Cyril of Alexandria

Life and Character.

Archbishop of Alexandria; d. there June 27, 444. His early life is known only from notices in Socrates and a few elsewhere. He was a nephew of the archbishop Theophilus, whom he accompanied in 403 to Constantinople to attend the synod Ad Quermm (see Chrysostom, 4). When the uncle died, Oct. 15, 412, Cyril succeeded him in his see. The government was not pleased with this choice. It feared, not without reason, that the new bishop would show too much independence; and, indeed, on every occasion Cyril proved that he was master in Alexandria. He closed the churches of the Novatians, expelled the Jews from the city in spite of the opposition of the prefect Orestes, and when soon afterward Nitrian monks insulted the prefect in the open street, he praised their leader as a martyr. He did not order the murder of Hypatia (q.v.), but his lector and the parabolani, who were guilty of it, were well aware that the female philosopher was an eyesore to the archbishop. His restless, violent conduct, which excited the masses, seems to have hurt him at the court. Theodosius II. as well as Pulcheria listened to him rather than to the prefect. For the rest of the archbishop's life, which is closely connected with the dogmatic controversies of the times, see Nestorius. From the very beginning Cyril opposed Nestorius. It was the climax in his life when the emperor confirmed the deposition of his opponent which he had decreed at the Synod in Ephesus in 431, whereas he retained his office, though the Syrian bishops had declared him also deposed. His administration shows the Alexandrian bishops at the height of their power and influence, from which they were thrown by the pretentious but short-sighted and incapable Dioscurus (see Eutychianism; Monophysites). Among the Greeks Cyril is commemorated on June 9, among the Latins on Jan. 28. Leo XIII. promoted him in 1883 to the rank of doctor ecclesioe.

Literary Activities.

In general Cyril's literary activity was in the dogmatic and exegetical field. In his homilies and epistles dogmatic subjects are often touched upon. As an apologist Cyril became famous by his refutation of the attack of the emperor Julian upon Christianity, in thirty books, of which only the first ten are extant entire, eleven to twenty in fragments. The dogmatico-polemical literary activity of the archbishop was very comprehensive. At the head stand the writings on the doctrine of the Trinity composed before the Christological controversy. The controversy itself caused a large number of treatises against Nestorianism. The results of the exegetical labor of the patriarch are contained in the seventeen books "On Worship in Spirit and in Truth," in the thirteen books of "Elegant Expositions" on the Pentateuch, as well as in numerous commentaries on the Old and New Testaments. The typico-allegorical interpretation, characteristic of the Alexandrian school in opposition to the Antiochian school, is very prominent in Cyril's exegesis. The most important work in that direction is the comprehensive commentary on the Gospel of John.

Significance for Doctrine.

As regards his teaching, Cyril not unjustly bears the title of "Seal of the Fathers," as the one who finally fixed the true doctrine of the Trinity. Great as is his glory in that direction, the question has often been raised whether his Christology does not contain traces of a relationship with Apollinarianism, which he himself opposed from conviction (see Apollinaris of Laodicea). At any rate, his Christology approaches very near the limit which separates orthodoxy from Monophysitism. It rests on the suppositions of the older Alexandrians (Athanasius) and the Cappadocians by which they knew


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in rather a popular than a scientific manner, full of a warm pastoral love and care for the catechumens to whom they were delivered. Each lecture is based upon a text of Scripture, and there is an abundance of Scriptural quotation throughout. After a general introduction, eighteen lectures follow for the competentes, and the remaining five are addressed to the newly baptized, in preparation for the reception of the communion. Parallel with the exposition of the creed as it was then received in the church of Jerusalem are vigorous polemics against pagan, Jewish, and heretical errors. They are of great importance for the light which they throw on the method of instruction usual in that age, as well as upon the liturgical practises of the period, of which they give the fullest account extant.


