Saturday 1st August 2015

Home » saints » Currently Reading:

Catholic Heroes… St. Cyril Of Alexandria

February 3, 2014 saints No Comments

By CAROLE BRESLIN

Over the 2,000-year history of Christianity, the Catholic Church has only recognized 35 persons as doctors of the Church. A doctor of the Church is one whose writing or preaching is outstanding for guiding the faithful in all periods of the Church’s history. Such well-known saints as St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Teresa of Avila, St. Therese of Lisieux, and St. Francis de Sales are doctors of the Church.
In the beginning there were four men from the Western Church and four from the Eastern Church who were considered doctors of the Church. St. Gregory the Great, St. Ambrose, St. Augustine, and St. Jerome were from the West and St. John Chrysostom, St. Basil, St. Gregory Nazianzen, and St. Athanasius were from the East.
Included among the early fathers and doctors is St. Cyril of Alexandria.
The times of the third and fourth centuries of Christianity were times of great turmoil and upheaval with many heresies promoted. In order to withstand the onslaught, the defenders of the true faith had to be stalwart and strong individuals.
There is no little amount of controversy surrounding the life of St. Cyril.
Born at the end of the fourth century in Alexandria, he was the nephew of Theophilus, the patriarch of that city. As such, Theophilus mentored the young man, seeing to his education beginning with grammar in his early years followed by rhetoric, and finally by the study of theology and philosophy. When Theophilus died in 412, Cyril was named to succeed him.
He did not come into the position easily. The Jews and Novatians and other Christians were in great conflict. In fact, there were some riots as a result of Cyril’s actions. In an effort to promote authentic Christianity at the time, he closed all the churches belonging to the Novatians and seized their sacred vessels.
The Novatians held that if someone was accused of idolatry, then he was condemned such that he was no longer open to salvation. This position goes against Church teaching that our sins can be forgiven if confessed to a priest.
St. Cyril also drove the Jews out of Alexandria, even though they had been tolerated since the time of Alexander the Great. His reasons for expelling them were based on their attempts to undermine the Christian followers and some acts of violence.
These actions did not sit well with the governor, Orestes, who then determined to oppose St. Cyril. However, the Emperor Theodosius gave his approval to what Cyril had done. Thus the power struggle between St. Cyril and the governor began and continued. Zealous supporters of St. Cyril began their own campaign to thwart false teachings. This led to some tragic results.
One of the great criticisms of St. Cyril was that he seemed to be the cause of much violence, including the murder of Hypatia. Although a pagan, she acted with wisdom, being a renowned teacher of philosophy with many followers. She was of noble character. So highly respected was she that a bishop as well as the governor sought her advice. Thinking that she was responsible for the enmity demonstrated by the governor to St. Cyril, a mob attacked her in 417 and murdered her. It was a crime that many deplored, including St. Cyril.
After this political upheaval came the heretical teachings of Nestorius. Although he may not have been the author of this heresy, he certainly was the main person responsible for propagating the false teachings. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 466: “The Nestorian heresy regarded Christ as a human person joined to the divine person of God’s Son. Opposing this heresy, St. Cyril of Alexandria and the third ecumenical council, at Ephesus in 431, confessed ‘that the Word, uniting to himself in his person the flesh animated by a rational soul, became man’.”
The conflict between those holding to the truth of the Incarnation of Christ and those following Nestorius became more and more heated. Eventually both Nestorius and St. Cyril appealed to Pope St. Celestine I in Rome. It was made very clear by the Pope that Nestorius was in error and that he must retract his erroneous teachings or be excommunicated from the Church.
To execute this pronouncement, the Pope assigned St. Cyril to carry out his orders.
St. Cyril then sent a document to Nestorius informing him that he must renounce his errors. There were 12 points that Nestorius was to confirm in keeping with the orthodox teachings of the Church or face excommunication. In addition, he was to make a public refutation of his errors. He remained obstinate, however, and refused to comply with the summons.
Next, they called for a third general council to be held in Ephesus in 431. Although he was present in Ephesus, Nestorius refused to attend. Those bishops following the teachings of the Incarnation remained with the Pope who chose St. Cyril as his representative. There were 200 bishops in attendance who sided with St. Cyril. They condemned the doctrines of Nestorius and issued a sentence of excommunication.
Six days later, Archbishop John of Antioch arrived with 41 bishops who sided with Nestorius, though they did not necessarily agree with his teachings. Rather than participate in the council, they held their own council and voted to remove St. Cyril from his position. When both sides appealed to the emperor, both Cyril and Nestorius were arrested and put in jail.
Soon a three-man delegation from the Pope arrived. After serious deliberation on the events, they found that Nestorius was in error, that Cyril had acted appropriately, and that Nestorius was to be excommunicated if he did not recant.
Despite this the bishops from Antioch remained against Cyril, in effect creating a schism. Thankfully, in 433, this schism ended when they made amends with St. Cyril and the Church. Nestorius, thus defeated, returned to his old monastery at Antioch and later resided in exile in the deserts of Egypt.
After this, St. Cyril spent his remaining days in Alexandria tending to the responsibilities of his office. He became known as a staunch defender of the faith, praised by Pope St. Celestine I as a “generous defender of the faith.” He died in 444. In 1882 he was declared a doctor of the Church. (Although his feast day is now celebrated in June, it had been celebrated on February 9.)
Not to be overlooked is his devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, the center, summit, and source of our faith. In his blunt way, Cyril defended the teachings of this great mystery as well. “I hear that they say that the sacramental consecration does not avail for hallowing if a portion of it be kept to another day. In saying so they are crazy. For Christ is not altered, nor will His holy body be changed; but the power of the consecration and the life-giving grace still remain in it.”
Dear St. Cyril, your love for Christ Incarnate was unequaled. By your intercession, help us to grow in love and zeal for the greater glory of God that we, too, may fearlessly defend the true teachings of the Church as handed on to us by Christ Himself. Amen.

