There really is not much to say about Cyril. Little is written of his life and most of what we glean comes from his own writings and even that is probably mostly speculation. That is not to say that we know nothing and that he merely rose from obscurity to become a powerful voice for orthodoxy. We have his voice which tells us of his well-known work among those he lived with and served.
It is a voice that trained catechumens for the Easter Mysteries; it is a voice of a shepherd trying to lead a fractious set of sheep; it is a voice that tried to bring unity.
It is probably the latter which got him into the most hot water.
Born shortly before the rise of Arianism, he probably was twisted up with the heresy and its followers, all souls under his care. His work at reconciliation seemed to earn him scorn from fellow orthodox, and probably colored his words so that he did not seem so strong against the heresy.
But it is for his gentleness and mercy for all those who were a part of his life that shines through in his writing that we honor him as a Doctor of the Church he is because we came to recognize him for who he was. He served in a difficult situation, held true to the orthodox beliefs but at the same time used soft rhetoric to reach those in error. He succeeded where other more strict orthodox Fathers like Gregory of Nyssa failed.
Cyril, remind us the humanity of even those we disagree with or find difficult to work with; help us to be thankful for all the people Christ puts into our lives.
But while honoring our heavenly Father let us honor also the fathers of our flesh (Hebrews 12:9) since the Lord Himself has evidently so appointed in the Law and the Prophets, saying, honor your father and your mother, that it may be well with you, and your days shall be long in the land (Deuteronomy 5:16). And let this commandment be especially observed by those here present who have fathers and mothers. Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing to the Lord (Colossians 3:20). For the Lord said not: "He that loves father or mother is not worthy of Me," lest you from ignorance should perversely mistake what was rightly written, He added, "more than Me" (Matthew 10:37). For when our fathers on earth are of a contrary mind to our Father in heaven, then we must obey Christ's word. But when they put no obstacle to godliness in our way, if we are ever carried away by ingratitude, and, forgetting their benefits to us, hold them in contempt, then the oracle will have place which says: "He that curses father or mother, let him die the death."
The first virtue of godliness in Christians is to honor their parents, to requite the troubles of those who begot them , and with all their might to confer on them what tends to their comfort (for if we should repay them ever so much, yet we shall never be able to return their gift of life), that they also may enjoy the comfort provided by us, and may confirm us in those blessings which Jacob the supplanter shrewdly seized; and that our Father in heaven may accept our good purpose, and judge us worthy to shine amid righteous as the sun in the kingdom of our Father (Matthew 13:43) To whom be the glory, with the Only-begotten our Savior Jesus Christ, and with the Holy and Life-giving Spirit, now and ever, to all eternity. Amen.
-- Lecture 7, 15-16
Things to Think About