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June 9, 2010

The Reconciliation Between St. Cyril of Alexandria and St. John Chrysostom

Theophilos, the Patriarch of Alexandria, and uncle of Cyril of Alexandria, was an antagonist of John Chrysostom (Nov. 13), and presided in a synod in judgment of him. Cyril thus found himself in a circle antagonistic to John Chrysostom, and involuntarily acquired a prejudice against him. Isidore of Pelusium (Feb. 4) repeatedly wrote to Cyril and urged him to include the name of this great Father of the Church into the diptychs, but Cyril would not agree.

Once in a dream Cyril saw a wondrous temple, in which the Mother of God was surrounded by a host of angels and saints, in whose number was John Chrysostom. When Cyril wanted to approach the All-Holy Lady and venerate her, John Chrysostom would not let him. The Theotokos asked John to forgive Cyril for having sinned against him through ignorance. Seeing that John hesitated, the Mother of God said, "Forgive him for my sake, since he has labored much for my honor, and has glorified me among the people calling me Theotokos." John answered, "By your intercession, Lady, I do forgive him," and then he embraced Cyril with love.

Cyril repented that he had maintained anger against the great Saint of God. Having convened all the Egyptian bishops, he celebrated a solemn feast in honor of John Chrysostom.

By St. Nikolai Velimirovich

We sin if we consider it a duty to also hate those whom our relatives hate. This hatred passes on to us like a family sickness. In adopting the love of our relatives, we also adopt their hatreds. Sometimes even the great spiritual giants succumbed to that weakeness.

Patriarch Theophilos disliked St. John Chrysostom and remained his bitter enemy even until death. Saint Cyril, his kinsman and successor to the throne of Alexandria, inherited that hatred against Chrysostom the Saint and, for a long time, bore this hatred within himself. In vain did Saint Isidore of Pelusium advise Cyril to change his opinion about Chrysostom and to enter his name in the Diptych of the Saints but Cyril could not change his evil will. Then the All-Holy Birth-giver of God, for whose glory and honor Cyril fought so much against Nestorius, appeared to Cyril in a vision with a multitude of angels and with John Chyrsostom in great glory. The Holy and All-Pure One begged Chrysostom to forgive Cyril. Then Chrysostom approached Cyril, they embraced and kissed one another. This vision completely changed the feelings of Cyril toward Chrysostom and Cyril repented with shame because he unreasonably hated Chrysostom. That is why to his death Cyril did everything in order to highly praise Chrysostom as a great Saint of God.