St. Cyril of Jerusalem

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.

Quotes from Cyril of Jerusalem:

scroll for more quotes →

Catechetical Lectures: (Written 350 A.D.)

Opening:

“Now Lent is the season of confession. Confess what you have done by word or deed, by night or day. Confess in an acceptable time and in the day of salvation receive the heavenly treasure… Small are the things of this world that you are forsaking; great what the Lord is giving. Forsake things present and trust in things to come.”

3:4

“Since man is of a twofold nature, composed of body and soul, the purification also is twofold: the corporeal for the corporeal and the incorporeal for the incorporeal. The water cleanses the body, and the Spirit seals the soul. . . . When you go down into the water, then, regard not simply the water, but look for salvation through the power of the Spirit. For without both you cannot attain to perfection. It is not I who says this, but the Lord Jesus Christ, who has the power in this matter. And he says, ‘Unless a man be born again,’ and he adds the words ‘of water and of the Spirit,’ ‘he cannot enter the kingdom of God.’ He that is baptized with water, but is not found worthy of the Spirit, does not receive the grace in perfection. Nor, if a man be virtuous in his deeds, but does not receive the seal by means of the water, shall he enter the kingdom of heaven. A bold saying, but not mine; for it is Jesus who has declared it”

3:10

“If any man does not receive baptism, he does not have salvation. The only exception is the martyrs, who even without water will receive the kingdom. . . . For the Savior calls martyrdom a baptism, saying, ‘Can you drink the cup which I drink and be baptized with the baptism with which I am to be baptized [Mark 10:38]?’”

4:25

“While you maintain perfect chastity, do not be puffed up in vain conceit against those who walk a humbler path in matrimony. . . Let those who are married and use their marriage properly be of good cheer; who enter marriage lawfully. . . who recognize periods of continence so that they may give themselves to prayer. . . who have embarked on the matrimonial estate for the procreation of children, not for the sake of indulgence.”

10:19

“The Father bears witness from heaven to his Son. The Holy Spirit bears witness, coming down bodily in the form of a dove. The archangel Gabriel bears witness, bringing the good tidings to Mary. The Virgin Mother of God bears witness”

13:36

“Let us then, not be ashamed to confess the crucified. Be the cross our seal, made with boldness by our fingers on our brow in everything we do; over the bread we eat and the cups we drink, in our comings and goings; before our sleep, when we lie down and when we wake; when we are traveling and when we are at rest.”

17:27

“In the power of the same Holy Spirit, Peter, both the chief of the Apostles and the keeper of keys of the kingdom of Heaven, in the name of Christ healed Aeneas the paralytic at Lydda, which is now called Diospolis (see Acts 9:32-34).”

18:1

“The root of every good work is the hope of the resurrection, for the expectation of a reward nerves the soul to good work. Every laborer is prepared to endure the toils if he looks forward to the reward of these toils”

18:23

“The Church is called catholic, then, because it extends over the whole world, from end to end of the earth, and because it teaches universally and infallibly each and every doctrine which must come to the knowledge of men, concerning things visible and invisible”

18:26

“And if you ever are visiting in cities, do not inquire simply where the house of the Lord is—for the others, sects of the impious, attempt to call their dens ‘houses of the Lord’—nor ask merely where the Church is, but where is the Catholic Church. For this is the name peculiar to this holy Church, the mother of us all, which is the spouse of our Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God”

19:7

“The bread and the wine of the Eucharist before the holy invocation of the adorable Trinity were simple bread and wine, but the invocation having been made, the bread becomes the body of Christ and the wine the blood of Christ”

21:1-4

“After you had come up from the pool of the sacred streams, there was given chrism, the antitype of that with which Christ was anointed, and this is the Holy Spirit. But beware of supposing that this is ordinary ointment. For just as the bread of the Eucharist after the invocation of the Holy Spirit is simple bread no longer, but the body of Christ, so also this ointment is no longer plain ointment, nor, so to speak, common, after the invocation. Further, it is the gracious gift of Christ, and it is made fit for the imparting of his Godhead by the coming of the Holy Spirit. This ointment is symbolically applied to your forehead and to your other senses; while your body is anointed with the visible ointment, your soul is sanctified by the holy and life-giving Spirit. Just as Christ, after his baptism, and the coming upon him of the Holy Spirit, went forth and defeated the adversary, so also with you after holy baptism and the mystical chrism, having put on the panoply of the Holy Spirit, you are to withstand the power of the adversary and defeat him, saying, ‘I am able to do all things in Christ, who strengthens me’”

22:3

“Let us then, in full confidence, partake of the Body and Blood of Christ. For in the figure of bread, His Body is given unto you, and in the figure of wine, His Blood is given to you, so that by partaking of the Body and Blood of Christ, you might become united with Him. For this do we become Christ-bearers, His Body and Blood distributed through our members. And thus it is that we become, according to the blessed Peter, sharers of the divine nature.”

22:4-6

“Once when Christ was discoursing with the Jews, He said, ‘If you do not eat my flesh and drink my blood, you do not have life within you.’ Not hearing His words in a spiritual way, they left scandalized, believing He exhorted them to eat flesh. Do not, therefore, regard the bread and wine as simply that; for they are, according to the Master’s declaration, the body and blood of Christ. Even though the senses suggest to you the other, let faith make you firm. Do not judge in this matter by taste, but be fully assured by the faith, not doubting that you have been deemed worthy of the body and blood of Christ. . . . [Since you are] fully convinced that the apparent bread is not bread, even though it is sensible to the taste, but the body of Christ, and that the apparent wine is not wine, even though the taste would have it so, . . 

22:7

“David says: ‘You have anointed my head with oil.’ With oil, He anointed your head, your forehead, in the God-given sign of the cross, so that you may become that which is engraved on the seal: A HOLY THING OF THE LORD.”

23:2

“You have noticed
that the deacon
gives the priest water
with which to wash. . .
the washing is a
symbol that you
ought to be pure
of all sin and
lawless deeds.”

23:4

“After this, the
priest calls out
‘Hearts aloft!’
For truly, in that
solemn moment,
it behooves us to
have our hearts
aloft to God. . .
Then you answer:
‘We lift them up
to the Lord!’. . .
Let no one say
this while he is
preoccupied with
physical cares.”

23:5

“Then the priest says:
‘Let us give thanks
to the Lord!’
Surely we ought to
give thanks for His
having called us,
as unworthy as we are
to so great a grace. . .
Then you say:
‘It is worthy and just!’
For in giving thanks
we do a worthy and
just thing for His
having counted us
worthy of such
great benefits.”

23:6-9

“Then we make mention also of those who have already fallen asleep: first, the patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and martyrs, that through their prayers and supplications God would receive our petition; next, we make mention also of the holy fathers and bishops who have already fallen asleep, and, to put it simply, of all among us who have already fallen asleep, for we believe that it will be of very great benefit to the souls of those for whom the petition is carried up, while this holy and most solemn sacrifice is laid out”

23:21

“Do not approach the Body of Christ with your wrists extended or your fingers spread, but make your left hand a throne for the right, as for that which is to receive a king. Having received the Body of Christ, saying over it ‘Amen’, and having blessed your eyes by the touch of the holy Body, consume it -carefully, lest you lose any portion.”

23:22

“Then, after you have taken communion of the Body of Christ, come forward also to the cup of His Blood, not reaching out with your hands, but bowing; and in an attitude of worship and reverence say Amen, and sanctify yourself by partaking of the Blood of Christ.”

return to top ⇑