Cyril of Jerusalem

Cyril of Jerusalem (Greek: Κύριλλος Α΄ Ἱεροσολύμων, Kýrillos A Ierosolýmon; Latin: Cyrillus Hierosolymitanus) was a distinguished theologian of the early Church (c. 313[1] – 386 AD). He is venerated as a saint by the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, Oriental Orthodox Church and the Anglican Communion. In 1883, Cyril was declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Leo XIII. He is highly respected in the Palestinian Christian Community.

About the end of 350 AD he succeeded Maximus as Bishop of Jerusalem, but was exiled on more than one occasion due to the enmity of Acacius of Caesarea, and the policies of various emperors. Cyril left important writings documenting the instruction of catechumens and the order of the Liturgy in his day.

Cyril of Jerusalem
Saint Cyril of Jerusalem
Bishop, Confessor and Doctor of the Church
Bornc. 313 AD
possibly near Caesarea Maritima, Syria Palaestina (Modern-day Israel)
Died386 AD (aged 73)
Jerusalem, Syria Palaestina
Venerated inCatholic Church(Eastern Catholicism)
Eastern Orthodox Church
Oriental Orthodoxy
Anglican Communion
Lutheran Church
FeastMarch 18 (Byzantine Christianity)
May 7 (Byzantine Christianity) (miracle)
Paremhat 22 (Coptic Christianity)

Life and character

Little is known of his life before he became a bishop; the assignment of his birth to the year 315 rests on conjecture.[2] According to Butler, Cyril was born at or near the city of Jerusalem, and was apparently well-read in both the Church Fathers and the pagan philosophers.[3]

Cyril was ordained a deacon by Bishop Macarius of Jerusalem in about 335 and a priest some eight years later by Bishop Maximus. About the end of 350 he succeeded St. Maximus in the See of Jerusalem.[4][5][6]


Relations between Metropolitan Acacius of Caesarea and Cyril became strained. Acacius is presented as a leading Arian by the orthodox historians, and his opposition to Cyril in the 350s is attributed by these writers to this. Sozomen also suggests that the tension may have been increased by Acacius's jealousy of the importance assigned to Cyril's See by the Council of Nicaea, as well as by the threat posed to Caesarea by the rising influence of the seat of Jerusalem as it developed into the prime Christian holy place and became a centre of pilgrimage.[7]

Acacius charged Cyril with selling church property.[8] The city of Jerusalem had suffered drastic food shortages at which point church historians Sozomen and Theodoret report “Cyril secretly sold sacramental ornaments of the church and a valuable holy robe, fashioned with gold thread that the emperor Constantine had once donated for the bishop to wear when he performed the rite of Baptism”.[9] It was believed that Cyril sold some plate, ornaments and imperial gifts to keep his people from starving.

For two years, Cyril resisted Acacius' summons to account for his actions in selling off church property, but a council held under Acacius's influence in 357 deposed Cyril in his absence (having officially charged him with selling church property to help the poor) and Cyril took refuge with Silvanus, Bishop of Tarsus.[10] The following year, 359, in an atmosphere hostile to Acacius, the Council of Seleucia reinstated Cyril and deposed Acacius. In 360, though, this was reversed by Emperor Constantius,[11] and Cyril suffered another year's exile from Jerusalem until the Emperor Julian's accession allowed him to return.

Cyril was once again banished from Jerusalem by the Arian Emperor Valens in 367. Cyril was able to return again at the accession of Emperor Gratian in 378, after which he remained undisturbed until his death in 386. In 380, Gregory of Nyssa came to Jerusalem on the recommendation of a council held at Antioch in the preceding year. He seemingly found the faith in good shape, but worried that the city was prey to parties and corrupt in morals.[12] Cyril's jurisdiction over Jerusalem was expressly confirmed by the First Council of Constantinople (381), at which he was present.[13] At that council he voted for acceptance of the term homoousios, having been finally convinced that there was no better alternative.[4] His story is perhaps best representative of those Eastern bishops (perhaps a majority), initially mistrustful of Nicaea, who came to accept the creed of that council, and the doctrine of the homoousion.[14]

Theological position

Though his theology was at first somewhat indefinite in phraseology, he undoubtedly gave a thorough adhesion to the Nicene Orthodoxy. Even if he did avoid the debatable term homoousios, he expressed its sense in many passages, which exclude equally Patripassianism, Sabellianism, and the formula "there was a time when the Son was not" attributed to Arius.[12] In other points he takes the ordinary ground of the Eastern Fathers, as in the emphasis he lays on the freedom of the will, the autexousion (αὐτεξούσιον), and in his view of the nature of sin. To him sin is the consequence of freedom, not a natural condition. The body is not the cause, but the instrument of sin. The remedy for it is repentance, on which he insists. Like many of the Eastern Fathers, he focuses on high moral living as essential to true Christianity. His doctrine of the Resurrection is not quite so realistic as that of other Fathers; but his conception of the Church is decidedly empirical: the existing Church form is the true one, intended by Christ, the completion of the Church of the Old Testament. His interpretation of the Eucharist is disputed. If he sometimes seems to approach the symbolic view, at other times he comes very close to a strong realistic doctrine. The bread and wine are not mere elements, but the body and blood of Christ.

