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Saint Cyril

acacius, church and death

CY'RIL, SAINT, bishop of Jerusalem, an eminent church father, was b. at Jerusalem about 315 A.D., and ordained a deacon in 334, a presbyter in 345, and on the death of Maximus in 351, was elected bishop of his native city. His metropolitan was the Arian bishop, Acacius of Cmsarea, with whom he was soon engaged in hot conflict concerning originally the rights of his office, but ultimately their differences of doctrine. Acacius accused C.. before a council hastily " got up" at Caesarea in 358, of selling the treasures of his church in a time of famine to feed the poor! Strange to say, C. was deposed for doing this praiseworthy action. He now appealed to a larger synod, which was held at Seleuceia. This synod restored him to his. office; but once more, through the persever ing hostility of Acacius, he was deposed by a council assembled at Constantinople in 360. On the death of the emperor Constantius, he was again restored to his episcopate in 362. Soon after, his old enemy Acacius died, but C. was immediately involved in

new difficulties. After considerable strife, C. was banished, by order of the emperor Valens, in 367; nor did he return till the emperor's death in 378. He died in 886.

C.'s writings are extremely valuable, not on account of their vigor, profundity, or beauty, but on account of their theology. They consist of 23 treatises, 18 of which are addressed to catechumens, and 5 to the newly baptized. The former are for the most part doctrinal, and present to us in a more complete and systematic manner than the writings of any other father the creed of the church; the latter are ritual, and give us a minute account of baptism, chrism, and the Lord's supper. Their style is simple and unattractive. The best edition of C.'s works is that published by Touttile, the Benedictine monk (Par. 1720).