Feast Day : June 27
Cyril was born in Alexandria ca. 376. He was the nephew of Theophilus, patriarch of Alexandria, and among those who deposed St. John Chrysostom. Cyril was raised, educated and ordained by his uncle, and went with him to Constantinople in 403 for the deposition of John. When Theophilus died in 412, Cyril succeeded him as patriarch of Alexandria, but only after a riot broke out between his supporters and those of his rival, Timotheus. Cyril spent much of his career embroiled in the church politics of heresies. He closed the churches of one heretical sect, the Novatianists, and chased the Jews out of Alexandria. In 430 he began a battle against the heretic Nestorius, who was preaching that Mary was not the Mother of God, since Christ was Divine and not human, and consequently she should not have the word Theotokos (“God-bearer”) applied to her. Cyril persuaded Pope Celestine I (r. 422–432) to convene a synod condemning Nestorius, and Cyril convened his own synod in Alexandria to do the same. Cyril also presided over the Third General Council of Ephesus, at which he condemned Nestorius, but then was deposed himself. Both Cyril and Nestorius were arrested, but Cyril was released upon intervention of the pope. Eventually Nestorius was condemned and banished to the Great Oasis of Egypt. A brilliant scholar, Cyril left a legacy of exegetical works, treatises, commentaries on the Gospels and the Pentateuch, sermons, letters and an apologia against Julian the Apostate. He is known especially for his writing on the Holy Trinity and the Incarnation. On Adoration in Spirit and Truth is a 17-book exposition on the spiritual nature of the Old Law. Declared Doctor of the Church: 1882 by Pope Leo XIII.