An interesting read from a Doctor of the Church As I understand it, St Cyril delivered these homilies to catechumens awaiting baptism on Easter in the mid 4th Century from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre itself Quite a bit of interesting history in the introduction in the version I read, anyway about Cyril s time as Bishop of Jerusalem, the conflict between the Catholic and Arian beliefs, Roman interference with the governance of the church, etc As to the lectures, they are delivered in a An interesting read from a Doctor of the Church As I understand it, St Cyril delivered these homilies to catechumens awaiting baptism on Easter in the mid 4th Century from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre itself Quite a bit of interesting history in the introduction in the version I read, anyway about Cyril s time as Bishop of Jerusalem, the conflict between the Catholic and Arian beliefs, Roman interference with the governance of the church, etc As to the lectures, they are delivered in a lively manner, clearly introductory in depth though there are a few surprises for those looking for them Looking back over 1,600 years, one is surprised by how little things have changed in the theology, and though the liturgy is not identical there arethan enough familiar elements to know what is going on He does stumble on the Book of Revelation the end times will come within the era of the Roman Empire and believing the phoenix to be real in fairness, he was quoting experts of his time rather than claiming it first hand , but overall worth the message of hope he offers his listeners This book presented to me a hermeneutical and aesthetic challenge I began reading it due to my interest in liturgy and sacramental theology I finished it realizing how much of the Enlightenment air I breathe.Part of the difficulty in reading this work is that St Cyril simply does not think like we do He sees pictures and symbols and has no problems making connections This can make the work frustrating to the reader These six lectures deal with the symbolism behind eastern Patristic sacramen This book presented to me a hermeneutical and aesthetic challenge I began reading it due to my interest in liturgy and sacramental theology I finished it realizing how much of the Enlightenment air I breathe.Part of the difficulty in reading this work is that St Cyril simply does not think like we do He sees pictures and symbols and has no problems making connections This can make the work frustrating to the reader These six lectures deal with the symbolism behind eastern Patristic sacramental thinking It is not so much a theology of the sacraments but a demonstration of the sacramental life of his church In preparing for baptism and the Eucharist, the catechumen will face the West, publically renounce Satan and his works, have her head and lips anointed with oil, etc.St Cyril then gives exegetical reasoning behind these actions While we will not find his reasoning persuasive, it is interesting that he appeals to Scripture for his arguments A few interesting highlights St Cyril notes that the gates of Paradise are opened to the initiate following baptism He places paradisal living within the current lifetime Also, for those who participate in covenant renewal services, much of our liturgy has ancient roots in the 4th century e.g., Life up your heartswe lift them to the Lord St Cyril of Jerusalem provides lectures concerning the Eucharist, Baptism, Chrismation, and Confession in this work It is worth a read if one is interested in an ancient catechesis of the first few Mysteries of the Church. Short but powerful lectures to encourage and uplift in Christ The introduction was too much in the weeds for me though.From On the Baptismal Rites O strange and incredible thing We did not really die, we were not really buried, we were not really crucified and raised our imitation was in an image, but our salvation was real Christ was truly crucified, and buried and raised up, and all these things he graciously gave to us, so that by the imitation of his passion we might gain participation Short but powerful lectures to encourage and uplift in Christ The introduction was too much in the weeds for me though.From On the Baptismal Rites O strange and incredible thing We did not really die, we were not really buried, we were not really crucified and raised our imitation was in an image, but our salvation was real Christ was truly crucified, and buried and raised up, and all these things he graciously gave to us, so that by the imitation of his passion we might gain participation in salvation in reality O surpassing love of humanity Christ received the nails in his pure hands and suffered, and to me grants salvation without my suffering and pain, through sharing his suffering Like all early church fathers, this one is a mixed bag The lecture on the eucharistic food is amazing, the one that follows gives the first inklings of the Papistic eucharistic sacrifice The initial chapter on baptism is wonderful in extolling the gifts the one on chrismation is contrived.So, I m glad that I read it, but like is usually the case, reading the fathers is picking out diamonds among fields of coal. St Cyril s lectures on the sacrament showed this naive former Protestant just how consistent tradition has been throughout the CENTURIES The Eucharist described here is about 80 the same as my current Parish, its remarkable Further, St Cyril s emphasis on stages of faith if you will, is deeply resonant with my experience, so much so that I wonder up until I abandoned Evangelicalism had I merely been a catechumen, who God saw ready to enter into the mysteries deeper Content is incredible and is a good guide to understanding sacraments and the process of becoming catechumens and then becoming fully united to the Church However, translation is in old English which is unnecessary The Greek and English texts are available in the book yet they are not side by side but rather separate unlike the way On the Incarnation by Athanasius is published. These lectures on the Christian Sacraments were delivered in Jerusalem in the mid fourth century, as an exposition of the rites of Christian initiation Baptism, Chrismation and the Eucharist for the newly baptized A rich source of information on the worship of the early Church With parallel Greek text Easy to read and thorough Interesting to see how baptism was handled in Jerusalem during the 4th century, as well as the Eucharist If you are reading this review it probably means your are interested in the subject matter, and so I recommend it. Of particular interest to me was reading about the early Church s 4th century view of baptism and communion, in which they are not mere symbols but actually accomplish a purpose beyond mere obedience to a command.