Saints Athanasios and Cyril were Archbishops of Alexandria. These wise teachers of truth and defenders of Christ’s Church share a joint Feast in recognition of their dogmatic writings which affirm the truth of the Orthodox Faith, correctly interpret the Holy Scripture, and censure the delusions of the heretics.
St Athanasios took part in the First Ecumenical Council when he was still a deacon. He surpassed everyone there in his zeal to uphold the teaching that Christ is “consubstantial” (homoousios) with the Father, and not merely a creature, as the Arians proclaimed.
This radiant beacon of Orthodoxy spent most of his life in exile from his See, because of the plotting of his enemies. He returned to his flock as he was approaching the end of his life. Like an evening star, he illumined the Orthodox faithful with his words for a little while, then reposed in 373.
St Cyril was the nephew of Patriarch Theophilus of Alexandria, who educated him from his youth. He succeeded to his uncle’s position in 412, but was deposed through the intrigues of the Nestorian heretics. He later resumed his See, however.
St Cyril presided at the Third Ecumenical Council in 441, which censured the Nestorian blasphemy against the Most Holy Theotokos (the ever-Virgin Blessed Mary, Bearer and Mother of God). His wise words demonstrated the error of their false doctrine.
St Cyril departed to the Lord in the year 444.