).
Besides needing to soften some of his opposition to those who had sided with Nestorius, Cyril had difficulties with some of his own allies, who thought he had gone too far, sacrificing not only language but orthodoxy. Until his death, his policy of moderation kept his extreme partisans under control. On his deathbed, despite pressure, he refused to condemn the teacher of Nestorius.
BTTT on the Optional Memorial of St. Cyril of Alexandria, Doctor of the Church.
BTTT on the Optional Memorial of St. Cyril of Alexandria, June 27, 2007!
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.