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June 27 Saints of the Day – Sampson the Hospitable and Cyril of Alexandria

On this date in 1985, U.S. Route 66 was decommissioned. Brill Building hitmakers quickly repenned an old classic into “Get Your Kicks On Interstates 55, 44, 40, 15, 215, 10, and/or 25.”

Sampson the HospitableSampson the Hospitable (d. ca. 530), born of high-placed parents in Rome, studied as a doctor in Rome, and served for a time in that city, providing his services without charge (or cash or check). When his folks died he gave away all their money, set the slaves free, and caught a ship leaving Rome at 12:00 sailing east at 10 miles per hour. He was thinking of becoming a hermit, but got a Godgram that deflected him to Constantinople to continue his charitable medical work. There he treated and housed the poor, sick, homeless, wanderers — the huddled masses. In time he was granted the ability to work healing miracles, which helped in his practice greatly, medicine being what it was in those days. The Patriarch was so impressed he made him a priest, although he went right on treating the sick.

His most prestigious patient was Emperor Justinian, who had contracted some malady that none of the other physicians in the capital were able to heal. Hearing that Sampson was mighty, he called for him. Sampson laid his hand on the affected area and prayed, and just like that, the emperor was healed. He wanted to reward Sampson with silver and gold and stuff like that, but Sampson said that he would rather have a shiny new hospice, so Justinian built him one. There he worked for the rest of his life, dying after a short illness. He kept an eye on the place, however, and twice came back to scold a lazy and negligent worker. The hospice became a church-plus-hospice, and escaped the terrible fire through a rain brought by Sampson’s prayers.

Cyril of AlexandriaCyril of Alexandria (376 – 444), nephew to the Patriarch of Alexandria, received training in grammar (O! that more people would receive training in grammar!), rhetoric, humanities, theology, and biblical studies (in precisely that order). He did not study mathematics, philosophy, or astronomy, which from my point of view is a shame, but they didn’t ask me. When Unc died, Cyril was chosen to replace him, although not unanimously. He immediately set about shutting down the churches of Novatians, a schismatic group opposed to forgiving Christians who apostatized and then repented. He also clashed with Orestes, the local Prefect, over who had authority over what.

A few unfortunate incidents will need to be admitted, with the proviso that Cyril’s actual approval or participation in them is questioned. One involved monks attacking the Prefect; another involved Christians killing a philosopher, and yet another involved a riot in which many Jews were killed. One hopes Cyril’s relation to these things was on the up-and-up, but certainly he would have repented of them if not.

Next came Nestorius, who taught that Christ was actually two persons, a divine and a human, and denied the title “Theotokos” (“God bearer” or “Mother of God”) to the Blessed Virgin. Cyril wrote him saying that seemed kind of heretical, and Nestorius replied not-nicely. The two appealed to Pope Celestine, who sided with Cyril and threatened Nestorius with excommunication. When Nestorius refused to recant, Cyril called the Council of Ephesus in 431 (not sure what he called them). Nestorius and his teachings were condemned. Six days after the council was convened, a troupe of bishops led by John of Antioch arrived, ready to side with Nestorius. Rather than join the council (one source says Cyril refused to seat them), they held their own, which condemned Cyril. Both sides appealed to the emperor, who (not in the mood for conflict) (they were making him miss the Sopranos) arrested both Cyril and Nestorius. Legates from the Pope arrived, however, affirming the council and annulling the charge against Cyril.

After the council, Cyril pretty much calmed down, and was even reconciliatory toward the more moderate Nestorians. He left reams of writings of great erudition and elocution, and is a bona-fide Doctor of the Church. He is the patron of Alexandria.


Copyright © 2013 Alex Riggle. All Rights Reserved.


Bibliography
June 27 (Wikipedia)
U.S. Route 66 (Wikipedia)
St Sampson the Hospitable of Constantinople (OCA) – Main source
Sampson the Hospitable (Wikipedia)
Cyril of Alexandria (St. Patrick DC) – Main source 1 of 2
Cyril of Alexandria (Wikipedia) – Main source 2 of 2
Saint Cyril of Alexandria (SQPN)
Novatianism (Wikipedia)

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About Your Intrepid Blogger

I live in the Tacoma area. When not writing things some people think are funny, I teach technology to 7th and 8th graders at a local middle school.

3 comments on “June 27 Saints of the Day – Sampson the Hospitable and Cyril of Alexandria

  1. Rome is on the west coast of Italy, halfway up the peninsula. To catch a boat sailing east from Rome would truly be a miracle of the highest order and should have been noted as such by your source.

  2. […] Orthodox Church in America – St Sampson the Hospitable of Constantinople The Onion Dome – June 27 Saints of the Day – Sampson the Hospitable and Cyril of Alexandria Mystagogy – St. Sampson the […]

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