St. Cyril of Alexandria (c. 376-444) was Born at Alexandria, Egypt around the year 376 and was the nephew of the patriarch of Alexandria, Theophilus. He received a classical and theological education at Alexandria and was ordained by his uncle. He accompanied Theophilus to Constantinople in 403 and was present at the Synod of the Oak which deposed John Chrysostom, who was later restored and confirmed as bishop of Constantinople. Cyril succeeded his Uncle as patriarch of Alexandria in 412.
Cyril began a series of attacks against the Novatians, whose churches he closed, and against the Jews whom he drove out of the city. In 430 Cyril became embroiled with Nestorius, the patriarch of Constantnople, who was preaching heresies denying Mary as the Mother of God, and opposing the doctrine of the Incarnation. A synod was held in Rome under Pope Celestine I which condemned Nestorius and his teachings. Refusing to recant his positions, Nestorius was excommunicated.
In 431 Cyril presided over the third general Council at Ephesus, attended by some two hundred bishops, which condemned all the tenets of Nestorius and his followers. Nestorius was forced into exile. Cyril wrote treatises that clarified the doctrines of the Trinity and the Incarnation which helped stem the spread of Nestorianism and Pelagianism from taking root in the Christian community.
He died in 444 at the age of 68. He was the most brilliant theologian of the Alexandrian tradition. His writings are characterized by accurate thinking, precise exposition, and great reasoning skill. Among his writings are commentaries on John, Luke, and the Pentateuch, treatises on dogmatic theology, an Apologia against Julian the Apostate, and letters and sermons.
He was declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Leo XIII in 1882.
Honoured in:- Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Church, Oriental Orthodox Church, Anglicanism, Lutheranism.
Feast Days: - 18 January and 9 June (Orthodox Churches)
27 June (Coptic Church, Roman Catholic Church- but 9 February in Roman Calendar 1882-1939 - and Lutheran Church)
Attributes:- Vested as a Bishop with phelonion and omophorion, and usually with his head covered in the manner of Egyptian monastics (sometimes the head covering has a polystavrion pattern), he usually is depicted holding a Gospel Book or a scroll, with his right hand raised in blessing.