Cyril of Alexandria, Bishop & Doctor
Anectus (Anicetus) M (RM)
Died 303. We know almost nothing about this Saint Anectus. Baronius, who wrote the laus for the Roman Martyrology, places his martyrdom at Caesarea in Palestine under Diocletian, but notes that the Greek acta are very vague (Benedictines).
Arialdus of Milan M (AC)
Died 1066; cultus approved in 1904. Deacon Saint Arialdus distinguished himself for his zeal against the rampant simony of his time, chiefly in Milan. For this reason, he was first excommunicated and, after much persecution, killed by the party of the simonious archbishop of Milan (Benedictines).
Blessed Benvenuto of Gubbio, OFM (AC)
Died 1232; cultus authorized by Pope Gregory IX. Benvenuto, an uncouth soldier, was received into the Franciscan order by Saint Francis himself. At his own request the new friar was allowed to tend lepers, a task that he fulfilled with the utmost charity (Benedictines).
Crescens BM (RM)
2nd century; second feast day on December 29. Saint Crescens was a disciple of Saint Paul mentioned as having gone into Galatia (2 Timothy 4:10). He is said to have been appointed bishop of the Galatians. Tradition tells us about his apostolate in France and also that he founded the see of Mainz in Gaul (now Germany). The Roman Martyrology adds that he returned to the east and was martyred under Trajan. It is certain that the Crescens who was first bishop of Vienne and the Crescens who worked at Mainz were not the disciples of Saint Paul, though they were real saints (Benedictines).
Cyril of Alexandria B, Doctor (RM)
Born in Alexandria, Egypt, c. 376-80; died there 444; named "Doctor of the Incarnation" by Pope Leo XIII in 1882; known as the "Seal of the Fathers" in the East; feast day formerly on January 28 and February 9.
"Hail, Mother and Virgin, imperishable temple of the Godhead, venerable treasure of the whole world, crown of virginity, support of the true faith on which the Church is founded throughout the whole world.
"Mother of God, who contained the infinite God under your heart, whom no space can contain: Through you the Most Holy Trinity is adored and glorified, demons are vanquished, satan cast down from heaven and into hell, and our fallen nature again assumed into heaven.
"Through you the human race, held captive in the bonds of idolatry, arrives at the knowledge of the truth. What more shall I say of you? Hail, through whom kings rule, through whom the only-begotten Son of God has become a star of light to those who were sitting in darkness and in the shadow of death. Amen.
"All of us are united with Christ inasmuch as we have received Him who is one and indivisible in our bodies. Therefore we owe the service of our members to Him rather than to ourselves."
--Saint Cyril of Alexandria.
Bishop Cyril of Alexandria was severe, authoritarian, and violent in an age of the same. Though he had read the profane writers during his classical and theological studies, he made it a rule never to advance any doctrine that he had not learned from the ancient fathers. Although his writing revealed great precision of thought, he often said that he regretted that he did not use a clearer style and write purer Greek.
He was ordained by his uncle Patriarch Theophilus of Alexandria, whom he accompanied to Constantinople in 403. He was present at the Synod of Oak during which Theophilus engineered the deposition of Saint John Chrysostom's, patriarch of Constantinople, whom he himself believed to be guilty. After his uncle's death in 412, he was raised to the see of Alexandria following a riot between Cyril's supporters and those of his rival Timotheus.
He immediately moved to close the churches of the Novatians and have their sacred vessels seized. He drove out the Jews and stirred up the monks. Cyril then attacked the Neoplatonists, angering the imperial prefect, Orestes, although his actions were approved by Emperor Theodosius. This disagreement had a tragic outcome.
Hypatia, a pagan woman, was the most influential teacher of Neoplatonic philosophy in Alexandria. Disciples flocked to her from everywhere. Acting upon the belief that Hypatia had turned the governor against Cyril, a mob attacked her in her chariot, dragged her into the street, and tore her body to pieces. It has never been established that Cyril was directly concerned with the crime, but it was the work of those who looked to him as their leader.
