Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Cyril of Alexandria (c. 376-444): The Adoration and Worship of God in Spirit and in Truth


The Station, at Rome, is in the church of St. Sisto Vecchio. It was built in the 4th century, and was one of the first parish churches in Rome and was known as the Titulus Crescentianae. Tradition claims that it was founded by Pope Anastasius I.

    Night Office (A Word in Season)  
  1. Third Week of Lent Wednesday
    First Reading Hebrews 4: ...12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And before him no creature is hidden, but all are open and laid bare to the eyes of him with whom we have to do. 14 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we have not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

    Second Reading From the writings of Saint Cyril of Alexandria (The Adoration and Worship of God in Spirit and in Truth ill: PG 68, 269-292)
    Christ became a holocaust and a peace offering

    When Christ saw the human race being destroyed by death he became our advocate with the Father. He offered himself for us and of his own free will submitted to death, confounding the destroyer by saying the sin was his. This does not mean that he himself had committed it, but that as the Scriptures say: He bore our sins and suffered for our sake, and he was taken for a criminal. He was innocent, but for our sake he became accursed. David said the shepherd ought to suffer rather than the sheep, and Christ like a good shepherd laid down his life for his sheep.
    In obedience to God's command blessed David set up an altar in the place where he had seen the angel of destruction stop, and he offered God holocausts and peace offerings. By this place, which was a threshing floor, you must understand the Church, for it is there that death was halted and overcome, there that the destroyer stayed his once terrible and devastating hand. For the Church is the dwelling place of him who is life by his very nature - that is, of Christ.
    By way of simile or comparison we call the Church a threshing floor, because there are gathered, like sheaves of wheat, those cut off from the life of this world by the word of holy reapers, that is, of the apostles and evangelists. Then, when all useless and unnecessary thoughts and actions, which may be thought of as chaff, have been removed, they are to be carried up like winnowed grain into the courts above in the heavenly Jerusalem, into what we may call the granary of the Lord.
    Christ asked his holy apostles: Do you not say: "In four months it will be harvest time"? But look, I tell you, look at the fields: they are already white and ready for harvesting. Already the reaper is receiving his wages, he is gathering in a harvest for eternal life. On another occasion he said: The harvest is plentiful, but the la borers are few. You must therefore beg the Lord of the harvest to send people out to reap it.
    Now as I understand it, the harvest Christ spoke of is a spiritual one, namely, the great multitude of those who would one day believe in him. The holy reapers are those who have in their minds and on their tongues the word of God, which is living and active, and cuts more keenly than any two-edged sword, piercing to the meeting place of soul and spirit, to the innermost recesses of our being.
    Christ purchased the spiritual threshing floor which is the Church for fifty shekels: in other words, he paid for it dearly. He gave himself for the Church, he set up an altar within it, and since he was both the priest and the sacrifice, he offered himself as though he were the beast that treads out the grain, and he became a holocaust and a peace offering.

    Saint Cyril of Alexandria


    Cyril of Alexandria became noted in Church history because of his spirited fight for the title "Theotokos" during the First Council of Ephesus (431).

    His writings include the homily given in Ephesus and several other sermons.[22] Some of his alleged homilies are in dispute as to his authorship. In several writings, Cyril focuses on the love of Jesus to his mother. On the Cross, he overcomes his pain and thinks of his mother. At the wedding in Cana, he bows to her wishes. Cyril is credited with[by whom?] creating a basis for all other mariological developments through his teaching of the blessed Virgin Mary, as theMother of God.[citation needed] St. Cyril received an important recognition of his preachingss by the Second Council of Constantinople (553 d.C.) which declared;
    "St. Cyril who announced the right faith of Christians" (Anathematism XIV, Denzinger et Schoenmetzer 437).
    This explains why he is considered a saint by so many Churches. [Wikipedia]

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