Cyril knew the pain of division. Because of this, he is an example for those who have experienced rupture. There is nothing more displeasing than discord in God’s family. That my own brother or sister would be at odds with me, that our communion would be interrupted by Satan’s assaults, that misunderstanding would seem to hover over us with perpetual oppression: these ailments characterize one aspect of church division. We would do well, therefore, to reflect upon Cyril’s life, noting that he offers us encouragement in this difficulty. Allow me to first describe the Council of Ephesus, and then I will reflect further on Cyril. Specifically, I want to reflect on Cyril’s relevance for church division.
Nestorius’s doctrines provoked the displeasure of Cyril and Celestine, the bishop of Rome, both of whom held immanent excommunications over Nestorius’s head. Quickly, then, the Emperor called for an Ecumenical Council, and he set the date for Pentecost in 431 A.D. The council would meet in Ephesus, a city whose bishop was sympathetic with Cyril. This meant journeys, both for Cyril and for other ecclesiastical officers. Cyril was a man of action, and his promptness is evidenced by his early arrival. Among those who arrived late, however, were the delegations from Rome and Antioch, the former supported Cyril whilst the latter did not. While the weeks ticked away, Cyril grew intolerant of Antioch’s lethargy. Therefore, Cyril convened the council without the Antiochians, and Cyril personally assumed the role of Rome’s representative. The results of the council are well known: Nestorius was deposed and Mary was called “The Mother of God.”
Cyril’s actions have garnered much consternation, both during his lifetime and in our own. Yet if anyone had reason to hate Cyril permanently, it would seem to be the Antiochian delegation, many of whom were Christians of true character. After a lengthy and hazardous journey, they arrived to find the council finished, and their friend Nestorius deposed. Significantly, then, John of Antioch – that city’s bishop – only two years later, reunited with Cyril. John and Cyril corresponded by letter, and the result was genuine understanding. John understood Cyril’s rejection of Nestorianism; Cyril came to understand Christ’s “two natures”, terminology previously hijacked by Nestorius, but terminology John deemed useful.
Fr. James is currently writing on the Catholicity of Anglicanism. Being Roman Catholic, I have read the posts with interest. Cyril and John are relevant to this question. Those with humble hearts, who have submitted their wisdom to God, are to endeavor with the hope of unity. Cyril came to see that John of Antioch, in speaking about two-natures, was describing Cyril’s own faith. John of Antioch grew to believe Cyril’s points.This spirit of love must attend our resolution for truth. The Roman Catholic Church holds Anglicans in special fondness, and considers their communion to be preeminent amongst Protestantism. The issues which make for our division are substantial. But there is hope for our unity if we will but imitate Cyril. Let us therefore have magnanimity of spirit, following God with confidence in all he asks of us. With Fr. James, we must carefully define terminology. Likewise, in a spirit characteristic of this blog, we must resolve to obey Christ immediately, not conforming his word to our own, but being transformed according to his wisdom. If we do this all our days, we can expect concrete manifestations of unity, whether or not formal rapprochement is reached, until at last we are brought in to that perfection of concord, when before the Lamb’s Heavenly Table, we all break the one bread with one spirit and faith.
 McGuckin, 23.