Saturday, June 24, 2006

Great Bastards of the Christian Faith #1

This is the first of what I hope will be a series of brief pieces on some of the great figures of the Christian Faith. Why? Because I am sick to death of hearing how great Christians are morally, it's about time they took a long hard look at what Christianity has done for the world.

Great bastards of the Christian Faith

#1 Saint Cyril of Alexandria

Bio:
Cyril I (376Â?June 27, 444), surnamed The Pillar of Faith, was Patriarch of Alexandria. He is revered as a saint by the Roman Catholic Church, the Oriental Orthodox Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church. In 1883 the Holy See declared him a Doctor of the Church. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyril_of_Alexandria)

Reasons for Nomination:

1) Responsible for driving the Jews out of Alexandria

2) Caused continual civil disturbance.
Cyril, making use of a 500-strong private militia, began to exert his authority in the temporal as well as in the spiritual sphere, and thus he came into conflict with the civil governor, Orestes, in the course of a series of increasingly violent confrontations between the various factions in the city. In 415 and as the violence escalated, his powerful militia made a direct assassination attempt on Orestes himself. However this failed and the governor was able to apprehend one of the ringleaders, whom he tortured so severely that the man died. Cyril was furious and, managing to get hold of the body, pronounced over it a ceremony of canonisation, enrolling the would-be assassin in the calendar of the saints (where incidentally he remained until this century). (http://www.abc.net.au/rn/science/ockham/or030897.htm)

3) Responsible for the death of Callistus, prefect of Egypt

4) Incited mob violence that killed Hypatia a renowned scholar.
Socrates Scholasticus described her death thus in his Ecclesiastical History:
"Yet even she fell a victim to the political jealousy which at that time prevailed. For as she had frequent interviews with Orestes, it was calumniously reported among the Christian populace, that it was she who prevented Orestes from being reconciled to the bishop. Some of them therefore, hurried away by a fierce and bigoted zeal, whose ringleader was a reader named Peter, waylaid her returning home, and dragging her from her carriage, they took her to the church called Caesareum, where they completely stripped her, and then murdered her with tiles. After tearing her body in pieces, they took her mangled limbs to a place called Cinaron, and there burnt them. This affair brought not the least opprobrium, not only upon Cyril, but also upon the whole Alexandrian church. And surely nothing can be farther from the spirit of Christianity than the allowance of massacres, fights, and transactions of that sort. This happened in the month of March during Lent, in the fourth year of Cyril's episcopate, under the tenth consulate of Honorius, and the sixth of Theodosius [AD 415]."

Let us all pause and remember this great man of faith who truly showed the morality of the Christian faith.

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