BIBLIOGRAPHY: The Opera of Cyril were edited by A. A. Touttee, Paris, 1720, in MPG, xxxiii., and by G. C. Reischl and J. Rupp, 2 vols., Munich, 1848-60. A translation of selected works is in NPNF, 2d series, vii. 1-183, with valuable introduction. The "Catechetical Lectures" were translated for the Library of the Fathers, Oxford, 1838. Five Lectures on the Mysteries, in Greek and Eng. and Lat. and Eng., ed. H. de Romestin, appeared, Oxford, 1887.. Sources for a life are in Socrates, Hist. eccl., ii. 28, 40; Sozomen, Hist eccl., iv. 25 (both in NPNF, 2d series, vol. ii.). Consult: ASB, March, ii. 625-633; G. Delacroix, S. Cyrille de Jerusalem, sa vie et ses auvres, Paris, 1865; J. Mader, Der heilige Cyrillus . . in seineun Leben und seinen Schriften, Einsiedeln, 1891; Schaff, Christian Church, iii. 923-925.


Early Life ( 1).
Patriarch of Alexandria and Constantinople ( 2).
Efforts for Protestantism ( 3).

1. Early Life.

Cyril Lucar (Gk. Kyrillos Loukaris), patriarch of Constantinople 1620-38, was born at Candia, Crete, Nov. 13, 1572; d. at Constantinople June 26, 1638. After studying in his native island, he went to Venice and Padua, where he doubtless heard Cremonini and Piccolomini, and came under the influence of Maximos Margunios, whom he had met while living in Crete as a monk, and who was an enthusiastic advocate of the union of the Greek and Roman Churches. Through Margunios, Cyril became acquainted with such Western scholars as David Hoschel and Friedrich Sylburg, yet he never came wholly under the sway of Occidental views. His training was philosophical and logical, rather than theological. He completed his studies 1594, and in May, 1595, was syncellus at the court of Meletios Pegas, patriarch of Alexandria. From 1595 to 1602 he resided abroad, and in 1596 was rector of the Russian academy at Vilna. During this period he took part in the numerous conferences for union in Poland and Lithuania as the representative of the patriarch of Alexandria, but the statement that he visited Geneva and Wittenberg, and for a sum of money embraced Protestantism, is apocryphal, as is his alleged acceptance of Roman Catholicism.

2. Patriarch of Alexandria and Constantinople.

Meletios Pegas died at latest a few months before May, 1602, and with Cyril's appointment as his successor the first period of the letter's life closes. As yet there was no trace of Protestant influence. The second part of Cyril's career is marked by a gradual break with Roman Catholicism and an approximation to Protestantism, together with an ever-increasing desire to reform his own Church. He was energetic in his administration and did not shrink from a conflict with the ecumenical patriarchs. During his frequent tours he preached many sermons, but unfortunately few of them are accessible, although a large number are extant in the manuscripts of the library of the priory of the Holy Sepulcher at Constantinople. According to his own statement, he became a convert to Protestant doctrines after three years of study, but the exact date is uncertain. In 1611 he was characterized by an English traveler as "a friend of the Reformed Church," and two years later, shortly after declining the ecumenical patriarchate because he was unwilling to pay the price demanded for it, he was obliged publicly to defend himself against the charge of Lutheranism (June 4, 1613). It is not improbable, therefore, that this was the period of his conversion, especially as he was then receiving Protestant books, and made special mention of one by Arminius, with whose teachings he expressed much sympathy, especially with regard to the doctrine of the Holy Ghost, baptism, and the Eucharist; he avoided the tenets on free will, justification by faith, and predestination. On the other hand, his correspondence with the Dutch statesman David Le Leu de Wilhem shows his lack of knowledge of the principles of the Reformation, an ignorance doubtless due in great measure to the fact that hitherto he had been practically restricted to the writings of the Arminians. His hopes of reform within the Greek Church had now been abandoned. To this same period belong several brief polemics against, the Roman Catholics, one of which is interesting as showing that Cyril sought to appeal solely to the Bible in defense of his position. As patriarch of Alexandria, moreover, he published a "Pragmatic Compend against the Jews" (Constantinople, 1627). On Nov, 4, 1620; he became patriarch of Constantinople, and in this position was still more courted by the Protestant powers, especially the Dutch, while Jesuit dislike of him increased. In 1623 he was banished for the first time, though not until after his official status had obliged him to canonize Gerasius the Younger in 1622. It should also be noted that he set up in Constantinople the press imported from England by Nikodenaos Metaxas about 1527, but it was destroyed by the Turks.

