Cyril was born c. 376, the nephew of the Patriarch of Alexandria, and upon his uncle’s death, Cyrus assumed that exalted position—Alexandria then being the second largest city in the Roman Empire. Once in power, Cyril took the following actions: First, he closed the Alexandrian churches of the Novatians—a sect that did not accept the bishop of Rome as authoritative for their lives and actions—and confiscated all their sacred vessels and ornaments.
Next, Cyril drove Jews out of Alexandria—a population that had been firmly ensconced there since the days of Alexander the Great (in other words, for over six hundred years). The putative reason is that some of these Jews were “seditious”—although the Governor of Alexandria, Orestes, did not so find. And Cyril did not stop with expelling the ones he deemed seditious but saw to it that the entire city was ethnically cleansed of every single Jew that he could locate.
Then the followers of Cyril, whose actions he did not disavow (there being good people on both sides of the matter) targeted pagans. In particular, they set upon a highly regarded philosopher named Hypatia, whom the Governor supported and people from many countries came to consult. These pro-Cyril types “pulled [Hypatia] out of her chariot, cut and mangled her flesh, and tore her body in pieces in the streets” under the guise of stating that she was responsible for the Governor’s dislike of their bishop. Butler writes that these actions were not, I repeat not, definitely not, utterly not at the direction of Cyril. Fake news!
Thereafter, Cyril devoted himself to disputing heretics of areas outside his own district, making him even more invaluable to Rome and eventually leading to his sanctification as a Saint and designation as a true “Church Father.”
- Be born rich and capitalize on that wealth.
- Ascend to power and shut down all rivals within your sphere of influence, taking their possessions.
- Get rid of those who do not submit to your authority because of their ethnic heritage.
- Get rid of political enemies while disavowing responsibility for your followers’ acts. And if your political enemy is a well-respected woman, then so much the better.
- Begin broadcasting your ways and means abroad.
- You’re a saint!