Cyril's writings are filled with the loving and forgiving nature of God which was somewhat uncommon during his time period. Cyril fills his writings with great lines of the healing power of forgiveness and the Holy Spirit, like “The Spirit comes gently and makes himself known by his fragrance. He is not felt as a burden for God is light, very light. Rays of light and knowledge stream before him as the Spirit approaches. The Spirit comes with the tenderness of a true friend to save, to heal, to teach, to counsel, to strengthen and to console”. Cyril himself followed God's message of forgiveness many times throughout his life. This is most clearly seen in his two major exiles where Cyril was disgraced and forced to leave his position and his people behind. He never wrote or showed any ill will towards those who wronged him. Cyril stressed the themes of healing and regeneration in his catechesis.[15]

Catechetical lectures

Cyril's famous twenty-three lectures given to catechumens in Jerusalem being prepared for, and after, baptism are best considered in two parts: the first eighteen lectures are common known as the Catechetical Lectures, Catechetical Orations or Catechetical Homilies, while the final five are often called the Mystagogic Catecheses (μυσταγωγικαί), because they deal with the mysteries (μυστήρια) i.e. Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist.[16]

His catechetical lectures (Greek Κατηχήσεις)[17] are generally assumed, on the basis of limited evidence, to have been delivered either in Cyril's early years as a bishop, around 350, or perhaps in 348, while Cyril was still a priest, deputising for his bishop, Maximus.[18] The Catechetical Lectures were given in the Martyrion, the basilica erected by Constantine.[14] They contain instructions on the principal topics of Christian faith and practice, in a popular rather than scientific manner, full of a warm pastoral love and care for the catechumens to whom they were delivered. Each lecture is based upon a text of Scripture, and there is an abundance of Scriptural quotation throughout. In the Catechetical Lectures, parallel with the exposition of the Creed as it was then received in the Church of Jerusalem are vigorous polemics against pagan, Jewish, and heretical errors. They are of great importance for the light which they throw upon the method of instruction usual of that age, as well as upon the liturgical practises of the period, of which they give the fullest account extant.[13]

It is not only among us, who are marked with the name of Christ, that the dignity of faith is great; all the business of the world, even of those outside the Church, is accomplished by faith. By faith, marriage laws join in union persons who were strangers to one another. By faith, agriculture is sustained; for a man does not endure the toil involved unless he believes he will reap a harvest. By faith, seafaring men, entrusting themselves to a tiny wooden craft, exchange the solid element of the land for the unstable motion of the waves.”[19]

In the 13th lecture, Cyril of Jerusalem discusses the Crucifixion and burial of Jesus Christ. The main themes that Cyril focuses on in these lectures are Original sin and Jesus’ sacrificing himself to save us from our sins. Also, the burial and Resurrection which occurred three days later proving the divinity of Jesus Christ and the loving nature of the Father. Cyril was very adamant about the fact that Jesus went to his death with full knowledge and willingness. Not only did he go willingly but throughout the process he maintained his faith and forgave all those who betrayed him and engaged in his execution. Cyril writes “who did not sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth, who, when he was reviled, did not revile, when he suffered did not threaten”.[20] This line by Cyril shows his belief in the selflessness of Jesus especially in this last final act of Love. The lecture also gives a sort of insight to what Jesus may have been feeling during the execution from the whippings and beatings, to the crown of thorns, to the nailing on the cross. Cyril intertwines the story with the messages Jesus told throughout his life before his execution relating to his final act. For example, Cyril writes “I gave my back to those who beat me and my cheeks to blows; and my face I did not shield from the shame of spitting”.[21] This clearly reflects the teachings of Jesus to turn the other cheeks and not raising your hands against violence because violence just begets violence begets violence. The segment of the Catechesis really reflects the voice Cyril maintained in all of his writing. The writings always have the central message of the Bible; Cyril is not trying to add his own beliefs in reference to religious interpretation and remains grounded in true biblical teachings.