+    +    +

(Carole Breslin home-schooled her four daughters and served as treasurer of the Michigan Catholic Home Educators for eight years. For over ten years, she was national coordinator for the Marian Catechists, founded by Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ.)

Share Button

Comment on this Article:

Untitled 3

Pope FrancisAn Open Letter To His Holiness Pope Francis      Given the controversy and confusion surrounding the 2014 Synod on the Family, the staff of The Wanderer and its supporters thought it appropriate to address Pope Francis with an open letter . . .

Promote the common good and give workers a raise, Catholic leaders tell Congress

Washington D.C., Jul 31, 2015 / 05:31 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Catholic leaders are calling on Congress to raise the minimum wage, for the good of low-wage workers and their families. “An economy thrives only when it is centered on the…Continue Reading

Catholic Colleges Must Regain the Art of Temperate Drinking, Says Author

July 30, 2015, at 2:40 PM  |  By Justin Petrisek  | Catholic colleges need to be mindful of the moral and spiritual state of their students, said Dr. Michael Foley, associate professor of patristics at Baylor University, in an interview…Continue Reading

Last Catholic priest at US base in Antarctica leaves post

A Catholic priest who served at the U.S.-operated McMurdo Station in Antarctica was told he will have to leave his post due to declining attendance and budget cuts. Father Dan Doyle, who lives in Christchurch, New Zealand, would spend summers…Continue Reading

Jamestown Excavation Unearths Four Bodies and a Possible Catholic Reliquary

Could a mysterious box unearthed in historic Jamestown, Virginia, the first permanent English settlement in North America, point to a Catholic connection with the foundation of the United States of America? While Spanish and Portuguese exploration, settlement and conquest of…Continue Reading

Catholic officials, others react to Boy Scouts’ decision to allow openly gay leaders

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The top leaders of the National Catholic Committee on Scouting have made an uneasy peace with the Boy Scouts of America’s decision July 27 to allow openly gay troop leaders and employees to serve in their ranks…Continue Reading

The Remnant REALLY? . . . Is This How We Support Fellow Catholics Battling A Cause We Should All Be Behind?

