Saint of the Day – 9 February – St Cyril of Alexandria (376-444) “The Pillar of Faith” “Doctor of the Incarnation” – Bshop, Confessor, Father and Doctor, of the Church.
St Cyril of Alexandria
From the Roman Breviary
The praises of Cyril of Alexandria have been celebrated, not only by one writer or another but have even been registered in the acts of the Ecumenical Councils of Ephesus and Chalcedon. He was born of distinguished parents and was the nephew of Theophilus, Bishop of Alexandria. While he was still young, he gave clear proof of his excellent understanding. After giving a deep study to letters and science, he betook himself to John, Bishop of Jerusalem, to be perfected in the Christian Faith. After his return to Alexandria, and the death of Theophilus, he was raised to that See. In this Office, he kept ever before his eyes, the type of the Shepherd of souls described by the Apostle and, by ever adhering thereto, deservedly earned the glory of a holy Bishop.
He burned with zeal for the salvation of souls and took all care to keep the flock entrusted to him in purity of faith and lif, and to guard them from the poisonous pastures of heresy and infidelity. Hence, in accordance with law, he caused the followers of Novatus to be expelled from the City and procured the punishment of the Jews, whose rage had led them to plan a massacre of the Christians. Cyril’s singular care for the preservation of the Catholic Faith shone forth, especially in his conflict with Nestorius, Bishop of Constantinople, who declared that Jesus Christ had been born of the Virgin Mary as Man only and not as God and, that the Divinity had been bestowed upon Him because of His merits. Cyril in vain attempted to convert Nestorius and then denounced him to Pope St. Celestine.
A delegate of Pope Celestine, Cyril presided at the Council of Ephesus where the Nestorian heresy was absolutely proscribed. Nestorius was condemned and deprived of his See and the Catholic Doctrine, as to the unity of Person in Christ and the Divine Motherhood of the glorious Virgin Mary, was laid down amid the rejoicings of all the people, who escorted the Bishops to their lodgings with a torch-light procession. For this reason Nestorius and his followers, made Cyril the object of slanders, insults and persecutions which he bore with profound patience, for he cared only for the Faith and paid no attention to what the heretics might do or say against himself.
At length he died a holy death, in the year of salvation 444, the thirty-second of his Episcopacy, after having performed great labours for the Church of God and having composed numerous works, both in refutation of paganism and heresy, in exposition of Sacred Scripture and in explanation of Catholic Dogmas.