Saint Cyril of Alexandria (c.376-444)
for June 27
Saint Cyril of Alexandria was born around 376 in Egypt. His uncle was the powerful Patriarch of Alexandria. Cyril received an unparalleled education in grammar, rhetoric and theology. After his uncle's death, Cyril became the Patriarch, or Pope, of Alexandria, despite protests from some Christian groups. Cyril is known for his tireless defense of Christian orthodoxy, as well as the morally expedient and arguably unjustifiable means by which he asserted Christian orthodoxy. He plundered and shut down churches adhering to the so-called Novatian heresy, illegally stole Jewish property and fomented anti-Semitic sentiments, and expelled the Jewish population from Alexandria as a reprisal for their attacks on Christians. Some historians believe Cyril to be intricately connected to various violent plots and Christian uprisings in Alexandria. He is admired for his defense of Jesus' divinity and humanity in the face of the heresy of Nestorius, which taught that Jesus was solely divine and not human. At the Council of Ephesus, Cyril represented the Pope and fiercely argued against the Nestorian heresy. Cyril was then arrested and imprisoned for three months before returning to Alexandria.
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Saint Cyril of Alexandria was a manipulative bishop who sometimes adopted methods of questionable morality to accomplish his goals. He is, nonetheless, a saint. His sainthood does not suggest that saints are actually unimpressive humans; rather, it suggests that even saints are not perfect and are guilty of many wrongs. Despite Saint Cyril's many shortcomings, he was intensely devoted to God and the Church. He strove unceasingly to ensure that correct Christian teachings were adopted by all. When you recognize areas of your life where you need work, do not forget the many areas in which you are excelling.
Dear Jesus, help me to recognize that I can be a great Christian in spite of my failings.