About St Cyril of Jerusalem Image

St Cyril of Jerusalem was priest then bishop of the Church in the 300s. He was a stalwart defender of orthodoxy, taught catechumens extensively, and was exiled for political reasons multiple times.

Read the full St Cyril of Jerusalem novena on the novena page. You can also learn more about novenas here.

What Is St Cyril of Jerusalem the Patron Saint Of?

St Cyril is the patron saint of Catechists and Catechumens.

Cyril was born around 313 AD in Jerusalem to a faithful family.

St Maximus ordained him to the diaconate and then to the priesthood, and, recognizing his teaching skill, had him teach the catechumens wanting to become Catholic.

Upon St Maximus’ death, Cyril was consecrated bishop of Jerusalem.

The Arian heresy which denied the divinity of Christ was strong at this time, and Arians (incorrectly) supported Cyril. But Cyril was not an Arian heretic.

Bishop Acacius of Caesarea opposed Cyril, primarily over jurisdictional dispute, since Acacius claimed that his authority extended over all the bishops in Palestine, Jerusalem included; Cyril argued that Jerusalem was one of the original apostolic sees and thus was independent. Acacius then exiled Cyril.

Cyril and Acacius then opposed one another at a council that was called to reconcile them.

Acacius and the Arian bishops were condemned, and Cyril returned to his seat in Jerusalem, but Acacius then appealed to the emperor, portrayed Cyril in a disingenous way, and got him banished once again.

Julian rose to power as emperor, reinstated exiled bishops (no matter their orthodoxy), and when Acacius died, Cyril requested his nephew Gelasius become the new bishop of Caesarea.

Nonetheless, a short time later, Julian’s reinstatement was revoked, and Cyril was once again exiled, this time for 11 years.

Finally he was reinstated, permanently, and he attended the second Ecumenical Council at Constantinople in 381 where Arianism was once again condemned, along with Macedonianism that denied the divinity of the Holy Spirit.

St Cyril was exonerated at that ecumenical Council, his orthodoxy upheld.

St Cyril died eight years later, at 386 AD.