The present translation of the Catechetical Lectures of S. Cyril of Jerusalem is based on a careful revision of the English translation published in the “Library of the Fathers of the Holy Catholic Church,” with a most interesting Preface by John Henry Newman, dated from Oxford, The Feast of St. Matthew, 1838.
In his Preface Mr. Newman stated with respect to the translation “that for almost the whole of it the Editors were indebted to Mr. Church, Fellow of Oriel College.” Mr. Church was at that time a very young man, having taken his First Class in Michaelmas Term, 1836; and this his first published work gave abundant promise of that peculiar felicity of expression, which made him in maturer life one of the most perfect masters of the English tongue. Having received full liberty to make such use of his translation as I might deem most desirable for the purpose of the present Edition, I have been obliged to exercise my own judgment both in preserving much of Dean Churchs work unaltered, and in revising it wherever the meaning of the original appeared to be less perfectly expressed.
In this constant study and use of Dean Churchs earliest work I have had always before my mind a grateful and inspiring remembrance of one whose friendship it was my great privilege to enjoy during the few last saddened years of his saintly and noble life.
In the notes of the Edition one of my chief objects has been to illustrate S. Cyrils teaching by comparing it with the works of earlier Fathers to whom he may have been indebted, and with the writings of his contemporaries.
In the chapters of the Introduction which touch on S. Cyrils doctrines of Baptism, Chrism, and the Holy Eucharist, I have not attempted either to criticise or to defend his teaching, but simply to give as faithful a representation as I could of his actual meaning. The Eastern Church had long before S. Cyrils day, and still has its own peculiar Sacramental doctrines, which, notwithstanding the efforts of rival theologians, can never be reduced to exact conformity with the tenets of our own or other Western Churches.