Danielou see the baptism rite are carrying eschatological overtones, in that "to inscribe for baptism is to write one's name in the register of the elect in heaven".[22]


Oded Irshai observed that Cyril lived in a time of intense apocalyptic expectation, when Christians were eager to find apocalyptic meaning in every historical event or natural disaster. Cyril spent a good part of his episcopacy in intermittent exile from Jerusalem. Abraham Malherbe argued that when a leader's control over a community is fragile, directing attention to the imminent arrival of the antichrist effectively diverts attention from that fragility.[23]

Soon after his appointment, Cyril in his Letter to Constantius[24] of 351 recorded the appearance of a cross of light in the sky above Golgotha, witnessed by the whole population of Jerusalem. The Greek church commemorates this miracle on the 7th of May. Though in modern times the authenticity of the Letter has been questioned, on the grounds that the word homoousios occurs in the final blessing, many scholars believe this may be a later interpolation, and accept the letter's authenticity on the grounds of other pieces of internal evidence.[25]

Cyril interpreted this as both a sign of support for Constantius, who was soon to face the usurper Magnentius, and as announcing the Second Coming, which was soon to take place in Jerusalem. Not surprisingly, in Cyril's eschatological analysis, Jerusalem holds a central position.[26]

Matthew 24:6 speaks of "wars and reports of wars", as a sign of the End Times, and it is within this context that Cyril read Julian's war with the Persians. Matthew 24:7 speaks of "earthquakes from place to place", and Jerusalem experienced an earthquake in 363 at a time when Julian was attempting to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem.[23] Embroiled in a rivalry with Acacius of Caesarea over the relative primacy of their respective sees, Cyril saw even ecclesial discord a sign of the Lord's coming.[27] Catechesis 15 would appear to cast Julian as the antichrist, although Irshai views this as a later interpolation.[23]

“In His first coming, He endured the Cross, despising shame; in His second, He comes attended by a host of Angels, receiving glory. We rest not then upon His first advent only, but look also for His second."[28] He looked forward to the Second Advent which would bring an end to the world and then the created world to be re-made anew. At the Second Advent he expected to rise in the resurrection if it came after his time on earth.[29]

Mystagogic Catecheses

There has been considerable controversy over the date and authorship of the Mystagogic Catecheses, addressed to the newly baptized, in preparation for the reception of Holy Communion, with some scholars having attributed them to Cyril's successor as Bishop of Jerusalem, John.[30] Many scholars would currently view the Mystagogic Catecheses as being written by Cyril, but in the 370s or 380s, rather than at the same time as the Catechetical Lectures.[31]

According to the Spanish pilgrim Egeria, these mystagogical catecheses were given to the newly baptised in the Church of the Anastasis in the course of Easter Week.[14]

