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Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Cyril Lucar

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(CYRILLUS LUCARIS), a Greek patriarch of Constantinople, noted for his efforts to introduce into his Church the doctrines of the Reformed (Calvinistic) churches. He was born about 1568 in Candia, which at that time was under the sovereignty of Venice and the chief seat of Greek scholarship. He studied for several years in Venice and Padua, and subsequently made a journey through several European countries. In Geneva, where he staid for some time, he became acquainted with several prominent theologians of the Reformed Church. In Lithuania he was rector of a literary institution at Ostrog, and took a prominent part in opposing the projected union of the Greek churches of Poland and Lithuania with Rome. After his return to his native land, he was soon promoted by the patriarch of Alexandria to the dignity of an archimandrite. In 1602 Cyril succeeded Meletius as patriarch of Alexandria. While holding this position he carried on an active correspondence with David le Leu, de Wilelm, and the Remonstrant Uytenbogaert of Holland, Abbot, archbishop of Canterbury, Leger, professor of Geneva, the republic of Venice, the Swedish king Gustavus Adolphus, and his chancellor, Axel Oxenstierna. Many of these letters, written in different languages, are still extant. They show that Cyril was an earnest opponent of Rome, and a great admirer of the Protestant Reformation. He sent for all the important works, Protestant and Roman Catholic, published in the Western countries, and sent several young men to England to get a thorough theological education.

The friends of Cyril in Constantinople, and among them the English, Dutch, and Swedish ambassadors, endeavored to elevate Cyril to the patriarchal see of Constantinople. They would have succeeded in 1613, after the banishment of the patriarch Timotheus, but for the unwillingness of Cyril to pay the amount demanded by the Turkish government. After the death of Timotheus in 1621, he was elected his successor by a unanimous vote of the synod. His life as patriarch was full of vicissitudes. The Jesuits, in union with the agents of France, several times procured his banishment, while his friends, supported by the ambassadors of the Protestant powers in Constantinople, obtained, by means of large sums of money, his recall. During all these troubles, Cyril, with remarkable energy, pursued the great task of his life. In 1627 he obtained a printing-press from England, and at once began to print his Confession of Faith and several catechisms. But, before these documents were ready for publication, the printing establishment was destroyed by the Turkish government at the instigation of the Jesuits. Cyril then sent his Confession of Faith to Geneva, where it appeared, in 1629, in the Latin language, under the true name of the author, and with a dedication to Cornelius de Haga. It created throughout Europe a profound sensation, and many were inclined to regard it as spurious. Cyril, however, openly confessed the authorship, published in 1633 a Greek edition of the Confession, and in 1636, in a letter to the professors of Geneva, declared his concurrence in the principal doctrines of the Reformed Church. Many opponents, however, now rose against him in the Greek Church, and in 1638 a synod convened at Constantinople to try him. But, before sentence was pronounced, the Janissaries arrested him by order of the government, carried him to a boat, strangled him, and cast the corpse into the sea. Some friends found the corpse and buried it upon an island, and ten years later a solemn funeral was held at Constantinople. Several synods condemned the innovations attempted by Cyril, but the Confession of Faith was generally treated by them as spurious.

The Confession of Cyril uses of the procession of the Holy Spirit the compromising formula ἐκ τοῦ πατρὸς δὶ᾿ υἱοῦ (a patre per filium). It teaches absolute predestination, denies moral freedom prior to regeneration, declares strongly against the rights claimed by the popes, and acknowledges only two sacraments, baptism and the Lord's Supper. It recommends the reading of the Bible, distinguishes the canonical from the deutero-canonical books, and rejects the veneration of images. It has been published by Kimmel in his Libri symbol. eccles. Groecoe. Thom. Smith, Collectanea de Cyrillo Lucari (Lond. 1707); Bohnstedt, De Cyrillo Lucari (Halle, 1724); Herzog, Real-Encyklop. 8:538; Pichler, Geschichte des Protestantismus in der Orientalischen Kirche, etc. (Munich, 1862, 8vo); Stanley, Eastern Church; Princeton Review, v. 312; Murdoch's Mosheim, Church History, 3, 347, note 5 (N. Y. 1854).


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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Cyril Lucar'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/tce/c/cyril-lucar.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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