315 :: Died:
St. Cyril was raised in Jerusalem when a new kind of life was beginning for Christians. Before that time, the Church was tortured by the emperors. Thousands of Christians had been martyrs and died for their faith in Christ.
In 315, Emperor Constantine declared Christianity as a legal religion. That was a wonderful thing, but it didn't end all the problems. In fact, during the years that followed Christians faced a new problem.
There was confusion about what Christians believe and don't believe. There were many false teachings called "heresies." Some priests and bishops became brave defenders of Church teaching. One such bishop was Cyril of Jerusalem.
When St. Maximus, bishop of Jerusalem, died, Cyril was chosen to take his place. Cyril was the bishop of Jerusalem for thirty-five years. Sixteen long years of that time were spent in hiding and exile.
Three times he was run out of town by influential Arian people who wanted him removed. They were trying to force Cyril to accept false teachings about Jesus and the Church. But he would not give in.
In 361 when Julian became emperor, he decided to rebuild the famous Temple of Jerusalem. He wanted to prove that Jesus was wrong when he said that the Temple of Jerusalem would not be rebuilt.
So he spent much money and sent all the materials for a new Temple. Many people helped by giving jewels and precious metals. Yet St. Cyril faced the difficulty with calmness.
He was sure that the Temple could not be built, because Jesus, who is God, had said so. The bishop looked calmly at all the materials and said, "I know that this will fail." And sure enough, first a storm, then an earthquake, then a fire stopped the temple from being built. The emperor finally gave up the project.
St. Cyril died in 386 when he was around seventy. This gentle, kindly man had lived in times of confusion and sadness. But he never lost his courage because it came from Jesus. He was faithful to the Lord all his life. Cyril was heroic in teaching the truth about Jesus and his Church.
"The Christian is a bearer of Christ."
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