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S. CYRIL, the author of the Catechetical Lectures which follow, was born in an age ill adapted for the comfort or satisfaction of persons distinguished by his peculiar character of mind, and in consequence did not receive that justice from contemporaries which the Church Catholic has since rendered to his memory. The Churches of Palestine, apparently his native country, were the first to give reception to Arius on his expulsion from Alexandria, and without adopting his heresy, affected to mediate and hold the balance between him nd his accusers. They were followed in this line of conduct by the provinces of Syria and Asia Minor, till the whole of the East, as far as it was Grecian, became more or less a large party, enduring to be headed by men who went the whole length of Arianism, from a fear of being considered Alexandrians or Athanasians, and a notion, for one reason or other, that it was thus pursuing a moderate course, and avoiding extremes. What were the motives which led to this perverted view of its duty to Catholic truth, then so seriously endangered, and what the palliations in the case of individuals, need not be minutely considered here. Suffice it to say, that between the Churches of Asia and the metropolis of Egypt there had been distinctions, not to say differences and jealousies of long standing; to which was added this great and real difficulty, that a Council held at Antioch about sixty years before had condemned the very term, Homoüsion, which was the symbol received at Nicæa, and maintained by the Alexandrians. The latter were in close agreement with the
Latin Church, especially with Rome; and thus two great confederacies, as they may be called, were matured at this distressing era, which outlived the controversy forming them, the Roman, including the West and Egypt, and the Asiatic, extending from Constantinople to Jerusalem. Of the Roman party, viewed at and after the Arian period, were Alexander, Athanasius, Eustathius, Marcellus, Julius, Ambrose, and Jerome ; of the Asiatic, Eusebius of Cæsarea, Cyril, Meletius, Eusebius of Samosata, Basil of Cæsarea (the Great), Basil of Ancyra, Eustathius of Sebaste, and Flavian. Of the latter, some were Semi-arian ; of the former, one at least was Sabellian ; while the majority of both were, to say the least, strictly orthodox ; some of the latter indeed acquiescing with more or less of cordiality in the expediency of adopting the important Symbol of the Nicene Council, but others, it need scarcely be said, on both sides, being pillars of the Church in their day, as they have been her lights since. Such was the general position of the Church ; and it is only confessing that the early Bishops and Divines were men“of like passions with” ourselves, to add, that some of them sometimes misunderstood or were prejudiced against others, and have left on record reports, for the truth of which they trusted perhaps too much to their antecedent persuasions, or the representations of their own friends. When Arianism ceased to be supported by the civil power, the controversy between East and West died; and peace was easily effected. And the terms of effecting it were these:--the reception of the Homoüsion by the Asiatics, and on that reception their recognition, in spite of their past scruples, by the Alexandrians and Latins. In this sketch the main outlines of S. Cyril's history will be found to be contained ; he seems to have been afraid of the term Homoüsiono, to have been disinclined both to the friends of Athanasius and to the Arians', to have allowed the tyranny of the latter, to have shared in the general reconciliation, and at length both in life and death to have received honours from the
a v. Bened. note iv. 7. xvi. 23. 6 Lect. iv. 8. xi. 12, 16, 17. xv. 9.
Church, which, in spite of whatever objections may be made to them, appear, on a closer examination of his history, not to be undeserved.
Cyril is said to have been the son of Christian parents, but the date and place of his birth is unknown. He was born in the first years of the fourth century, and at least was brought up in Jerusalem. He was ordained Deacon probably by Macarius, and Priest by Maximus, the Bishops of Jerusalem, the latter of whom he succeeded A. D. 349, or 350. Shortly before this, (A. D. 347, or 348,) during his Priesthood, he had delivered the Catechetical Lectures which have come down to us.
With his Episcopate commence the historical difficulties under which his memory labours. It can scarcely be doubted that one of his consecrators was Acacius of Cæsarea", the leader of Arianism in the East, who had just before (A. D. 347,) been deposed by the Council of Sardica; yet, as the after history shews, Cyril was no friend of the Arians or of Acacius". He was canonically consecrated by the Bishops of his province, and as Acacius was still in possession of the principal see, he was compelled to a recognition which he might have wished to dispense with. He seems to have been a lover of
the Council of Sardica was at first as little acknowledged by his own party as by the Arians; and Acacius, being even beyond other Arians skilful and subtle in argument, and admitting the special formulae of Cyril on the doctrine in controversy, probably succeeded in disguising his heresy from him.
