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  • Writer's pictureGrace Episcopal Church

St. Cyril of Jerusalem

By Fr. Daniel Pinell

On March 18th the Church commemorated Cyril of Jerusalem. He was born around 315 in Jerusalem. He was born to Christian parents, and he later became part of a community that practiced chastity, prayer, and asceticism. He became Bishop of Jerusalem in 349, and he is now mostly remembered for his fight against the heresy of Arianism. Arians believed Jesus was not God and not one with the Father.

But did you know he also instituted the practice of Holy Week? Every year, thousands of pilgrims came to Jerusalem for Holy Week. Cyril instituted the liturgical forms for that week as was observed in Jerusalem at the pilgrimage sites. These included the procession with palms of Palm Sundays and the other services for Holy Week, like Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, culminating with the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus on Easter Sunday. These liturgical practices were then spread to other churches when the pilgrims returned to their local churches.

As we head to Holy Week soon, let us remember that millions of Christians for almost two thousand years have worshipped in a similar way we soon will!

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