Cyril (ST.) (Κύριλλος), of Jerusalem, is supposed to have been born in that city about A.D. 315. He was ordained deacon by Macarius about 335, and priest by the patriarch Maximus about 345. On the death of Maximus, Cyril was chosen to succeed him (A.D. 350). A luminous appearance in the heavens, called the "Apparition of the Cross," is said to have marked the beginning of his episcopate (Socrates, Hist. Eccl. 2:28). He soon became involved in disputes with the Arian Acacius, bishop of Caesarea, who commenced a persecution against him, which terminated in his deposition by a council in 357. He was restored to his see, but was deposed a second time by the Arian Council of Constantinople in 360. On the accession of Julian, Cyril returned to his bishopric, but was expelled a third time (A.D. 367). Finally, under Theodosius, he was restored by the Council of Constantinople in 381, and died, cleared of all charges against his orthodoxy, May, 386. "An incident noticed by all the biographers of St. Cyril is the celebrated attempt and failure of the emperor Julian to rebuild the temple of the Jews at Jerusalem, ostensibly for the purpose of promoting their religion, but really with the sinister view of falsifying the prophecies respecting its irreparable destruction" (see Gregory Nazian. Orat. 4 advers. Julian; Theodoret, Socrates, Philostorgius, Sozomen, and bishop Warburton's Dissertation on the subject, p. 88).
"The extant writings of St. Cyril are in the Greek language, and consist of eighteen books of Catecheses, or sermons, delivered during Lent to the catechumens (called before baptism Illuminati); five similar discourses delivered during Easter week to the neophytes after baptism, called Mystagogic, being explanatory of the mysteries of the Christian sacraments; a treatise on words, and the letter to Constantius, besides which several homilies and epistles are sometimes improperly included. Rivetus (lib. in, c. 8, 9, 10, De Cyrilli Catechesibus) considers the five Mystagogics and the letter to Constantius as supposititious; but by Vossius, Cave, Mill, Whittaker, and bishop Bull, they are received as genuine. The books of Catecheses are crowded with quotations from Scripture, and the style is dull and tiresomely prolix; but the facts they contain relating to the doctrines and discipline of the Eastern Church in the 4th century are extremely interesting to the student of Christian antiquities. In the first Catechesis are described the effects of baptism. The fourth gives an Exposition of all the Christian doctrines, and treats of numerous questions concerning the body, soulvirginity, marriage, etc. The subsequent discourses exhibit and enjoin a belief in the miraculous virtues of the relics of saints, which are represented as worthy of all veneration; in the efficacy of prayers and sacrifices for the dead; in the powers of exorcism, consecrated unction, oil, and water. Christians are exhorted to cross themselves on every occasion and action throughout the day. The enthusiastic adoration of the cross displayed by St. Cyril was probably owing to his officiating in the church of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem, where, after the 'Invention of the Cross,' it was deposited in a silver case, and shown by the archbishop to thousands of pilgrims, who each took a little chip of it without occasioning any diminution of its bulk! A description of this cross is given by Touttee at the end of his edition of Cyril's works. His chief theological work is the above-named Κατηχήσεις φωτιζομένων, Catecheses, delivered in preparing a class of catechumens for baptism, and it is the first example we have of a popular compend of Christian doctrine. The perpetual virginity of Mary is taught by Cyril. The state of virginity in general is extolled as equal to that of angels, with an assurance that, in the day of judgment, the noblest crowns will be carried off by the virgins. The resurrection is proved and illustrated by the story of the Phoenix" (English Cyclopaedia). The best editions of his works are, Mille, Opera Omsia, Graece et Latine (fol., 1703, with notes, indices, and various readings); Touttee (Benedictine, Gr. et Lat., Paris, fol., 1720); also in Migne, Patrologice Curs. Grae. vol. 33. The Catecheses are given in English in the Library of the Fathers (vol. ii), Oxford, 1839, 8vo.See Clarke, Succession Sac. Liter. 1:279; Lardner, Works, iv; Neander, Church
History, 2:98; Cave, Hist. Lit. 1:211; Taylor, Ancient Christianity; Schaif, Hist. of the Christian Church, § 168.