In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, one God. Amen. Dear beloved, we celebrate the feast day of Saint Cyril, Patriarch of Jerusalem. May Saint Cyril pray for us.

Martyr, priest, and patriarch St Cyril of Jerusalem, was known seeing the Life Creating Cross of Christ and thereafter believing in Christ, and for pointing out to the Holy Empress Helen where the Life-Creating Cross was buried. He was elevated to the Patriarchate for his pure and virtuous life. Ht was steadfast in his faith in God, and was persecuted by Julian the Apostate, and died in 363 AD after sustained torture and eventual execution.

St Cyril was known for his homilies, which was overflowing with the forgiveness that God readily gives to us. Even when exiled twice, he never bore any ill will towards his oppressors. His writings were different from many other fathers, where he described the healing and forgiveness from God. For example:

“The Holy Spirit comes gently and makes himself known by his fragrance. He is not felt as a burden for God is light, very light. Rays of light and knowledge stream before him as the Spirit approaches. The Holy Spirit comes with the tenderness of a true friend to save, to heal, to teach, to counsel, to strengthen and to console”.

These are difficult times, where false shepherds are aplenty, and will try to not just distract, but even to delude and lead astray God’s people, and especially to lead to oblivion those who do not believe in God and His Gospel.

As we reflect upon Luke 11:14-23, Christ was clear that only God and His servants can cast out demons. All others are merely pretending to cast out demons, because the devil can never cast out demons, for a house cannot be divided by itself. So we are not to be fooled when there are heretics and non-believers demonstrating acts which are said to cast out demons, when they can never really achieve that except through the Orthodox Church. That is why such acts are dangerous, because they not just mislead, but can imbue and embed the demons even deeper, and make some people forget that demons are the greatest liars and are not so easily driven away. Let us never be complacent, and pray as often, or unceasingly, as we can.

As the world begins to destroy itself, we must reflect upon the admonitions of Holy Apostle Paul in Colossians 1:24-29 as well as in Isaiah 12:2-5, where we are not just to guard our spiritual journeys with repentance and prayers, we are also to help others who are astray, reconcile with God. it is our duty as believers, just as we think the clergy are to do that.

For God does not forsake the humble (Psalm 10:12-16), and so we must remember that we are never to be proud, never to be vain, never to be hard-hearted, but to care for the weak and the oppressed.

Even as the world contradicts itself, remember our Lord, and center on Him, His Laws, His Truth, and His Holy Name. “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.

Fr Raphael+

Readings
Isaiah 12:2-5
Psalm 10:12-16
Luke 11:14-23
Colossians 1:24-29