In 428, Nestorius, a priest-monk of Antioch, was made archbishop Constantinople. He taught the clergy that there were two distinct persons in Christ: that of God and that of man, joined only by a moral union. He also held that Mary was not the Mother of God since Christ was divine and not human, and thus should not be called Theotokos, or God-bearer.
In 430, Cyril sent him a mild expostulation explaining that such a division made it impossible to be certain that Jesus preached the truth about God the Father. Nestorius answered rudely. Both appealed to Pope Saint Celestine I, who condemned the Nestorian doctrine and excommunicated Nestorius unless he were to publicly retract his position within ten days of receiving the sentence. Cyril was appointed to see the sentence fulfilled, and sent Nestorius his third and last summons--twelve anathemas to be signed by him as proof of his orthodoxy.
Nestorius held fast, and Cyril, who enjoyed conflict, persuaded the pope to summon the third general council at Ephesus in 431. Cyril presided over the council attended by 200 bishops. Nestorius was present in town but would not appear. His sermons were read, and condemned, and a sentence of excommunication and deposition were read.
Six days later, archbishop John of Antioch arrived with 42 bishops who had been unable to reach the meeting in time. They supported Nestorius, although they did not follow his practice. Instead of meeting with the council, they met together and presumed to depose Cyril, accusing him of heresy. Both sides appealed to the emperor, and he ordered Cyril and Nestorius to be arrested. When three legates from Pope Celestine arrived, they confirmed the council's condemnation of Nestorius, approved Cyril's conduct, and invalidated the sentence against him.
In the years after the council, Cyril was moderate and conciliatory in seeking reconciliation with the less extreme Nestorians, perhaps surprisingly so for a man of his character. Two years later Patriarch John, representing the moderate Antiochene bishops, and Cyril reached an agreement and joined in the condemnation of Nestorius, who was forced into exile.
Monophysite Copts, Syrians, and Ethiopians venerate Cyril as their chief teacher because, in stressing the truth of Christ's divinity, Cyril uses a terminology that sometimes appears to favor Monophysitism (that Christ had only one nature). Cyril wrote treatises that clarified doctrines of the Trinity and the Incarnation, and thus prevented Nestorianism and Pelagianism from taking root in the Christian community.
Cyril insisted on two essential facts about Jesus--however difficult Christians might find it to hold them together: (1) that Jesus was begotten by God the Father before all ages; and (2) that Jesus was also begotten in the flesh of the Virgin Mary.
He is considered the most brilliant theologian of Alexandrian tradition, although his stubborn rejection and occasional misinterpretation of his opponents' beliefs have been criticized by scholars. Nevertheless, it is as a theologian rather than a bishop that his memory is held in honor.
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, including one on hymns, and sermons (Attwater, Benedictines, Bentley, Delaney,22 Encyclopedia, White).
Saint Cyril will be recognized as an old, bearded bishop in the vestments of the Eastern Church with a book, pointing towards heaven. He may have the Virgin and Child appearing before him (Roeder). When represented with the other Greek fathers, such as in this Greek icon with Saint Athanasius, he is generally distinguished by name (White).
Deodatus of Nola B (AC)
Died 473. Saint Deodatus was a deacon to Saint Paulinus of Nola, and his successor in that see. His relics were brought to Benevento in 839 (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).
Blessed Eppo of Mallersdorf, OSB Abbot (AC)
Died 1143. The monk Eppo became the second abbot of Mallersdorf in Bavaria (Germany) in 1122 (Benedictines).
Ferdinand of the Angels B (AC)
(also known as Ferdinand of Aragon)
13th century. Related to the royal family of Aragon, then the rulers of the Two Sicilies, Ferdinand became the fifth bishop of Cajazzo, in that kingdom. His relics are now venerated at Cornello, Sicily (Benedictines).
George Mtasmindeli of the Black Mountains, Abbot
No data available.
Hadelin of Crespin, OSB Abbot (AC)
Died c. 700. Saint Landelin appointed his monk, Saint Crespin, as abbot of Crespin in Hainault (Benedictines).
