St. Kyrillos (Cyril) I and His Holiness, the late Pope Kyrillos (Cyril) VI are regarded as the patrons of the trust, acting as our intercessors and advocates in heaven.
St. Kyrillos I, the 24th Pope of Alexandria
This saint was the son of the sister of Pope Theophilus. He was raised by his uncle at the school of Alexandria where he was educated in its theological and philosophical subjects needed to defend Christianity and the Orthodox faith. After he learned a great deal, his uncle sent him to the monastery of St. Macarius in the wilderness.
After he spent five years in the wilderness, Pope Theophilus sent him to Abba Sarapion, the honourable bishop, to increase his wisdom and knowledge. He taught him the church books and the sayings of the fathers. He trained his mind and body by practising the works of righteousness and virtues. Shortly after, the bishop returned him to Alexandria. His uncle was rejoiced, ordained him a deacon, appointed him a preacher in the cathedral and made him his scribe. Whenever Kyrillos gave a sermon, he captured the hearts of his listeners with his eloquence, fluency, and his strong influence. He was known for his vast knowledge, his great righteousness, and his deep influence in his teaching.
When his uncle Pope Theophilus departed on October 15th, 412 AD, they enthroned this father in his place on October 17th, 412 AD. The church was illumined with his knowledge, and he gave special attention to resisting paganism and defending the Christian faith.
He wrote many discourses and valuable epistles, confirming in them, that God the Word is One Nature, One Will, and One Person incarnated. He anathematized anyone who separated Christ or differed from this true faith.
On June 27th, 444 AD, the great father, the pillar of faith and the lamp of the Orthodox church, St. Kyrillos (Cyril) I, the Alexandrian Pope, and the twenty-fourth Patriarch of the See of St. Mark, departed in peace.
His Holiness Pope Kyrillos (Cyril) VI, the 115th successor to St. Mark the Evangelist
The Great Pope Kyrillos (Cyril) VI was a holy man who through full dedication to the life of prayer and fasting possessed many higher gifts which included performing wonders and miracles, the gift of knowledge, and an unusual ability to lead by example which was missing for generations before his ascending to the throne of St. Mark.
Pope Kyrillos VI was born August 2, 1902 as Azer Ata, the son of a church deacon from a middle class family. After completing high school, Azer went to work for a shipping company in Alexandria. Much against his family’s wishes, he resigned his job with the intention of becoming a monk and entered the monastery of Baramous (named after Sts. Maximus and Domadius) in the Western Desert of Egypt in an area called bariaat Sheheet (the prairie of the heart’s scale). On the 25th of February, 1928, he was consecrated monk. He was given the monastic name Mina after St. Mina his patron saint. Three years later he was ordained a priest, July 18, 1931.
Fr. Mina attended the Helwan Theological College and was rated one of the top students. Later, he retired to a cave two miles away from the monastery to live a life of solitude. That is how he came to be known as Fr. Mina the Solitaire. Afterwards, he was appointed Abbott of the Monastery of St. Samuel in the eastern desert, south of Suez near the Red Sea. He devoted a great deal of effort toward the restoration of this historic landmark.
When the monastery of St. Samuel was restored, he left that area and moved to a deserted windmill south of Cairo. This is near the historic region of Old Cairo. He restored the place and built a small residence and a church on the name of St. Mina, his patron saint. He found himself surrounded with college students, many of them from outside Cairo, so, he started a dormitory for students who needed this service. This informal program produced the first church affiliated dorm in modern times in Egypt, and produced countless church leaders, some of whom are our present bishops, priests, and Laity leaders.
In May, 1959, Fr. Mina Al-Mota-Wahed became pope and patriarch, and was called Pope Kyrillos VI. During his tenure as patriarch, many were attracted to monastic life and to the priesthood by his good example and sincere life style.
Our Father the Great Pope Kyrillos departed on March 9, 1971. It is the custom of Apostolic Churches to wait 50 years after departure, before declaring a person a saint. And although many feel deeply about the worthiness of Anba Kyrillos, we anxiously are waiting until this day comes.
May his prayers be with us. Amen.