The Armenian Church commemorates the memory of the Patriarch, St Cyril of Jerusalem (315-386) twice during the year. He was a doctor of the church and had a pleasant and conciliatory disposition. However, he lived at a time when bishops were embroiled in bitter controversies and were quick to condemn any attempts at compromise, even calling such attempts as treason. Sixteen of his thirty five years as a bishop were spent in exile. When a famine hit Jerusalem, he sold some of the possessions of the church to raise money for the poor starving people. He was condemned for selling church property and banished.
St Cyril participated in the Second Ecumenical Council of Constantinople. Many sermons and speeches of the Patriarch Cyril, about Christian doctrine, have been translated into Armenian. His letter addressed to the King Costandios on the occasion of the apparition of the Holy Cross in the sky of Jerusalem is read in the Armenian churches. According to tradition, the basin in which Patriarch Cyril was baptised is inside the Chapel of St Stephen of the Church of St Hagop (St. James), of Jerusalem.
His best known work that has survived, “The Catechetical Lectures,” is believed to be one of the earliest systematic accounts of Christian theology. The lectures consist of an introductory lecture, followed by eighteen lectures on the Christian faith given during Lent to those preparing to be baptised on Easter, as well as five lectures on the sacraments of baptism and Eucharist delivered after Easter. The lectures have been translated into many languages, including English and Armenian, and are noted for their presentation of the Christian faith in a positive light whilst maintaining a balance between correct belief and holy action.
Thousands of pilgrims annually come to Jerusalem for Holy Week. St Cyril instituted the liturgical forms for that week as they were observed in Jerusalem. A detailed account of Holy Week observances in Jerusalem in the fourth century is now available thanks to a woman named Egeria (Etheria), believed to be a Spanish nun, who made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and kept a journal describing the liturgical practices at the various holy sites.
St. Cyril the Bishop is the contemporary of St. Cyril the Patriarch. His secular name is Huda. According to hagiographical sources, Bishop Cyril helped the queen Heghine (Helen) to find the Holy Cross of Christ. Witnessing the wonder working power of the Holy Cross, Bishop Cyril was baptised, together with his mother, Anna, and after the baptism was renamed “Cyril”. Later he was ordained as a bishop and during the period of exile of the Patriarch Cyril, he took his place for a period of time. Being subjected to various tortures, Bishop Cyril and his mother were killed during the persecutions of the King Julianos, the Betrayer.