We would like to congratulate all our students, symposia participants, friends and supporters with the feastday of the Institute: the commemoration of Sts. Cyril & Athanasius of Alexandria, celebrated today (18th / 31st January). The Institute’s feastday was marked in San Francisco with the service of a moleben followed by a full day of work, continuing preparations and registrations for our forthcoming symposium on Prayer in the Church Fathers, with Metropolitan Kallistos (Ware) and a multitude of other speakers.
The Patron Saints of the Institute
Saints Athanasius and Cyril were both archbishops in Alexandria. These wise teachers of truth and defenders of Christ’s Church share a joint Feast in recognition of their dogmatic writings which affirm the truth of the Orthodox Faith, correctly interpret the Holy Scripture, and censure the delusions of the heretics.
St Athanasius the Great the Archbishop of Alexandria
St Athanasius took part in the first Ecumenical Council when he was still a deacon. He surpassed everyone there in his zeal to uphold the teaching that Christ is consubstantial (homoousios) with the Father, and not merely a creature, as the supporters of Arius’ teachings proclaimed.
This radiant beacon of Orthodoxy spent most of his life in exile from his see, because of the plotting of his enemies. He returned to his flock as he was approaching the end of his life. Like an evening star, he illumined the Orthodox faithful with his words for a little while, then reposed in AD 373. He is also commemorated on 2nd May (the transfer of his holy relics).
St Cyril the Archbishop of Alexandria
St Cyril was the nephew of Patriarch Theophilus of Alexandria, who educated him from his youth. He succeeded to his uncle’s position in 412, but was deposed through the intrigues of the Nestorian heretics. He later resumed his see.
St Cyril presided at the third Ecumenical Council in AD 431, which censured the Nestorian blasphemy against the Most Holy Theotokos. His wise words demonstrated the error of their false doctrine.
St Cyril departed to the Lord in the year 444, and is also commemorated on 9th June (the day of his repose).