St. Cyril : Who was St. Cyril?

Prayer to Saint Cyril*


Saint Cyril, we are gathered here
With fervent hearts and true
To dedicate this church to God
And name it after you
Because we love you for your faith
In Christ’s Divinity
In Blessed Virgin Mary and
The Holy Family
You suffered your imprisonment
You scorned the threats they made
And by your piousness you showed
That you were not afraid
We honor your abiding faith
And we will keep it strong
With praise to God and Mary in
Our every prayer and song
Saint Cyril, bless our parish church
And pray for us each day
That we may grow more worthy as
We imitate your way


The below prayer is a salute to Mary attributed to St. Cyril of Alexandria:

"We salute you, O Mary, Mother of God, treasure of the universe, inextinguishable flame, crown of virginity, scepter of the true Faith, indestructible temple, tabernacle of the One Whom the world cannot contain, and Mother and Virgin. In your virginal womb you enclosed the Immense and Incomprehensible One.  Through you the Trinity is glorified and the Cross is celebrated and adored everywhere on earth. Through you the heavens exult with joy, the Angels and Archangels are glad, demons are put to flight, the demon temptor is cast out of heaven, and our fallen nature has again been assumed into heaven. It is through you that the only-begotten Son of God, Who is light, shone amid the nations who were seated in darkness and the shadow of death. What human voice can ever worthily celebrate the ineffable greatness of Mary? She is Mother and Virgin at the same time. Through her peace has been restored to the world. What peace? Our Lord Jesus Christ, whom Mary has brought forth!"


Who was St. Cyril?

st cyrilBorn in Alexandria, Egypt, St. Cyril was a scholar and theologian.  Cyril was known for composing treatises, dogmatic letters and sermons.  His lasting contributions to the Catholic faith include his powerful and persuasive writings supporting the belief in Christ having two perfect and distinct natures, divine and human and Mary’s unique role as mother of God.     

Cyril succeeded his uncle, Theophilus, as the patriarch of Alexandria on October 18, 412.  Throughout his life, Cyril overcame riots, accusations of heresy, and imprisonment.

Declared a doctor of the Church by Pope Leo XIII in 1882, Cyril’s writings and explanations of critical theological elements are hailed as brilliant. A champion of Mary’s divine motherhood, St. Cyril of Alexandria contributed to the growth of Marian devotion throughout the world.  The term “Mother of God” and “God-bearer” are most often associated with Cyril and his writings.  Cyril affirmed that in the absence of Mary, there would be no Christ, no redeemer. Clarification of beliefs central to the Catholic faith including the Trinity and the Incarnation are also among undertakings credited to Cyril.

Cyril died in June 444.  Feast: June 27.


*Prayer to St. Cyril -This poem-prayer to St. Cyril of Alexandria was written by the well-known American poet, James J. Metcalfe (1906-1960) of Chicago and Dallas.  Metcalfe’s poems appeared in a daily syndicated column in more than 100 U.S. newspapers in the 1940s and ‘50s.  In addition, he wrote 17 books of poetry, many published by Doubleday.  The prayer to St. Cyril, written in 1954, appears to have been composed specifically for our church dedication that same year. (The specifics of the commission have been lost.  If you have information about this poem, please contact us).