Saint Cyril

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Saint Cyril (Saint Cyril of Alexandria) (sĬr´əl), d. AD 444, patriarch of Alexandria (412–44), Doctor of the Church, known for his animosity toward heretics and heathens. He drove the Jews from Alexandria, and under his rule Hypatia was killed. The great episode in his career was his struggle against Nestorianism, which culminated in the Council of Ephesus in 431 (see Ephesus, Council of). There Cyril presided and had the full support of Pope Celestine I. He returned triumphant, but he continued to be opposed by the Antiochene bishops, who tended toward Nestorianism; consequently, they stayed out of communion with Alexandria, and so with the church, for two years. In 433, Cyril consented to a compromise with Antioch by declaring that Christ had two natures, human and divine, and that in speaking of one nature he meant one Person. St. Cyril wrote much on theology, particularly on the problem of the Trinity. His doctrines, though deemed orthodox in his time, were in a sense a preface to those of Eutyches and of Monophysitism. Feast: Feb. 9.

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Cyril, St (d. 444). Patriarch of Alexandria from 412, and church father. His career after c.430 was dominated by the controversy over church authority (he drove out schismatic followers of Novatian), christology, and specifically by his opposition to Nestorius. The Neoplatonist philosopher, Hypatia, was murdered by the mob, possibly at Cyril's instigation. The episode evoked a novel by Charles Kingsley. In the E. he is ‘the Seal of the Fathers’, in the W. a doctor of the Church (since 1882).

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Cyril, St (826–69), Greek missionary. He and his brother, St Methodius, were sent to Moravia where they taught in the vernacular, which they adopted also for the liturgy, and circulated a Slavic version of the scriptures. His feast day (in the Eastern Church) is 11 May; (in the Western Church) is 14 February.

The invention of the Cyrillic alphabet, used by many Slavic peoples, chiefly those with a historical allegiance to the Orthodox Church, is ascribed to him. Ultimately derived from Greek uncials, it is now used for Russian, Bulgarian, Serbian, Ukrainian, and some other Slavic languages.

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Cyril, Saint (826–69) Greek Christian missionary. With his brother, Methodius, he is one of the two so-called “Apostles to the Slavs” who were sent to convert the Khazars and Moravians to Christianity. Cyril is said to have invented the Cyrillic alphabet. His feast day is February 14 (West); May 11 (East).