Preface of the Dedication of a Church
[Common of a Theologian and Teacher]
[Common of a Pastor]
[Of the Holy Eucharist]
[On the Anniversary of the Dedication of a Church]
PRAYER (traditional language)
Strengthen, O God, thy Church in the sacraments of thy grace, that we, in union with the teaching and prayers of thy servant Cyril of Jerusalem, may enter more fully into thy Paschal mystery; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
PRAYER (contemporary language)
Strengthen, O God, your Church in the sacraments of your grace, that we, in union with the teaching and prayers of your servant Cyril of Jerusalem, may enter more fully into your Paschal mystery; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Lessons revised at GC 2009.
Collects revised at GC 2015.
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CYRIL OF JERUSALEM
BISHOP AND THEOLOGIAN (18 MAR 386)
was born in Jerusalem around 315, and became bishop of that city in about
349. The years between the Council of Nicea (325) and the Council of Constantinople
(381) were troubled years, in which the Church, having committed itself
at Nicea, over the strenuous protests of the Arians, to the proposition
that the Son is "one in being" (homo-ousios) with the
Father, began to backtrack and consider whether there was some other formula
that would adequately express the Lordship of Christ but not be "divisive."
Experience with other ways of stating what Christians believed about the
Son and his relation to the Father finally led the Church to conclude
that the Nicene formulation was the only way of safeguarding the doctrine
that Thomas spoke truly (John 20:28) when he said to Jesus, "My Lord
and My God!" But this was not obvious from the beginning, and Cyril
was among those who looked for a way of expressing the doctrine that
would be acceptable to all parties. As a result, he was exiled from his
bishopric three times, for a total of sixteen years, once by the Athanasians
and twice by the Arians. He eventually came to the conclusion, as did
most other Christians of the time, that there was no alternative to the
Nicene formula, and in 381 he attended the Council of Constantinople and
voted for that position.
Cyril is author of the Catecheses,
or Catechatical Lectures on the Christian Faith. These consist of an
introductory lecture, then eighteen lectures on the Christian Faith to be delivered during
Lent to those about to be baptized at Easter, and then five lectures on the Sacraments to
be delivered after Easter to the newly baptized. These have been translated into English
(F L Cross, 1951), and are the oldest such lectures surviving. (It is thought that they
were used over and over by Cyril and his successors, and that they may have undergone some
revision in the process.)
Every year, thousands of Christian pilgrims came
to Jerusalem, especially for Holy Week. It is probably Cyril who instituted
the liturgical forms for that week as they were observed in Jerusalem
at the pilgrimage sites, were spread to other churches by returning pilgrims,
and have come down to us today, with the procession with palms on Palm
Sunday, and the services for the following days, culminating in the celebration
of the Resurrection on Easter Sunday. We have a detailed
account of Holy Week observances in Jerusalem in the fourth century,
thanks to a a Spanish nun named Egeria who made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem
and kept a journal which is a historian's delight.
by James Kiefer