3. Efforts for Protestantism

The third period of Cyril's life began with the arrival of the Calvinistic Antoine Leger of Piedmont, who was sent by the clergy of Geneva in 1628. At that time the patriarch seems to have felt the need of strengthening his position with the Protestants. As early as 1616 he had entered into correspondence with George Abbot, archbishop of Canterbury, and later sent him the famous Codex Alexandrinus, possibly as a means of gaining English sympathy. Instead of contenting himself with giving instruction to Cyril


and his clergy and waiting for the Reformed tenets to be introduced among the people by their own priests, Leger undertook an immediate Calvinistic propaganda. Within a year after his arrival he urged that the Bible be translated into the vernacular, and it accordingly appeared at Geneva in 1638, the Romaic version being prepared by Maximos Kalliupolites with the assistance of Cyril. Leger likewise advocated the establishment of schools (which soon decayed) and proposed the preparation of a catechism, although it is unknown whether this was done. In 1629 Cyril published at Constantinople his famous "Confession of the Christian Faith" (Eng. transl., London, 1629), which is essentially Calvinistic, but approximates as closely as possible the language and creed of the Greek Church. The reception accorded the confession in Constantinople is unknown, although in 1636 Meletios Pantogallos, archbishop of Ephesus, wrote in its defense. On the other hand, it evidently roused much opposition and, despite the fact that the majority did not understand it, its author and his adherents were branded as heretics. A synod also examined the work, but failed to condemn the patriarch, whereupon his opponents summoned Georgios Koressios to Constantinople to dispute with Leger, and the Swiss theologian left the city in 1636. Cyril had long been surrounded by opposition and had been repeatedly banished and as often recalled. On the eve of an expedition of the Sultan Murad against the Persians he was accused of attempting to rouse the Cossacks, and the Sultan accordingly had him strangled and thrown into the sea. His friends found the body and buried it far from Constantinople, where it remained many years before it could be brought back to the capital.

That the Protestant movement did not end with the death of Cyril is shown by the synods held at Constantinople (1638), Jassy (1642), Jerusalem (1672), and again at Constantinople (1691). It is also evident that the Reformed tendency found a large number of sympathisers, although Cyril's successors were not in harmony with his views. Meletios Pantogallos, the archbishop of Ephesus mentioned above, on the other hand, was driven from Constantinople and forced to take refuge in Holland. The patriarch Neophytos III. of Constantinople, in like manner, was an adherent of Cyril, as were Sophronios, metropolitan of Athens, and the patriarchs Parthenios the Younger and Theophanes of Jerusalem. Among the monks and minor clergy Cyril's followers were numerous, including Maximos Kalliupolites, the translator of the Bible; Nathanael Konopios, who went to Oxford after the death of Cyril and prepared a Greek version of Calvin's "Institutes"; Acbatios of Cephallenia; Nikodemos Metaxas; Eugenios Aitolos; and, above all, the Calvinist Johannes Karyophylles, as well as a number of minor characters.


BIBLIOGRAPHY: The sources are (1) the correspondence collected in E. Legrand, Bibliographic Hellenique, 4 vols., Paris, 1894-98 (of the first importance); (2) T. Smith, An Account of the (freak Church . . under CUrillus Lukaria, London, 1880; idem, Miscellanea, ib. 1890; idem, Coliadanea do CyriUo Lucario, ib. 1707 (contains A. Leger's Fyagmvita, C. Luoarii); (3) J. Aymon, 3fonumens authenbiquts de la religion des (irate, The Hague, 1708. Consult: A. Pichler, Der Patriarch Luraria and seine Zest, Munich, 1882; A. Mettetal. Etudes hiatoriquea our . . Cyrille Lucar, Paris, 1889; KL, ii. 718, iii. 455, 1021, iv. 1380, v. 1261, vi. 1359-80.


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