See also


  1. ^ Walsh, Michael, ed. Butler's Lives of the Saints. (HarperCollins Publishers: New York, 1991), pp 83.
  2. ^ Jackson, Samuel Macauley,ed., "Cyril of Jersusalem", New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, (3rd ed.) p.334, London and New York, Funk & Wagnalls, 1914
  3. ^ Butler, Alban. The Lives or the Fathers, Martyrs and Other Principal Saints Vol. III, D. & J. Sadlier, & Company, 1864
  4. ^ a b *"Lives of the Saints, For Every Day of the Year" edited by Rev. Hugo Hoever, S.O.Cist., Ph.D., New York: Catholic Book Publishing Co., 1955, p. 112
  5. ^ The evidence for this is the Catecheses by Cyril where he continually refers to himself as bishop
  6. ^ Jerome gives a dark account of how Cyril came to be appointed as Bishop of Jerusalem, claiming that “Cyril was an out and out Arian, was offered the see on Maximus' death on the condition that he would repudiate his ordination at the hands of that Bishop”.(Yarnold (2000), p4) Jerome had personal reasons for being malicious, though, and, the story may simply be a case of Cyril conforming to proper church order.Young (2004), p186
  7. ^ Sozomen, HE, 4.25
  8. ^ Frances Young with Andrew Teal, From Nicaea to Chalcedon: A Guide to the Literature and its Background’’, (2nd edn, 2004), p187
  9. ^ Drijvers, J. W. (2004). Cyril of Jerusalem: Bishop and city. Supplements to Vigiliae Christianae, v. 72. Leiden: Brill. , p. 65
  10. ^ Di Berardino, Angelo. 1992. Encyclopedia of the early church. New York: Oxford University Press. , p. 312
  11. ^ The reasons for this reversal are not entirely clear. According to Theodoret, (HE 2.23), Acacius informed the emperor that one of the things sold by Cyril was a 'holy robe' dedicated by Constantine himself, which consequently turned Constantius against Cyril. The truth of this is not clear though.
  12. ^ a b Chapman, John. "Saint Cyril of Jerusalem." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 4. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908. 16 Mar. 2015
  13. ^ a b Foley, Leonard O.F.M., "St. Cyril of Jerusalem", Saint of the Day, (revised by Pat McCloskey O.F.M.), Franciscan Media
  14. ^ a b c Andrew Louth, 'Palestine', in Frances Young et al., The Cambridge History of Early Christian Literature, (2010), p284
  15. ^ Hellemo, Geir. Adventus Domini: Eschatological Thought in 4th Century Apses and Catecheses, BRILL, 1989 ISBN 9789004088368
  16. ^ *"The Penguin Dictionary of Saints, 3rd Edition", Donald Attwater and Catherine Rachel John, New York: Peguin Putnam Inc., 1995, p. 101
  17. ^ The Catechetical Lectures of S. Cyril
  18. ^ The main evidence for this dating is that at one point Cyril casually refers to the heresy of Mani as being seventy years old (Cat 6.20). Andrew Louth, 'Palestine', in Frances Young et al., The Cambridge History of Early Christian Literature, (2010), p284
  19. ^ Cyril, Catechesis V
  20. ^ Drijvers (2004), p. 7.
  21. ^ Drijvers (2004), p. 13-14.
  22. ^ Bergin, Liam. O Propheticum Lavacrum, Gregorian Biblical BookShop, 1999 ISBN 9788876528279
  23. ^ a b c Kalleres, Dayna S., City of Demons: Violence, Ritual, and Christian Power in Late Antiquity, Univ of California Press, 2015 ISBN 9780520956841
  24. ^ English translation is in Telfer (1955)
  25. ^ Frances Young with Andrew Teal, From Nicaea to Chalcedon: A Guide to the Literature and its Background’’, (2nd edn, 2004), p192
  26. ^ Cain, Andrew and Lenski, Noel Emmanuel. The Power of Religion in Late Antiquity, Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 2009 ISBN 9780754667254
  27. ^ Farrow, Douglas. "Rediscovering an Eschatological Perspective", The Oxford Handbook of Eschatology, (Jerry L. Walls, ed.), Oxford University Press, USA, 2007 ISBN 9780199727636
  28. ^ Cyril & Gifford 1894.
  29. ^ Froom 1950, pp. 412–415.
  30. ^ Swaans (1942) makes the main case for an authorship by John; Doval (2001) argues in detail against Swaans's case. The arguments are summarised in Frances Young with Andrew Teal, From Nicaea to Chalcedon: A Guide to the Literature and its Background’’, (2nd edn, 2004), p189
  31. ^ See, for example, Yarnold (1978). Frances Young with Andrew Teal, From Nicaea to Chalcedon: A Guide to the Literature and its Background’’, (2nd edn, 2004), p190


  • Drijvers, J. W. (2004). "Cyril of Jerusalem: Bishop and city". Supplements to Vigiliae Christianae, v. 72. Leiden: Brill.
  • Froom, LeRoy (1950). The Prophetic Faith of our Fathers. 1.


  • Cyril; Gifford, Edwin Hamilton (1894). "Catechetical Lectures of Saint Cyril, Lecture 15, Section 1". In Schaff, Philip; Wace, Henry (eds.). Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers. series two. 7. Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co.
  • McCauley, Leo P. and Anthony A. Stephenson, (1969, 1970). The works of Saint Cyril of Jerusalem. 2 vols. Washington: Catholic University of America Press [contains an introduction, and English translations of: Vol 1: The introductory lecture (Procatechesis). Lenten lectures (Catecheses). Vol 2: Lenten lectures (Katēchēseis). Mystagogical lectures (Katēchēseis mystagōgikai). Sermon on the paralytic (Homilia eis ton paralytikon ton epi tēn Kolymbēthran). Letter to Constantius (Epistolē pros Kōnstantion). Fragments.]
  • Telfer, W. (1955). Cyril of Jerusalem and Nemesius of Emesa. The Library of Christian classics, v. 4. Philadelphia: Westminster Press.
  • Yarnold, E. (2000). Cyril of Jerusalem. The early church fathers. London: Routledge. [provides an introduction, and full English translations of the Letter to Constantius, the Homily on the Paralytic, the Procatechesis, and the Mystagogic Catechesis, as well as selections from the Lenten Catecheses.]
  • Antonio Calisi, Lo Spirito Santo in Cirillo di Gerusalemme, Chàrisma Edizioni, Bari 2013, pp. 216. ISBN 978-88-908559-1-7

