Cyril, Bishop of Jerusalem

Cyril was born c.315, perhaps in Caesarea, but the details of his early life are unclear. He became bishop of Jerusalem c.350, at a time when pilgrimage there was growing rapidly. He was to some extent caught in the middle of the Arian controversy, asserting the divinity of Christ, but finding difficulty with the Homoousios (“of one substance with the Father”) formula of the Nicene creed. He was forced into retirement on a trumped up charge of embezzlement and was in and out of office as parties came in and out of power, eventually dying in office in 386, having voted for the homoousios formula at the First Council of Constantinople because though he saw it as imperfect no better had been found. His Catechetical Lectures for baptismal candidates survive and show his theology to be at heart profoundly orthodox and sound, and his liturgical innovations to celebrate the observance of Holy Week and Easter are the foundation of Christian practices to this day. He died on this day in the year 386.