St Cyril the Bishop of Turov

Saint Cyril, Bishop of Turov, was born of rich parents in the thirties of the twelfth century in the city of Turov at the River Pripyat.

From his early years St Cyril eagerly read the sacred books and attained a profound understanding of them. He studied not only in Russian, but also in Greek. When he reached maturity St Cyril refused his inheritance and was tonsured in Turov’s St Boris and Gleb monastery. He struggled much in fasting and prayer and taught the monks to obey the igumen. A monk who is not obedient to the igumen does not fulfill his vow, and therefore is not able to be saved.

Three writings of St Cyril on monastic life have survived, one of which, “A Narrative on the Black Clergy from the Old Law and from the New,” may be ascribed to a period of his being in the monastery.

After a certain while St Cyril lived on a pillar, where he increased his asceticism, and meditated on the Holy Scripture. Many turned to him for counsel in the spiritual life.

St Cyril’s holiness of life and profound enlightenment became known to many, and so he was chosen as Bishop of Turov. In 1169 St Cyril took part in a council censuring Bishop Theodore, who occupied the Vladimir-Suzdal cathedra and who sought to separate from the metropolitanate of Kiev. St Cyril denounced the heresy of Theodore and wrote many letters to the holy prince Andrew Bogoliubsky (July 4), in which he provided him instruction and guidance in discovering the cause of church disorders in the Rostov region.

Because of his love for solitude, St Cyril left his See (by the year 1182, Bishop Laurence is mentioned as the Bishop of Turov) and he devoted himself fully to spiritual writing. He composed a discourse on the yearly cycle of the Lord’s Feasts, but not all of them have been preserved. The works of St Cyril deserve a place beside the works of the holy Fathers in book collections.

The most complete collection of works by St Cyril of Turov, published by Bishop Eugenius of Turov in 1880, includes:

Sermon on Palm Sunday, from Gospel accounts

Sermon on Holy Pascha on the Radiant Day of the Resurrection of Christ, from the prophetic accounts

Sermon on the Sunday after Pascha, on the Renewal of the Resurrection, on the Artos [loaf blessed on Pascha], and on Thomas Touching the Side of the Lord

Sermon on Taking down the Body of Christ and on the Myrrh-bearing Women, from the Gospel account, and in praise of Joseph on the Third Sunday After Pascha

Sermon on the Paralytic from Genesis and from the Gospel account, on the Fourth Sunday After Pascha

Sermon on the Blind man and the enmity of the Jews from the Gospel account, on the Fourth Sunday After Pascha

Sermon on the Ascension of the Lord, on Thursday of the Sixth Week After Pascha, from prophetic decrees, and on Raising the Race of Adam from Hades

Sermon on the Holy 318 Fathers, from the Holy Books, on Christ the Son of God, and in praise of the Fathers of the Holy Council of Nicea, on the Sunday Before Pentecost

Parable on the Blind and the Lame

Parable on the Human Soul, and on the Body, and on Breaking God’s Commandments, and on the Resurrection of the Human Body, and on the Future Judgment, and on the Torment

Narrative on the Black Clergy, from the Old Testament and from the New, bearing a common form, and the accomplishing of this matter

To Igumen Basil: a Parable on the White Clergy, and on Monasticism, and on the Soul, and on Repentance

Letter of a certain Elder to the Blessed Archimandrite Basil on the Schema

Four Prayers on Sunday (after Matins, Hours, and two after Vespers)

Four Prayers on Monday

Four Prayers on Tuesday

Five Prayers on Wednesday (after Matins, Hours, and three after Vespers)

Three Prayers on Thursday (after Matins, Hours, Vespers)

Four Prayers on Friday (after Matins, Hours, and two after Vespers)

Six Prayers on Saturday (two after Matins, one after Hours, and three after Vespers)

Molieben Canon

Confession and Remembrance.

Later, the “Sermon on the Enlightenment of our Lord Jesus Christ” was discovered. The saint also composed a “Great Canon of Repentance to the Lord in Alphabetic Chapters.” As a theologian St Cyril believed his task was to discern the true and hidden meaning of various texts of Holy Scripture.

St Cyril died on April 28, 1183. His contemporaries regarded him as a Russian Chrysostom. The saint humbly wrote of himself: “I am not a harvester, but I gather sheaves of grain; I am not an artist in literary matters.” He was always conscious of the sublime hierarchical service to which the Lord had called him: “If I were to speak of my own opinions, you would do well not to come to church, but I proclaim to you the Word of God. I read to you the accounts of Christ. I present to you the words of God, finer than gold or other stones, sweeter than mead or honeycomb, and you would be deprived of them by not coming to church, ... but I praise and bless those of you who do come.”