Further reading

  • The Penguin Dictionary of Saints, 3rd Edition, Donald Attwater and Catherine Rachel John, New York: Peguin Putnam Inc., 1995, ISBN 0-14-051312-4
  • Lives of the Saints, For Every Day of the Year edited by Rev. Hugo Hoever, S.O.Cist., Ph.D., New York: Catholic Book Publishing Co., 1955
  • Omer Englebert, Lives of the Saints New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 1994, ISBN 1-56619-516-0
  • Lane, A. N. S., & Lane, A. N. S. (2006). A concise history of Christian thought. Grand Rapids, Mich: Baker Academic.
  • Van, N. P. (January 1, 2007). 'The Career Of Cyril Of Jerusalem (C.348–87): A Reassessment'. The Journal of Theological Studies, 58, 1, 134–146.
  • Di Berardino, Angelo. 1992. Encyclopedia of the early church. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • In Cross, F. L., & In Livingstone, E. A. (1974). The Oxford dictionary of the Christian Church. London: Oxford University Press.

External links

Preceded by
Maximus III
Bishop of Jerusalem
Succeeded by
John II
Acacius of Caesarea

Acacius of Caesarea in Greek Ἀκάκιος Mονόφθαλμος (died 366) was a Christian bishop, the pupil and successor in the Palestinian see of Caesarea of Eusebius AD 340, whose life he wrote. He is remembered chiefly for his bitter opposition to St. Cyril of Jerusalem and for the part he was afterwards enabled to play in the more acute stages of the Arian controversy. In the famous twenty-first oration of St. Gregory Nazianzen, the author speaks of him as being "the tongue of the Arians".

Athleta Christi

"Athleta Christi" (Latin: "Champion of Christ") was a class of Early Christian soldier martyrs, of whom the most familiar example is one such "military saint," Saint Sebastian.

Buddhism and Gnosticism

Buddhologist Edward Conze (1966) has proposed that similarities existed between Buddhism and Gnosticism, a term deriving from the name "Gnostics" given to a number of Christian sects. To the extent that the Buddha taught the existence of evil inclinations that remain unconquered, or that require special spiritual knowledge to conquer, Buddhism has also qualified as Gnostic.

Buddhism and the Roman world

Several instances of interaction between Buddhism and the Roman world are documented by Classical and early Christian writers.

Catholic (term)

The word catholic (with lowercase c; derived via Late Latin catholicus, from the Greek adjective καθολικός (katholikos), meaning "universal") comes from the Greek phrase καθόλου (katholou), meaning "on the whole", "according to the whole" or "in general", and is a combination of the Greek words κατά meaning "about" and ὅλος meaning "whole". The term Catholic (usually written with uppercase C in English) was first used in the early 2nd century to indicate Christendom as a whole. In the context of Christian ecclesiology, it has a rich history and several usages.

The word in English can mean either "of the Catholic faith" or "relating to the historic doctrine and practice of the Western Church". Many Christians use it to refer more broadly to the whole Christian Church or to all believers in Jesus Christ regardless of denominational affiliation; it can also more narrowly refer to Catholicity, which encompasses several historic churches sharing major beliefs. "Catholicos", the title used for the head of some churches in Eastern Christian traditions, is derived from the same linguistic origin.

In non-ecclesiastical use, it derives its English meaning directly from its root, and is currently used to mean the following:

including a wide variety of things; all-embracing

universal or of general interest;

liberal, having broad interests, or wide sympathies; or

inclusive, inviting and containing strong evangelism.The term has been incorporated into the name of the largest Christian communion, the Catholic Church (also called the Roman Catholic Church). All of the three main branches of Christianity in the East (Eastern Orthodox Church, Oriental Orthodox Church and Church of the East) had always identified themselves as Catholic in accordance with Apostolic traditions and the Nicene Creed. Anglicans, Lutherans, and some Methodists also believe that their churches are "Catholic" in the sense that they too are in continuity with the original universal church founded by the Apostles. However, each church defines the scope of the "Catholic Church" differently. For instance, the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox churches, and Church of the East, each maintain that their own denomination is identical with the original universal church, from which all other denominations broke away.

Distinguishing beliefs of Catholicity, the beliefs of most Christians who call themselves "Catholic", include the episcopal polity, that bishops are considered the highest order of ministers within the Christian religion, as well as the Nicene Creed of AD 381. In particular, along with unity, sanctity, and apostolicity, catholicity is considered one of Four Marks of the Church, found the line of the Nicene Creed: "I believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church."