Planned Parenthood Hires PR Firm to Run Damage Control After It’s Exposed Selling Aborted Babies

The Planed Parenthood abortion business is so desperate to put out the public relations fires that have developed in the wake of it being caught numerous times selling the body parts of aborted babies that it has hired a top…Continue Reading

More than Half of Young Catholic Families Are Latino Despite Recent Decline

More than half of young Catholic families (53 percent) identify themselves as Latino or Hispanic compared with 32 percent of all Catholics, according to a recent survey. Could the presence of Hispanic families in the Catholic Church indicate Latino congregational…Continue Reading

New York Catholic churches closing after decades of service

Parishioners in New York are losing their churches as the Catholic Archdiocese carries out an aggressive consolidation plan. The cuts are driven by declining membership, fiscal insolvency of churches, and fewer priests, according to church officials. While there are 2.8…Continue Reading

Kenyan President to Obama: You Will not Impose The ‘Gay Rights’ Agenda In Kenya

We need to speak frankly about these things” says President Kenyatta in response to Obama’s statement that Kenya must share the same values as the United States on sodomite rights issues. Kenyatta, at the press conference this morning in Kenya,…Continue Reading

Nancy Pelosi: Ignore Planned Parenthood Selling Aborted Babies, Investigate Pro-Lifers

nancyp

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi has no interest in digging deeper into the revelations that the Planned Parenthood abortion business is selling the body part of aborted babies Instead, she wants the Obama administration to investigate the pro-life activists who…Continue Reading

Carly Fiorina to Planned Parenthood: You Deny Ultrasounds to Show Women Life Within Them, but Use Ultrasounds to Preserve Organs of Their Dead Babies

Newsmax

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our new website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for over 145 years in our weekly print edition. Now we are introducing the online daily version of our print journal.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 145 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

A Powerful Weapon: 15 Quotes on the Holy Rosary

We live in evil times. I hardly need elaborate the multitude of crises that fill the globe. Sadly, many are being swept away by this flood of evil and are succumbing to an overwhelming anxiety and discouragement. But no matter how tempting it is, we must not shrink back. We must pray and fast with a living faith and a firm confidence—and there is no better way to…Continue Reading

12 Ways to Become a Committed Catholic Man

There is a Catholic “man-crisis.” Large numbers of men who were baptized Catholic have left the Church and the majority of those who remain are “Casual Catholic Men”, men who do not know the Catholic faith and don’t practice it. This large-scale failure of Catholic men to commit themselves to Jesus Christ and His Church has contributed to the accelerating…Continue Reading

Today . . .

Canada’s Bishops Urge Faithful to Respond to Government Consultation on Euthanasia

Canada, July 31, 2015 (ZENIT.org) Staff Reporter Canada’s bishops are calling on the faithful to respond to a government consultation on euthanasia. Earlier this month (July 17), the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Peter MacKay, and Minister of Health, Rona Ambrose, announced the establishment of an External Panel of experts who will consult with stakeholders and with all Canadians on options for dealing with the Supreme Court of Canada’s lifting of the prohibition…Continue Reading

US Bishops Respond to Planned Parenthood Videos

Washington, D.C., July 30, 2015 (ZENIT.org) Kathleen Naab The Center for Medical Progress released today its fourth video exposing Planned Parenthood’s use of fetal tissue, with the results of its investigation attracting growing national and international attention. On Wednesday, the chairman of the US bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities released a brief statement about the videos. Cardinal Seán O’Malley, archbishop of Boston, cited Pope Francis’ teaching on abortion and said that the heart of the…Continue Reading

BREAKING: Court blocks pro-life group from releasing some new fetal part footage

July 29, 15 (LifeSiteNews) – The California Superior Court has issued a narrow temporary restraining order preventing the Center for Medical Progress (CMP), a pro-life group, from releasing further undercover video footage taken of three top-level staff of StemExpress. CMP is the organization behind the series of three videos released over the past three weeks exposing the alleged harvesting and sale of body parts from aborted babies by Planned Parenthood – body parts that are…Continue Reading

4th video shows Planned Parenthood director negotiating fetal body parts

July 30, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Workers in a lab are seen sorting through body parts on a dish: a heart, stomach, kidney, and legs. And then a medical assistant suddenly announces: “It’s another boy!” This is just a little of the macabre and heart-wrenching footage in the newest undercover video showing alleged harvesting and sale of body parts from aborted babies by Planned Parenthood, released Thursday morning. The newest video also shows a Planned Parenthood…Continue Reading

