Saint Days: Cyril of Alexandria, Bishop and Teacher of the Faith
St. Cyril (376-444) was the Patriarch of Alexandria from 412 until his death. He is perhaps best known for his important role at the Council of Ephesus (431). This is the Church Council that deposed the heretic Nestorius, who had previously been the Patriarch of Constantinople. Cyril didn't have much good to say about Nestorius, calling him a "monster, born and educated for the destruction of the Church."
The reason for the hostility is that Nestorius rejected the title of Theotokos (God-bearer) for the Virgin Mary. Orthodox Christians believe that Christ is both fully God and fully man at once, that there is no division within his nature. Nestorius was teaching that there are two distinct hypostases within Christ, the Divine and the human.
Cyril took a necessary stand for truth and the orthodox faith. He provides us a good example. He also reminds us of the importance of participating in the Sacraments of the Church:
"As two pieces of wax fused together make one, so he who receives Holy Communion is so united with Christ that Christ is in him and he is in Christ."
Let us remember St. Cyril in our prayers today:
Almighty God, you gave to your servant St. Cyril special gifts of grace to understand and teach the truth as it is in Christ Jesus: Grant that by this teaching we may know you, the one true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.