April 28, 2017

The Method By Which St. Cyril of Alexandria Corrected a Theological Error of a Holy Elder

The same Abba Daniel told of another great old man who dwelt in lower Egypt, who in his simplicity, said that Melchizedek was the son of God. When blessed Cyril, Archbishop of Alexandria, was told about this he sent someone to him. Learning that the old man was a worker of miracles and that all he asked of God was revealed to him, and that it was because of his simplicity that he had given utterance to this saying, using guile the Archbishop said to him,

"Abba, I think that Melchizedek is the son of God, while a contrary thought says to me, no, that he is simply a man, high-priest of God. Since I am thus plagued, I have sent someone to you that you may pray God to reveal to you what he is."

Confident of his gift, the old man said without hesitation,

"Give me three days, I will ask God about this matter and I will tell you who he is."

So he withdrew and prayed to God about this question. Coming three days later he said to the blessed Cyril that Melchizedek was a man.

The archbishop said to him,

"How do you know, Abba?"

He replied,

"God has shown me all the patriarchs in such a way that each one, from Adam to Melchizedek, passed before me. Therefore be sure that it is so."

Then the old man withdrew, having preached to himself that Melchizedek was a man. Then the blessed Cyril rejoiced greatly.

From the Gerontikon (Sayings of the Desert Fathers).