Hillary Lies Again

By ANDREW P. NAPOLITANO In a column I wrote in early July, based on research by my colleagues and my own analysis of government documents and eyewitness statements, I argued that in 2011 and 2012 then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton waged a secret war on the governments of Libya and Syria, with the approval of…Continue Reading

A Book Review . . . An Excellent Guide To Answering Anti-Catholic Attacks

By DONAL ANTHONY FOLEY Five Anti-Catholic Myths: Slavery, Crusades, Inquisition, Galileo, Holocaust by Gerard M. Verschuuren (Angelico Press: 2015; 181 pages, $16.95 print edition). Available at http://angelicopress.com/. In this book the author sets out to investigate just how it has come about that anti-Catholic myths about particular topics have managed to become so deeply embedded…Continue Reading

Culture Of Life 101 . . . “Homosexuality And The Church Crisis”

By BRIAN CLOWES Part 2 (Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995. For electronic copies of previous articles on homosexual “marriage,” the special rights agenda and the role of homosexuality in the Church crisis, e-mail him at bclowes@hli.org.) + + + “Facts are stubborn things,…Continue Reading

Defend The Little Sisters Of The Poor — And American Liberty

By TERENCE P. JEFFREY (Editor’s Note: Terence P. Jeffrey is the editor-in-chief of CNSnews.com. Creators Syndicate distributes his column. All rights reserved.) + + + No group in the United States today is making a stronger stand for liberty than the Little Sisters of the Poor, an order of Catholic nuns dedicated to running nursing…Continue Reading

Aggressive Obama, Passive National GOP . . . Is Third-Party Option Starting To Look Better?

By DEXTER DUGGAN House Speaker John Boehner said the recently released sting video of a national Planned Parenthood official at lunch, munching away and chatting about how to “crush” unborn babies to harvest their organs for money, was “disgusting.” Republican Boehner finally seemed to have found his voice in a Washington where he usually blends…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

The Four Marks Of The Church — Catholicity

By DON FIER Part 4 “The Church is catholic,” proclaims the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), firmly and without hesitation. “She proclaims the fullness of the faith. She bears in herself and administers the totality of the means of salvation. She is sent out to all peoples. She speaks to all men. She encompasses all times” (n. 868). Moreover,…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: In the wake of the latest Planned Parenthood scandal involving selling the body parts of aborted babies (see LifeNews.com to view the videos of interviews with Planned Parenthood officials), this is an opportune time to contact not only your legislators about ending taxpayer funding of this conglomerate that kills more than 330,000 babies a year, but also to…Continue Reading

Our Journey Through The Desert

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Nineteenth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR B) Readings: 1 Kings 19:4-8 Eph. 4:30-5:2 John 6:41-51 In the second reading today St. Paul instructs us to do nothing that will grieve the Holy Spirit. In his brief list of offenses that would grieve the Holy Spirit, St. Paul includes bitterness, fury, anger, reviling, shouting, and all malice.…Continue Reading

Obergefell V. Hodges . . . “To Sin By Silence . . . Makes Cowards Of Men”

By FR. PETER MITCHELL (Editor’s Note: Fr. Peter Mitchell is the pastor of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception in Greenville, Wis. He gave this homily on the 13th Sunday of Ordinary Time, June 28 — two days after the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its decision in Obergefell v. Hodges.) + + + “To sin by silence when they…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World . . . Like Love, Assent To Faith Is A Matter Of The Will

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK Reaction to my column last week titled “Where Is There Room to Disagree With Jesus? In Hell!” included the following note from a Facebook follower. Kim wrote, “Perhaps the question posed to you was not worded correctly. How about this onea. . . . Is there a line where Catholic teachings are not something Catholics…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Martha

By CAROLE BRESLIN A popular pilgrimage among the Catholics of southern France takes visitors to the Grotte de la Sainte-Baume, located in the hills of Provence about 20 miles east of the port of Marseilles. To reach this holy site, the driver must cover miles of winding, ascending roads to the foot of the mountain. Then the pilgrim ascends a…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Bridget

By CAROLE BRESLIN One of St. Teresa of Calcutta’s most quoted sayings would fit with this column’s saint, “God hasn’t called me to be successful. He has called me to be faithful.” What encouraging words for anyone seeking to do God’s will, knowing that the cross, the setbacks, and the obstacles are all part of working for the Kingdom of…Continue Reading