Cyril of Jerusalem

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Cyril of Jerusalem (313AD – 386AD) was appointed bishop of Jerusalem around the end of 350AD.  Very little is known about his life prior to his appointment.  However it is known that he was ordained in 335AD by Macarius of Jerusalem and was ordained as priest 8 years later by Bishop St Maximus.

He was deposed at least once during his appointment largely on political grounds rather than on questionable theology.  Though he is highly regarded today as one of the doctors of the church fathers, he was in a constant battle against those who were Arian or semi-arian.  There is some suggestion that it may have taken some time for him to accept the non-biblical term homoousios but voted in favour of it at the Council of Constantinople in 351AD.   By this time, it is believed he realised there was no better alternative to this word to describe the relationship of the Son to the Father.

Such was the hostility from the Arians that he was even summoned to appear before the emperor to explain himself.  He refused to appear.  On other occasions, he appealed to the emperor to intervene in disputes where his opponents refused to appear.  There was a lot of political gymnastics with frivolous trumped up charges were made to try and discredit Cyril.

Cyril was renown for his love and pastoral care in his writings expressing the love and forgiveness of God uncommon to this period.  He emphasised the love and kindness of God expressed in Jesus Christ as a means of helping those to turn from darkness to Light.  Though he was treated harshly by his opponents, very little is found in the way of harsh retaliation in return.

The following writings below us are lessons undertaken by Cyril in the basic principles of the Christian faith.  People had to show their worthiness to become part of the Christian community.  They had to partake in intensive teaching which could take several weeks leading up to Easter.  Once they had satisfactorily completed their education, the candidates would recite the Creed as well as undertake many other rites such as special prayers and exorcisms.  It can be likened to the modern version of the Alpha Course where it explains to those interested in Christianity what the fundamental teachings are all about.

Each of the lectures/letters can be viewed internally or can be downloaded as a PDF.

Translated by Philip Schaff

Prologue to the Catechetical Lectures of our Holy Father (PDF) (Latin/Greek)

Lecture 1: On Repentance and Remission of Sins, and concerning the Adversary (PDF) (Latin/Greek)

Lecture 2: On Baptism (PDF) (Latin/Greek)

Lecture 3: On the Ten Points of Doctrine (PDF) (Latin/Greek)

Lecture 4: Of Faith (PDF) (Latin/Greek)

Lecture 5: On the Unity of God, On the Article, I believe in One God, Also Concerning Heresies (PDF) (Latin/Greek)

Lecture 6: The Father (PDF) (Latin/Greek)

Lecture 7: Almighty (PDF) (Latin/Greek)

Lecture 8: On the Words, Maker of Heaven and Earth, and of All Things Visible and Invisible. (PDF) (Latin/Greek)

Lecture 9: On the Clause, and in One Lord Jesus Christ, with a Reading from the First Epistle to the Corinthians (PDF) (Latin/Greek)

Lecture 10:On the Words, the Only-Begotten Son of God, Begotten of the Father Very God Before All Ages, by Whom All Things Were Made. (PDF) (Latin/Greek)

Lecture 11: On the words Incarnate, and Made Man (PDF) (Latin/Greek)

Lecture 12: On the words, Crucified and Buried (PDF) (Latin/Greek)

Lecture 13: On the Words, And Rose Again from the Dead on the Third Day, and Ascended into the Heavens, and Sat on the Right Hand of the Father. (PDF) (Latin/Greek)

Lecture 14: On the Clause, And Shall Come in Glory to Judge the Quick and the Dead; Of Whose Kingdom There Shall Be No End (PDF) (Latin/Greek)

Lecture 15: On the Article, And in One Holy Ghost, the Comforter, Which Spake in the Prophets. (PDF) (Latin/Greek)

Lecture 16: Continuation of the Discourse on the Holy Ghost. (PDF) (Latin/Greek)

Lecture 17: On the Words, And in One Holy Catholic Church, and in the Resurrection of the Flesh, and the Life Everlasting. (PDF) (Latin/Greek)

Lectures 18-22: To the Newly Baptised. (PDF) (Latin/Greek)