A more painful account, however, of his consecration is given by S. Jerome', supported in the main by other writers, which can only be explained by supposing that Father to be misled by the information or involved in the prejudices of Cyril's enemies. He relates, that upon Maximus's death, the
c v. Diss. Bened. p. xviii sq.
ture iv. 7. xi. 4, 9, 18. d Theod. i. 26.
f Jer. Chron. Socr. ii. 38. Sozom. e The xarà rárta őpotov. vid. Lec- iv, 20.
Arians seized upon the Church of Jerusalem, and promised Cyril the see on condition of his renouncing the ordination he had received from Maximus, and submitting to re-ordination from their hands; that he assented, served in the Church as a mere Deacon, and was then raised by Acacius to the Episcopate, when he persecuted Heraclius, whom Maximus had consecrated as his successor. This account, incredible in itself, is contradicted, on the one hand, by the second General Council, which in its Synodal letter plainly states that he had been “ canonically ordained” Bishop, and on the other by his own writings, which as plainly shew, that in doctrine he was in no respect an Arian or an Arianizer.
If he suffers in memory from the Latin party as if Arian, he suffered not less in his life from the Arians as being orthodox. Seven or eight years after his consecration, he had a dispute with Acacius about the rights of their respective Churchess. Acacius in consequence accused him to the Emperor Constantius of holding with the orthodox; to which it was added that he had during a scarcity sold some offerings made by Constantine to his Church, to supply the wants of the poor. Cyril in consequence was deposed, and retired to Tarsus"; where, in spite of the efforts of Acacius, he was hospitably received, and employed by Silvanus the Semi-arian Bishop of the place. We find him at the same time in friendship with Eustathius of Sebaste and Basil of Ancyra, both Semi-arians'. His own writings, however, as has already been intimated, are most exactly orthodox, though he does not in the Catechetical Lectures use the word Homoüsion; and in associating with these men he went little further than S. Hilaryk, during his banishment in Asia Minor, who calls Basil and Eustathius “ most holy men,” than S. Athanasius, who acknowledges as “ brethren" those who but scrupled at the word Homoüsion',
& Socrat. ii. 40. Sozom. iv. 25. Theod. ii. 27.
h Theodor. ii. 26.
k Hilar. de Synod. 77, 88. &c. v. fragm. II. 4. (Ed. Ben. Cyr. p. lx. D.)
s Athan. de Synod. 41.
or than S. Basil of Cæsarea, who till a late period of his life was an intimate friend of Eustathius.
In A. D. 359, two years after his deposition, he successfully appealed against Acacius to the Council of Seleucia", one of the two branches of the great Council of East and West, which was convened under the patronage of Constantius to settle the troubles of the Christian world. But the next year, Acacius contriving to bring the matter before a Council at Constantinople, where the Emperor was staying, Cyril with his friends was a second time deposed, and banished from Palestine".
On Constantius's death all the banished Bishops were restored', and Cyril, who was at that time with Meletius of Antioch, returned to Jerusalem, A. D. 362. He was there at the time of Julian's attempt to rebuild the Temple P, and from the Prophecies boldly foretold its failure.
He was once more driven from his see, during the reign of the Arian Valens', (A.D. 367,) and he remained dispossessed till A. D. 378.
About the time of the death of Valens, the last of the Arian princes, he was restored, but under what circumstances is unknown. The Arians fell once for all with their imperial protectors; and soon after, that union of Christian Churches took place, which would never have been interrupted, had not a few bold and subtle-minded men contrived to delude them into the belief of mutual differences. S. Athanasius, the great peace-maker of the Church, was gone to his rest; and S. Basil also, who had mourned over evils which he had no means of remedying. Gregory of Nyssa, the brother of the latter, Gregory of Nazianzum, Meletius of Antioch, remained; and were present together with Cyril in the second General Council', which formally restored the latter to his see, and in
m v. Dissert. 1. Ed. Bened. p. lvi. F. 9 Sozom. iv. 30. Jerom. Catal. Script.
n Sozom. iv. 25. Philostorg. iv. 12. Eccles. 112. v.l.
r Socrat. v. 8. Sozom. vii. 7. v. Dis. o Sozom, v. 5.
sert. Bened. p. lxxxii. P Socrat. iii. 20. Ruffin, i. 37.