St. Cyril of Alexandria, also known as St. Cyril the Great, was a prominent theologian and bishop of Alexandria in the 5th century. He played a crucial role in the early church, particularly in defending the orthodox Christian faith against heresies. His profound theological insights and teachings have left a lasting impact on Christianity. In this article, we will explore 23 of the best quotes by St. Cyril of Alexandria, shedding light on his wisdom and theological depth.
1. “The Holy Trinity alone is the true and perfect God.”
St. Cyril emphasized the centrality of the Holy Trinity in Christian theology. He believed that God exists in three distinct persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – while being one in essence.
2. “The Son of God became man to enable men to become sons of God.”
This quote beautifully encapsulates St. Cyril’s understanding of the Incarnation. He believed that Jesus, the Son of God, took on human flesh to redeem humanity and restore our relationship with God, enabling us to become children of God.
3. “The sun is a symbol of the eternal God.”
St. Cyril often used powerful metaphors to explain theological concepts. Here, he compares the sun to God, illustrating God’s eternal nature and radiant glory.
4. “The Son of God was crucified according to the flesh; suffering in His own person to set us free.”
St. Cyril emphasized the redemptive significance of Christ’s crucifixion. He believed that Jesus willingly suffered and died on the cross to liberate humanity from sin and death.
5. “It was our weak nature that needed salvation.”
St. Cyril recognized the fallen state of humanity and our desperate need for salvation. He believed that Jesus, as both fully human and fully divine, was uniquely qualified to save us.
6. “The Word of God, ineffably transcending all things that are, puts on the body.”
This quote reflects St. Cyril’s understanding of the Incarnation. He believed that the eternal Word of God took on human flesh, uniting the divine and human natures in the person of Jesus Christ.
7. “The only-begotten Son of God is His Father’s Word, living, creative, and all-wise.”
St. Cyril affirmed the divinity of Jesus Christ, stating that He is the living Word of God who possesses divine attributes, such as wisdom and creative power.
8. “In Christ, the Logos is personally united to the flesh.”
St. Cyril emphasized the hypostatic union, the union of the divine and human natures in the person of Jesus Christ. He believed that Jesus was fully God and fully man, without confusion or separation.
9. “God became man so that man might become God.”
This profound quote by St. Cyril captures the concept of theosis or divinization. He believed that through our union with Christ, we can partake in God’s divine nature and experience spiritual transformation.
10. “The mystery of Christ’s love is the source of all blessings for us.”
St. Cyril recognized the immeasurable love of Christ as the foundation of all spiritual blessings. He believed that through Christ’s sacrificial love, we receive forgiveness, reconciliation, and eternal life.
11. “The Holy Spirit is the bond of unity and love in the Trinity.”
St. Cyril emphasized the role of the Holy Spirit in maintaining unity and love within the Trinity. He believed that the same Spirit unites believers in Christ and enables them to love one another.
12. “Through the Eucharist, we become one body in Christ.”
St. Cyril placed great importance on the sacrament of the Eucharist. He believed that through partaking in the body and blood of Christ, believers are united with Him and with one another, forming the mystical body of Christ.
13. “The Holy Virgin gave birth to Emmanuel, who is God with us.”
St. Cyril held a high view of the Virgin Mary, acknowledging her unique role in giving birth to Jesus Christ, who is both God and man.
14. “The Cross is the trophy against which the devil lost the battle.”
St. Cyril saw the cross as a symbol of victory over evil. He believed that through Christ’s death and resurrection, the devil’s power was defeated.
15. “The divine and the human were united in the Lord Jesus Christ for the salvation of all.”
St. Cyril emphasized the salvific nature of the Incarnation. He believed that Jesus, as the God-man, accomplished our salvation by bridging the gap between God and humanity.
16. “The Word of God became man so that you might learn from a man how to become a god.”
This quote echoes St. Cyril’s belief in theosis. He saw Jesus as the perfect example of humanity, and through Him, we can learn how to become like God.
17. “When you behold the Lord’s flesh, think that you have received what you see.”
St. Cyril emphasized the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. He believed that when believers partake in the sacrament, they truly receive the body and blood of Christ.
18. “The Holy Spirit is the life-giver, the fountain of sanctification, and the light of the Church.”
St. Cyril attributed the work of sanctification and spiritual illumination to the Holy Spirit. He believed that the Spirit empowers and guides the Church.
19. “The Son, who is by nature God, came in the flesh to save all humankind.”
St. Cyril stressed the divine nature of Christ, affirming that He is God by nature. He believed that through His incarnation, Jesus came to save all humanity.
20. “In Christ, we are made divine by participating in the divine nature.”
St. Cyril reiterated the concept of theosis, stating that through our participation in Christ, we are transformed and made partakers of the divine nature.
21. “He who is united to the Lord is one spirit with Him.”
St. Cyril emphasized the spiritual union believers have with Christ. He believed that through faith, we become united with Him in spirit.
22. “The mysteries of the Lord’s life are the medicine of our souls.”
St. Cyril saw the life and works of Christ as a healing balm for our souls. He believed that through faith in Christ, we receive spiritual healing and restoration.
23. “The Church is the body of Christ, animated by the Holy Spirit.”
St. Cyril viewed the Church as the mystical body of Christ, indwelt and guided by the Holy Spirit. He believed that believers are united in their common faith and participation in the life of Christ.
Q: What is the significance of St. Cyril of Alexandria in Christian history?
A: St. Cyril of Alexandria played a crucial role in the early church, particularly in defending the orthodox Christian faith against heresies. He was instrumental in the Council of Ephesus, which affirmed the divinity and humanity of Christ and condemned the heresy of Nestorianism.
Q: What is theosis?
A: Theosis, also known as divinization or deification, is the concept that humans can partake in God’s divine nature through their union with Christ. It involves the transformation of the believer’s character and the restoration of the image of God within them.
Q: What did St. Cyril believe about the Eucharist?
A: St. Cyril believed in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. He taught that when believers partake in the sacrament, they truly receive the body and blood of Christ, which nourishes and unites them with Him.
Q: Was St. Cyril of Alexandria a supporter of the Virgin Mary?
A: Yes, St. Cyril had a high view of the Virgin Mary and affirmed her unique role in giving birth to Jesus Christ. He defended her title as Theotokos (Mother of God) against the Nestorian heresy.
Q: What is the hypostatic union?
A: The hypostatic union is the theological concept that in the person of Jesus Christ, there are two distinct natures (divine and human) united in one hypostasis or person without confusion, change, division, or separation.
In conclusion, St. Cyril of Alexandria was a remarkable theologian and bishop who left an indelible mark on Christian history. His quotes offer profound insights into the nature of God, the person of Christ, and the transformative power of faith. Through his teachings, St. Cyril continues to inspire and guide believers in their understanding of the Christian faith.