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Cyril of Jerusalem: First Lecture on the Mysteries (XIX) Introduction

Who: Bishop of Jerusalem and Doctor of the Church,1 born about 315 AD; died 386 AD. Little is known of his life, except from some information gathered from his younger contemporaries: Epiphanius, Jerome, and Rufinus; as well as from the fifth-century historians, Socrates, Sozomen and Theodoret.

What: Each of the lectures deal with a different topic to teach converts the mysteries of the Church, particularly: rites of the renunciation of Satan and his works, of anointing with oil, of baptism, of anointing with the holy chrism,2 and of partaking of the body and blood of Christ.

Why: Cyril delivered to new converts five lectures “On the Mysteries”, in which he explains the rites by which they have been admitted to fellowship in the church, after they had been baptised.

When: Around 348-350 AD


1This was a title given to certain people on account of the great advantage the whole Church has obtained from their doctrine.

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2Chrism, also called myrrh. A holy anointing and consecrated oil used in the administration of certain sacraments. It is still used today in various older denominations.

Keywords: Cyril of Jerusalem Catechetical Lectures post-nicene fathers introduction baptism