During the medieval and modern times, additional distinctions arose regarding the use of the terms Western Catholic and Eastern Catholic. Before the East–West Schism, those terms had just the basic geographical meanings, since only one undivided Catholicity existed, uniting the Latin speaking Christians of West and the Greek speaking Christians of the East. After the split of 1054 terminology became much more complicated, resulting in the creation of parallel and conflicting terminological systems.

Creed of Jerusalem

The Creed of Jerusalem is a baptismal formula used by early Christians to confess their faith. Some authors (like Philip Schaff) believed that it was one of the sources of the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, drawn up at the First Council of Constantinople in 381 and date it to 350 AD.

In the original form, given by Cyril of Jerusalem, it says:

I believe in the Father, and in the Son, and in the Holy Ghost, and in one Baptism of repentance.

Dalua of Tibradden

Saint Dalua of Tibradden (Irish: Do-Lúe, Latin: Daluanus), also called Dalua of Craoibheach, was an early Irish saint who is said to have been a disciple of St. Patrick. He founded a church that became known as Dun Tighe Bretan (Tibradden) which is located today in the townland of Cruagh, Co. Dublin.

Doctor of the Church

Doctor of the Church (Latin doctor "teacher") is a title given by the Catholic Church to saints recognized as having made significant contribution to theology or doctrine through their research, study, or writing.Some other churches have similar categories with various names.

Great martyr

Great Martyr or Great-Martyr (Greek: μεγαλομάρτυς or μεγαλομάρτυρ, megalomartys or megalomartyr, from megas, "great" + "martyr") is a classification of saints who are venerated in the Eastern Orthodox Church and those Eastern Catholic Churches which follow the Rite of Constantinople.

Generally speaking, a Great Martyr is a martyr who has undergone excruciating tortures—often performing miracles and converting unbelievers to Christianity in the process—and who has attained widespread veneration throughout the Church. These saints are often from the first centuries of the Church, before the Edict of Milan. This term is normally not applied to saints who could be better described as hieromartyrs (martyred clergy) or protomartyrs (the first martyr in a given region).

Jewish–Christian gospels

The Jewish–Christian Gospels were gospels of a Jewish Christian character quoted by Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Eusebius, Epiphanius, Jerome and probably Didymus the Blind. Most modern scholars have concluded that there was one gospel in Aramaic/Hebrew and at least two in Greek, although a minority argue that there were only two, Aramaic/Hebrew and Greek.None of these gospels survives today, but attempts have been made to reconstruct them from references in the Church Fathers. The reconstructed texts of the gospels are usually categorized under New Testament apocrypha. The standard edition of Schneemelcher describes the texts of three Jewish–Christian gospels as follows:

1) The Gospel of the Ebionites ("GE") – 7 quotations by Epiphanius.

2) The Gospel of the Hebrews ("GH") – 1 quotation ascribed to Cyril of Jerusalem, plus GH 2–7 quotations by Clement, Origen, and Jerome.

3) The Gospel of the Nazarenes ("GN") – GN 1 to GN 23 are mainly from Jerome; GN 24 to GN 36 are from medieval sources.

Judas Barsabbas

Judas Barsabbas was a New Testament prophet and one of the 'leading men' in the early Christian community in Jerusalem at the time of the Council of Jerusalem in around 50 A.D.


The male name Kiril (or Кирил or Кирилл) is a common first name in the Orthodox Slavic world, in particular in Bulgaria, North Macedonia, and Russia. It is also well known in Greece but in different forms like Kyriakos. (Note that in modern Russian the spelling Кирил is considered to be a mistake, the right spelling is Кирилл.)

Kiril has several variant forms: Cyril, Cyrill, Kirill, Kirillos, Kiryl (Belarusian), Kyril, Cyryl (Polish), Kyrill, Kyrylo (Ukrainian) and a diminutive Kiro (common in the Balkan Sprachbund).

Saint Cyril of Jerusalem was a 4th-century bishop and a Doctor of the Church. Saint Cyril of Alexandria was a 5th-century theologian. Another Saint Cyril, known as Kiril, was a 9th-century translator and a Byzantine missionary to the Slavs. He, together with his brother Methodius created an alphabet called Glagolica to serve the needs of the Slavic world, translating the Bible into the Church Slavic language. Later, their students created a simpler and graphically usable alphabet, which is known as the Cyrilic alphabet and is still used by millions of people.

