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The Liturgical Calendar: The Church Remembers

Today the church remembers Cyril, Bishop of Jerusalem, 386.

When famine hit the vicinity of Jerusalem, Cyril, the bishop, promptly sold some of the church's most prized possessions to relieve the poor and to obtain food for the starving. When the famine was over, some angry church members succeeded in having Cyril condemned at a public meeting as an irresponsible thief who had illegally disposed of church property. They temporarily drove him out of the city. Although Cyril was a gentle and conciliatory man, this event was typical of the bitter controversy that wracked his episcopate.

Scarcely had he regained his diocese before he was again expelled, this time by Arian heretics who had great power in Jerusalem. He was restored to the Jerusalem bishophric again by none other than the infamous Emperor Julian, the Apostate. Due to this rather coincidental fact, Cyril had difficulty regaining the confidence of the other orthodox bishops of the church. Furthermore, the Jerusalem Church had become notorious throughout the Christian world for its low moral standards. This situation Cyril attempted to correct, but his enemies blamed him for it.

Cyril's greatest talents seem to have been as a teacher and preacher. Very little of his thought was ever written down, but what we have is most impressive and timely even today.

Loving and forgiving God, give us strength to persevere in the faith. Amen.

Read the Wikipedia article here.

Strengthen, O Lord, the bishops of your Church in their special calling to be teachers and ministers of the Sacraments, so that they, like your servant Cyril of Jerusalem, may effectively instruct your people in Christian faith and practice; and that we, taught by them, may enter more fully into the celebration of the Paschal mystery; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

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