March 18 
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March 18

Great Lent

Repose of St. Nikolai of Zhicha (1956). St. Cyril, Archbishop of Jerusalem (386). Martyrs Trophimus and Eucarpus of Nicomedia (ca. 300). Ven. Aninas of the Euphrates.

SAINT CYRIL OF JERUSALEM

18 mars

Saint Cyril, Archbishop of Jerusalem, was born in Jerusalem in the year 315 and was raised in strict Christian piety. Upon reaching the age of maturity, he became a monk, and in the year 346 he became a presbyter. In the year 350, upon the death of Archbishop Maximus, he succeeded him on the episcopal throne of Jerusalem.

As Patriarch of Jerusalem, Saint Cyril zealously fought against the heresies of Arius and Macedonius. In so doing, he aroused the animosity of the Arian bishops, who sought to have him deposed and banished from Jerusalem.

There was a miraculous portent in 351 at Jerusalem: at the third hour of the day on the Feast of Pentecost, the Holy Cross appeared in the heavens, shining with a radiant light. It stretched from Golgotha above the Mount of Olives. Saint Cyril reported this portent to the Arian emperor Constantius (351-363), hoping to convert him to Orthodoxy.

The heretic Acacius, deposed by the Council of Sardica, was formerly the Metropolitan of Caesarea, and he collaborated with the emperor to have Saint Cyril removed. An intense famine struck Jerusalem, and Saint Cyril expended all his wealth in charity. But since the famine did not abate, the saint pawned church utensils, and used the money to buy wheat for the starving. The saint’s enemies spread a scandalous rumor that they had seen a woman in the city dancing around in clerical garb. Taking advantage of this rumor, the heretics forcibly expelled the saint.

The saint found shelter with Bishop Silvanus in Tarsus. After this, a local Council was held at Seleucia, at which there were about 150 bishops, and among them Saint Cyril. The heretical Metropolitan Acacius did not want to allow him to take a seat, but the Council would not consent to this. Acacius stormed out of the Council, and before the emperor and the Arian patriarch Eudoxius, he denounced both the Council and Saint Cyril. The emperor had the saint imprisoned.

When the emperor Julian the Apostate (361-363) ascended the throne he repealed all the anti-Orthodox decrees of Constantius, seemingly out of piety. Saint Cyril returned to his own flock. But after a certain while, when Julian had become secure upon the throne, he openly apostasized and renounced Christ. He permitted the Jews to start rebuilding the Temple of Jerusalem that had been destroyed by the Romans, and he even provided them part of the funds for the building from the state treasury.

Saint Cyril predicted that the words of the Savior about the destruction of the Temple down to its very stones (Luke. 21:6) would undoubtedly transpire, and the blasphemous intent of Julian would come to naught. Soon there was such a powerful earthquake, that even the solidly set foundation of the ancient Temple of Solomon shifted in its place, and what had been rebuilt fell down and shattered into dust. When the Jews resumed construction, a fire came down from the heavens and destroyed the tools of the workmen. Great terror seized everyone. On the following night, the Sign of the Cross appeared on the clothing of the Jews, which they could not remove by any means.

After this heavenly confirmation of Saint Cyril’s prediction, they banished him again, and the bishop’s throne was occupied by Saint Cyriacus. But Saint Cyriacus soon suffered a martyr’s death (October 28).

After the emperor Julian perished in 363, Saint Cyril returned to his See, but during the reign of the emperor Valens (364-378) he was exiled for a third time. It was only under the holy emperor Saint Theodosius the Great (379-395) that he finally returned to his archpastoral activity. In 381 Saint Cyril participated in the Second Ecumenical Council, which condemned the heresy of Macedonius and affirmed the Nicea-Constantinople Symbol of Faith (Creed).

Saint Cyril’s works include twenty-three Instructions (Eighteen are Catechetical, intended for those preparing for Baptism, and five are for the newly-baptized) and two discourses on Gospel themes: “On the Paralytic,” and “Concerning the Transformation of Water into Wine at Cana.”

At the heart of the Catechetical Instructions is a detailed explanation of the Symbol of Faith. The saint suggests that a Christian should inscribe the Symbol of Faith upon “the tablets of the heart.”

“The articles of the Faith,” Saint Cyril teaches, “were not written through human cleverness, but they contain everything that is most important in all the Scriptures, in a single teaching of faith. Just as the mustard seed contains all its plethora of branches within its small kernel, so also does the Faith in its several declarations combine all the pious teachings of the Old and the New Testaments.”

Saint Cyril, a great ascetic and a champion of Orthodoxy, died in the year 386.

