Commemorated on April 28
(Cyril), Bishop of Turov, was born of rich parents in the 30's of the XII
Century in the city of Turov at the River Pripyat.
From his early years
Saint Kirill eagerly read the sacred books and attained to profound
understanding of them. He studied not only in Russian, but also in Greek. At
the age of maturity Saint Kirill refused his inheritance and took vows in the
Turov Borisoglebsk monastery. He asceticised much in fasting and prayer and
drilled the monks for full obedience to the hegumen: a monk, who is not found
in obedience to the hegumen would not fulfill his vow and therefore is not able
to be saved.
There are preserved three
compositions of Saint Kirill about monastic life, one of which – "The
Narrative about the Black-Robed Order from the Old Law and from the New"
– might be imputed to a period of his being in the monastery.
After a certain while
Saint Kirill withdrew into seclusion upon a pillar, where he intensified his
asceticism still more and "to interpret much the Holy Scripture".
Many turned to him for counsel in the spiritual life.
The holiness of life
and profound enlightenment of Saint Kirill brought widespread attention upon
him, and they chose him for the Turov cathedra. In the year 1169 Saint Kirill
took part in a Council, censuring Bishop Theodore (Feodor), who occupied the
Vladimir-Suzdal' cathedra and who sought to separate from the Kiev
metropolitanate. Saint Kirill denounced the heresy of Theodore and composed
many letters to holy prince Andrei Bogoliubsky (Comm. 4 July), in which he
instructed him and provided him guidance into the cause of church disorders in
the Rostov' region.
Out of his love for
solitude, Saint Kirill left the cathedra (by the year 1182, under which there
is already mentioned the Turov bishop Lavrentii) and he devoted himself fully
to the writing of spiritual compositions. He composed, indeed, a discourse on
all the yearly cycle of the Lord's feasts, but not all of them have been
preserved. The works of Saint Kirill merit a place in book-collections
alongside the works of the holy patristic fathers.
The most complete
collection of works by Sainted Kirill (Cyril) of Turov, published by the Turov
bishop Evgenii in 1880, includes: 1) Sermon on Palm Sunday, from Gospel
accounts; 2) Sermon on Holy Pascha on the Radiant Day of the Resurrection of
Christ, from the prophetic accounts; 3) Sermon on the new Sunday after Pascha,
about the Renewal of the Resurrection, about the Artos [loaf blessed on
Pascha], and about Thomas touching the Side of the Lord; 4) Sermon about the
Taking-down the Body of Christ and about the Myrh-bearing Women, from the
Gospel account, and praise of Joseph on the 3rd Sunday after Pascha; 5) Sermon
about the Paralytic from Genesis and from the Gospel account, on the 4th Sunday
after Pascha; 6) Sermon about the Blind-man and the enmity of the Jews from the
Gospel account, on the 4th Sunday after Pascha; 7) Sermon about the
Ascension of the Lord, on Thursday of the 6th Week after Pascha, from prophetic
decrees, and about the Resuscitation of the Race of Adam from Hades;
8) Sermon on the Holy 318 Fathers, from the Holy Books, decreeing about
Christ the Son of God, and Praise to the Fathers of the Holy Nicea Council
(Sobor), on the Sunday before Pentecost; 9) Parable about the Blind and the
Lame; 10) Parable about the Human Soul, and about the Body, and the Breaking of
God's Commandments, and about the Resurrection of the Body of Man, and about
the Future Judgement, and about the Torment; 11) Narrative about the
Black-Robed Order, from the Old Testament and from the New, bearing a form in
common, and about the accomplishing of this matter; 12) Account to Hegumen
Vasilii: a Parable about White-Robed Men, and about Monasticism, and about the
Soul, and about Repentance; 13) Letter of a certain Starets (Elder) to the
Blest-of-God Archimandrite Vasilii about the Schema; 14) Four Prayers on Sunday
(after Matins, Hours, and 2 after Vespers); 15) Four Prayers on Monday; 16)
Four Prayers on Tuesday; 17) Five Prayers on Wednesday (after Matins, Hours,
and 3 after Vespers); 18) Three Prayers on Thursday (after Matins, Hours,
Vespers); 19) Four Prayers on Friday (after Matins, Hours, and 2 after
Vespers); 20) Six Prayers on Saturday (2 after Matins, 1 after Hours, and 3
after Vespers); 21) Molieben Canon; 22) Confession and Remembrance. Later
on was discovered the "Sermon on the Enlightenment of our Lord Jesus
Christ". It is known, that the saint composed also a "Great Canon of
Repentance to the Lord in alphabetic Chapters". As a theologian Saint Kirill
saw his task in this, to discern the true and hidden thought of this or that
text of Holy Scripture.
Sainted Kirill died
on 28 April in about the year 1183. From his contemporaries he received the
title of being a Russian "Zlatoust'" (Chrysostomos). About himself
the saint humbly wrote: "I am not an harvester, but I gather up sheaves of
grain; I am not an artist in book matters", – always however, conscious
of the sublime hierarchical service in which the Lord established him: "If
I were to speak of myself, ye would have done well not to have come into the
church. But I proclaim to you the Word of God, I read to you the account of
Christ... I do distribute forth the words of God, finer than gold or other
stones, more sweet, than mead or honeycomb, and ye would be deprived of them,
not having come to church,... but ye, having come, I do praise and bless".
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.