Liturgy of Saint James

The Liturgy of Saint James or Jacobite Liturgy is the oldest complete form of the Eastern varieties of the Christian liturgy still in use among certain Christian Churches.

It is based on the traditions of the ancient rite of the Early Christian Church of Jerusalem, as the Mystagogic Catecheses of St Cyril of Jerusalem imply. Forming the historical basis of the Liturgy of Antioch, it is still the principal liturgy of the Syriac Orthodox Church, Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, Malankara Jacobite Syrian Church, Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church, Syriac Catholic Church, Syro-Malankara Catholic Church, Maronite Church. It is also occasionally used in the Eastern Orthodox Church and Melkite Catholic Church.

The Liturgy is associated with the name of James the Just, the "brother" of Jesus and patriarch among the Jewish Christians at Jerusalem. Saint James was martyred at the hands of a mob incensed at his preaching about Jesus and his "transgression of the Law" - an accusation made by the Jewish High Priest of the time, Hanan ben Hanan.

The historic Christian liturgies are divided between Eastern and Western usages. Among the Eastern liturgies, the Liturgy of Saint James is one of the Antiochene group of liturgies, those ascribed to Saint James, to Saint Basil, and to Saint John Chrysostom. Other Eastern liturgies include the Assyrian or Chaldean rites, as well as the Armenian and Maronite rites. The Byzantine liturgies attributed to Saint John Chrysostom and Saint Basil are the ones most widely used today by all Eastern Orthodox Christians and by the Eastern Catholic Churches in communion with Rome.

Michael of Synnada

Michael of Synnada (Michael the Confessor) (died 818) was a bishop of Synnada from 784. He represented Byzantium in diplomatic missions to Harun al-Rashid and Charlemagne. He was exiled by Emperor Leo V the Armenian because of his opposition to iconoclasm. Honored by the Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches, his feast day is May 23.


A mystagogue (from Greek: μυσταγωγός, mystagogos, "person who initiates into mysteries") is a person who initiates others into mystic beliefs, and an educator or person who has knowledge of the sacred mysteries of a belief system. Another word for mystagogue is hierophant.

In ancient mystery religions, a mystagogue would be responsible for leading an initiate into the secret teachings and rituals of a cultus. The initiate would often be blindfolded, and the mystagogue would literally "guide" him into the sacred space.

In the early Christian church, this same concept was used to describe role of the bishop, who was responsible for seeing to it that the catechumens were properly prepared for baptism. Mystagogical homilies, or homilies that dealt with the Church's sacraments, were given to those in the last stages of preparation for full Church membership. Sometimes these mystagogical instructions were not given until after the catechumen had been baptized. The most famous of these mystagogical works are the "Mystagogical Homilies" of St. Cyril of Jerusalem, and the work, "On the Mysteries" by St. Ambrose of Milan.

In various organizations, it is the role of the mystagogue to "mystify" pledges. The term is sometimes used to refer to a person who guides people through religious sites, such as churches, and explains the various artifacts. This branch of theology is at times called mystagogy.

In the United States versions of mystagogical legends predate European contact. Early Native American tribes around the Great Lakes region, taught that the mystagogue was a spiritual leader, and upon death would transform into a beast with many heads. The mystagogue would reappear in his beastly form and feed on those who strayed from the tribe if it was not in keeping with their religious customs.The historical tradition of the mystagogue has carried on today in one way through the fraternity system in American universities, that have historically held a position for a mystagogue at either the chapter or the national level. The mystagogue is a person of great respect, and his knowledge concerning both the physical and spiritual matters of the organization is not questioned. In a way similar to that of some Native American traditions, the mystagogue in the fraternity system has the power to shut down parts of the fraternity which are not in keeping with customs or tradition.

Max Weber, considered to be one of the founders of the modern study of sociology, described the mystagogue as part magician and part prophet, and as one who dispensed "magical actions that contain the boons of salvation."According to Roy Wallis: "The primary criterion that Weber had in mind in distinguishing the prophet from the mystagogue was that the latter offers a largely magical means of salvation rather than proclaiming a radical religious ethic or an example to be followed."


Scythianus was a supposed Alexandrian religious teacher who visited India around 50 CE. He is mentioned by several Christian writers and anti-Manichaean polemicists of the 3rd and 4th centuries CE, including Archelaus of Caschar, Hippolytus of Rome, Cyril of Jerusalem, Epiphanius of Salamis, and is mentioned in the fourth-century work Acta Archelai, a critical biography of Mani from an orthodox perspective. Scythianus is thought to have lived near the border between Palestine and Arabia, and to have been active in trade between the Red Sea ports and India.

