Cyril – Bishop of Jerusalem, 386
Cyril is the one we have most to thank for the development of catechetical instruction and liturgical observances during Lent and Holy Week. Born in Jerusalem about 315, Cyril became bishop of that city probably in 349. In the course of political and ecclesiastical disputes, he was banished and restored three times. His Catechetical Lectures on the Christian faith, given before Easter to candidates for Baptism, were probably written by him sometime between 348 and 350.
The work consists of an introductory lecture, or Procatechesis, and eighteen Catecheses based upon the articles of the creed of the Church at Jerusalem, All these lectures (the earliest catechetical materials surviving today) may have been used many times over by Cyril and his successors, and considerably revised in the process. They were probably part of the pre-baptismal instruction that Egeria, a pilgrim nun from western Europe, witnessed at Jerusalem in the fourth century and described with great enthusiasm in the account of her pilgrimage. Many of the faithful would also attend these instructions.
Cyril’s five Mystagogical Catecheses on the Sacraments, intended for the newly baptized after Easter, are now thought to have been composed, or at least revised, by John, Cyril’s successor as Bishop of Jerusalem from 386 to 417.
It is likely that it was Cyril who instituted the observances of Palm Sunday and Holy Week during the latter years of his episcopate in Jerusalem. In doing so, he was taking practical steps to organize devotions for countless pilgrims and local inhabitants around the sacred sites. In time, as pilgrims returned to their homes from Palestine, these services were to influence the development of Holy Week observances throughout the entire Church. Cyril attended the Second Ecumenical Council at Constantinople, in 381, and died at Jerusalem on March 18, 386.*
Collect of the Day
Cyril, Bishop of Jerusalem and Teacher of the Faith, 386
O God, our heavenly Father, you raised up your faithful servant Cyril to be a Bishop and pastor in your Church and to feed your flock: Give abundantly to all pastors the gifts of your Holy Spirit, that they may minister in your household as true servants of Christ and stewards of your divine mysteries; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (dailyoffice2019.com)
Holy week begins on March 28, 2021 this year with Palm Sunday. We open the service with “The Liturgy of the Palms” remembering Our Lord’s entrance into Jerusalem. Holy week is a time to immerse ourselves in the faith by walking in the Lord’s steps and remembering His life and ministry. Join us for Holy week this year to deepen and transform your faith. The scheduled services are listed on the calendar tab, as well as an entry on this page.
We will be together, with covid precautions, after many months of modified worship. Beginning on Palm Sunday, each service will start at the scheduled time and will be a continuous liturgy. Holy week is remarkable week in the life of the church and each individual believer. The culmination of this week for centuries was the Easter Eve vigil. We continue that tradition and invite you to experience the many blessings this week bestows upon the faithful.
*Church Publishing. Lesser Feasts and Fasts (Kindle Locations 3805-3819). Church Publishing Inc.. Kindle Edition.