Troparion of the saint, tone 8

You were seen in Zion clothed in a robe of godliness / As an illustrious pillar of the Apostles’ faith. / You became an heir to their grace, / Setting forth their pious doctrines / And dispensing their talents of wisdom. / O Cyril, our Father and hierarch, pray for us.

Kontakion of the saint, tone 1

With your lips, O wise Cyril, / And through divine inspiration / You enlightened your people / To the worship of the one Trinity, / Undivided in essence, yet divided in Hypostases. / Wherefore rejoicing, we celebrate your all-holy memory, / Offering you as our intercessor before God.

Isaiah 4:2-5:7 (6th Hour)

2
In that day the Branch of the Lord shall be beautiful and glorious; and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and appealing for those of Israel who have escaped.
3
And it shall come to pass that he who is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy – everyone who is recorded among the living in Jerusalem.
4
When the Lord has washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and purged the blood of Jerusalem from her midst, by the spirit of judgment and by the spirit of burning,
5
then the Lord will create above every dwelling place of Mount Zion, and above her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day and the shining of a flaming fire by night. For over all the glory there will be a covering.
6
And there will be a tabernacle for shade in the daytime from the heat, for a place of refuge, and for a shelter from storm and rain.
1
Now let me sing to my Well-beloved a song of my Beloved regarding His vineyard: My Well-beloved has a vineyard on a very fruitful hill.
2
He dug it up and cleared out its stones, and planted it with the choicest vine. He built a tower in its midst, and also made a winepress in it; so He expected it to bring forth good grapes, but it brought forth wild grapes.
3
“And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah, Judge, please, between Me and My vineyard.
4
What more could have been done to My vineyard that I have not done in it? Why then, when I expected it to bring forth good grapes, did it bring forth wild grapes?
5
And now, please let Me tell you what I will do to My vineyard: I will take away its hedge, and it shall be burned; and break down its wall, and it shall be trampled down.
6
I will lay it waste; it shall not be pruned or dug, but there shall come up briers and thorns. I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain on it.”
7
For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah are His pleasant plant. He looked for justice, but behold, oppression; for righteousness, but behold, a cry for help.

Genesis 3:21-4:7 (Vespers, 1st reading)

21
Also for Adam and his wife the Lord God made tunics of skin, and clothed them.
22
Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever” –
23
therefore the Lord God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken.
24
So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.
1
Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, and said, “I have acquired a man from the Lord.”
2
Then she bore again, this time his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.
3
And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the Lord.
4
Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the Lord respected Abel and his offering,
5
but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell.
6
So the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen?
7
If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.”

Proverbs 3:34-4:22 (Vespers, 2nd reading)

34
Surely He scorns the scornful, but gives grace to the humble.
35
The wise shall inherit glory, but shame shall be the legacy of fools.
1
Hear, my children, the instruction of a father, and give attention to know understanding;
2
For I give you good doctrine: do not forsake my law.
3
When I was my father’s son, tender and the only one in the sight of my mother,
4
he also taught me, and said to me: “Let your heart retain my words; keep my commands, and live.
5
Get wisdom! Get understanding! Do not forget, nor turn away from the words of my mouth.
6
Do not forsake her, and she will preserve you; love her, and she will keep you.
7
Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding.
8
Exalt her, and she will promote you; she will bring you honor, when you embrace her.
9
She will place on your head an ornament of grace; a crown of glory she will deliver to you.”
10
Hear, my son, and receive my sayings, and the years of your life will be many.
11
I have taught you in the way of wisdom; I have led you in right paths.
12
When you walk, your steps will not be hindered, and when you run, you will not stumble.
13
Take firm hold of instruction, do not let go; keep her, for she is your life.
14
Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not walk in the way of evil.
15
Avoid it, do not travel on it; turn away from it and pass on.
16
For they do not sleep unless they have done evil; and their sleep is taken away unless they make someone fall.
17
For they eat the bread of wickedness, and drink the wine of violence.
18
But the path of the just is like the shining sun, that shines ever brighter unto the perfect day.
19
The way of the wicked is like darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble.
20
My son, give attention to my words; incline your ear to my sayings.
21
Do not let them depart from your eyes; keep them in the midst of your heart;
22
For they are life to those who find them, and health to all their flesh.

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About the Author

Emma Cazabonne

Emma Cazabonne

Emma Cazabonne was born and raised in France. She taught English before entering the Cistercian Order. She translated and published articles relevant to her interest in Cistercian spirituality, the Middle Ages, and Orthodoxy. She moved to the United States in 2001, converted to Orthodoxy in 2008, and married. Her husband is an Orthodox priest. She continued to publish articles, a Cistercian texts anthology, then finally launched her career in literary translation, while teaching French. If you are interested in having your book translated into French, she can be contacted here https://wordsandpeace.com/contact-me/

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