St Cyril of Alexandria – Soldiering on in challenging climates
In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, one God. Amen. Dear beloved, let us remember a great father of the Church, St Cyril of Alexandria. We also commemorate St Columba of Iona. May St Cyril and St Columba pray for us!
St Cyril, a church father and saint in the 5th century, entered the monastery of St Makarios in his youth, and was entrusted to preach by Patriarch of Alexandria Theophilos. When Patriarch Theophilos reposed, St Cyril was unanimously elevated to the patriarchal throne. He was fervent in fighting against heresies in his day, especially from Nestorius, who spread falsehood and misguided many people, namely that of the name and nature of our beloved Most Holy Theotokos (claiming that she was Mother of Christ rather than Mother of God) and also heresies about the Dual Nature of Christ as man and God. Eventually, St Cyril was imprisoned for his steadfast faith. Upon the casting out of Nestorius and his falsehood, St Cyril was reinstated to his patriarchal throne and led the Alexandrian Church for more than 3 decades. He left behind many writings, and reposed in 444 AD.
The Church and the faithful are persecuted today everywhere. We the faithful have to tread gingerly whenever we profess our faith, and yet we are called to be brave, and to defend the Truth (Orthodoxy). In our weaknesses, let us also repent and ask our Lord to gift us with strength to continue to spread the Gospel, through our love, our deeds, and sometimes, through our words. As we reflect upon Matthew 10:23-31, let us remember that even our Lord Jesus Christ reminded us that the journey of evangelism will be tough, and it demands the best and the bravest of us. And let those who have ears hear and those who have eyes see.
Apostle Paul reminded us also that we are to persevere all things with hope and certainly in prayer (Romans 8:22-27). Wait for God, as His Will is infinitely better than our own wills, and in His Time, not ours (Psalm 103:8-11). We know from Scripture and our Lord will always pave our journeys with the best for our salvation, so we are to be patient, to be penitent, and to be prayerful, and we look out for the abundant signs He leaves for us throughout our journeys. Prophet Moses was told by God too, that his people are to be still, and wait for God (Exodus 14:13-14). There will seem to be injustice everywhere we turn, and we are admonished by God, by our Lord Jesus Christ, and His Apostles, that we are not to pick up arms against others, but we are to wait for God. There is no love in warfare. There is no love in harming another bodily. And God is love.
Keep the hesychasts’ prayers often, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner”.
Let us close by praying the thanksgiving prayer:
It is truly meet to call thee blest, the Theotokos, ever blessed and most pure, and the Mother of our God. More honorable than the Cherubim, and more glorious than the Seraphim, without corruption thou gavest birth to God the Word: True Theotokos, we magnify thee.
O virgin Theotokos, rejoice; O Mary full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, for thou hast borne the Savior of our souls, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.