John of Chinon, Hermit (RM)
Born in Brittany; 6th century. Saint Gregory of Tours tells us that Saint John became a hermit at Chinon (or Caion) in Touraine, there he confined himself to a little cell and oratory near the church. He attempted to withdrew from superfluous commerce with others, preferring to tend his orchard, including some laurels under which he would sit to read or write. He was the spiritual adviser of Queen Saint Radegund. He was interred at his cell after his death. Many pilgrims were restored to health at his intercession (Benedictines, Husenbeth).
Blessed Joseph Heiu (Hien, Yeun), OP,
and Thomas Toan MM (AC)
Died 1840; beatified in 1900. Joseph was a native Dominican priest of Annam (Vietnam), who was beheaded at Nam-Dinh. Beatified at the same time was the catechist Thomas Toan of Tonkin (b. 1767). He had shown signs of apostatizing, repented, and was thereafter cruelly scourged and exposed to the sun and insects without food or drink for 12 days until his death (Benedictines).
Ladislaus I of Hungary, King (RM)
(also known as Lancelot, Lalo, Laszlo)
Born in Neustra, Hungary, July 29, 1040; died at Nitra, Bohemia, July 29, 1095; canonized in 1192 by Pope Celestine III. Laszlo of the house of Arpad, son of King Bela, was elected king of Hungary in 1077 by the nobles. He followed in the footsteps of Saint Stephen I of Hungary. Immediately he was faced with the claims of a relative and son of a former king, Solomon, to the throne, and defeated him on the battlefield in 1089. He developed the power of his young kingdom. He fought just and successful wars against Poles, Russians, and the Tartars.
Laszlo supported Pope Gregory VII in his investiture struggle against Emperor Henry IV, and Rupert of Swabia, Henry's rival. Laszlo married Adelaide, daughter of Duke Welf of Bavaria, one of Rupert's supporters. While Laszlo encouraged Christian missionaries and fostered Christianity within his dominions, he allowed religious freedom to the Jews and Islamics within his realm.
He was distinguished personally for the justness of his rule and the virtue of his life. In 1091, Laszlo marched to the aid of his sister, Helen, Queen of Croatia, against the murderers of her husband. When she died childless, he extended the boundaries of his kingdom by the annexation of Croatia and Dalmatia despite objections from the pope, the emperor in Constantinople, and Venice.
In 1092 at the Synod of Szabolcs, Laszlo promulgated a series of laws on religious and civil matters. He was chosen to lead the armies of the first crusade but before he could go he died. In a sentence, Laszlo was the ideal national hero. He is venerated for his zeal, piety, and moral life. In 1192, his relics were enshrined as those of a saint in the cathedral he had founded at Nagyvarad (Attwater, Benedictines, Delaney).
In art, Saint Ladislaus is portrayed as an armored king with a banner bearing a cross and a halberd. He may be shown (1) on a battlefield; (2) attacking a Tarter who is carrying off a lady; (3) between SS. Stephen of Hungary and Emeric; and (4) two angels with swords near him. He is the patron saint of Hungary (Roeder).
Samson (Sampson) Xenodochius (RM)
(also known as Samson or Sampson the Hospitable)
Died c. 530. Samson was a distinguished citizen of Constantinople who studied medicine and was ordained priest in order to devote his life to the spiritual and physical care of the sick and destitute. He founded and equipped a magnificent hospital near Santa Sophia (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).
Zoilus and Companions MM (RM)
Died c. 301. Zoilus was a youth martyred with 19 companions at Cordova, Spain, under Diocletian. The Benedictine abbey of San Zoil de Carrión, province of Leon, in northern Spain, was founded to enshrine their relics (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).
About Saints of the Day
These summaries were prepared in 1998 by St. Patrick's parishioner Katherine I. Rabenstein and are reproduced on www.saintpatrickdc.org with the permission of the author. Note that the content has not been updated since that time and represents the research of the author. An alphabetical index of all saints on our site is available. Source references are also available. HTML formatting © 2007-2008 by St. Patrick's Catholic Church, Washington, D.C.