Hippolytus considered Scythianus as a predecessor of Mani, and wrote that he brought, before Mani, "the doctrine of the Two Principles" from India. According to Epiphanius, he was apparently trying to propagate the view "that there is something beyond the one who exists and that, so to speak, the activity of all things comes from two roots or two principles". Epiphanius further explained that Scythianus wrote four books: Mysteries, Treasure, Summaries, and a Gospel (the "Gospel of Scythianus", also mentioned by Cyril of Jerusalem). Scythianus is said to have been to Jerusalem, where he disputed his doctrines with the Apostles.

The account of Cyril of Jerusalem states that after Scythianus' death, his pupil Terebinthus went to Palestine and Judaea ("becoming known and condemned in Judaea") and Babylon. He used the name 'Buddas', which could mean he presented himself as a Buddha and may suggest a link between his philosophy and Buddhism. Terebinthus brought with him the books of Scythianus, which he presented upon his death to his lodger, a widow with a slave named Cubricus, who later changed his name to Mani (from "Manes" in Persian, meaning "discourse"). Mani is said to have studied the books, which thereby become the source of Manichean doctrine

Simon Magus

Simon the Sorcerer, or Simon the Magician (Latin: Simon Magus, Greek Σίμων ὁ μάγος), is a religious figure whose confrontation with Peter is recorded in Acts 8:9–24. The act of simony, or paying for position and influence in the church, is named after Simon.

According to Acts, Simon was a Samaritan magus or religious figure of the 1st century AD and a convert to Christianity, baptised by Philip the Evangelist. Simon later clashed with Peter. Accounts of Simon by writers of the second century exist, but are not considered verifiable. Surviving traditions about Simon appear in orthodox texts, such as those of Irenaeus, Justin Martyr, Hippolytus, and Epiphanius, where he is often described as the founder of Gnosticism, which has been accepted by some modern scholars, while others reject that he was a Gnostic, just designated as one by the Church Fathers.Justin, who was himself a 2nd-century native of Samaria, wrote that nearly all the Samaritans in his time were adherents of a certain Simon of Gitta, a village not far from Flavia Neapolis. According to Josephus, Gitta (also spelled Getta) was settled by the tribe of Dan. Irenaeus held him as being the founder of the sect of the Simonians. Hippolytus quotes from a work he attributes to Simon or his followers the Simonians, Apophasis Megale, or Great Declaration. According to the early church heresiologists, Simon is also supposed to have written several lost treatises, two of which bear the titles The Four Quarters of the World and The Sermons of the Refuter. In apocryphal works including the Acts of Peter, Pseudo-Clementines, and the Epistle of the Apostles, Simon also appears as a formidable sorcerer with the ability to levitate and fly at will. He is sometimes referred to as "the Bad Samaritan" due to his malevolent character. The Apostolic Constitutions also accuses him of "lawlessness" (antinomianism).

St. Cyril of Jerusalem Church and School

St. Cyril of Jerusalem Church and School is a Catholic church and elementary school located in Encino, Los Angeles, California. Founded in 1949, St. Cyril's was voted the "Best Parish" for music in the Los Angeles Archdiocese in 2000.


Terebinthus (also Terebinthus of Turbo ) was a suggested pupil of Scythianus, during the 1st-2nd century AD, according to the writings of Christian writer and anti-Manichaean polemicist Cyril of Jerusalem, and is mentioned earlier in the anonymously written, critical biography of Mani known as Acta Archelai.

Cyril of Jerusalem

According to Cyril's anti-Manichaean works and in other Orthodox polemic, Terebinthus went to Judaea and later returned to Syria Palaestina ("becoming known and condemned" there), and ultimately settled in Babylonia. He is also said to have brought with him the books of Scythianus, which he presented upon his death to his lodger, a widow with a slave named Cubricus, who later changed his name to Mani. Mani allegedly studied the books, which thereby become the source of Manichean doctrine. This story can be found also in Acta Archelai, an anti-manichean scripture written in Syriac language, which is ascribed to the late 4th-century AD writer Hegemonios.Later the same is mentioned in Lexicon Suidae (10th century) in an article dedicated to Mani. According to the Lexicon, the names of the books were: Mysterium, Evangelium, Thesaurum and Capitum (meaning "Mystery", "Gospel", "Treasury", and "Book of Chapters" respectively).The connection between Mani and Buddha is also mentioned in a letter of Marius Victorius (4th century AD) Ad Justinum Manichaeum.

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See also
Bishops of Jerusalem
(until 451)
Patriarchs of Jerusalem
(from 451)

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