During Theophany of 1909, St. Petersburg was suffering an outbreak of cholera. This brought a decree that all water to be blessed for the feast was to be boiled beforehand and the blessing should be performed over steaming pots. Bp. Cyril defied these warnings and blessed the water of the River Neva at St. Alexander Nevsky Lavra through a hole in the ice, while the police took measures to ensure no one took any water from the "Jordan".
On [[December 31]], 1909, Bp. Cyril was transferred to the Eparchy of Tambov and Shatsk, and on [[May 6]], 1913 he was elevated to [[archbishop]]. Abp. Cyril was active visiting throughout his large diocese at unexpected times. Reflecting a good knowledge of the life of the people, Abp. Cyril's sermons embraced common themes of their drunkenness, foul language, and prejudice against literacy and schooling. The fundamental aim of his life was the enlightenment of the people in the spirit of the Orthodox Church. He was also very exacting towards the [[clergy]]. It was enough for him to notice two [[deacon]]s talking during a service for their names to appear in the local diocesan newspaper. But, at the same time he was very merciful to the poor.
In July, 1914, on the initiative of Abp. Cyril the [[glorification]] of St. Pitirim of Tambov took place in the [[cathedral]] in Tambov.
As president of the section on the teaching of the Law of God, Abp. Cyril took a leading part in the [[All-Russian Church Council of 1917-1918|Local Church Council of 1917-18]]. He was one of the 25 candidates for [[patriarch]]. As the council elected Abp. [[Tikhon of Moscow|Tikhon of Vilnius]] elected the first Patriarch of the Church of Russia in two hundred years, the Bolsheviks began their takeover of Russia. During the Russian Civil War, Abp. Cyril was appointed Metropolitan of Tiflis and Baku and exarch of the Caucasus on [[April 1]], 1918. However, as the [[Church of Georgia]] had declared its [[autocephaly]] in the midst of the Civil War, he was not successful in reaching his see.
In November, 1919, Abp. Cyril was arrested in Moscow by the Bolsheviks on a charge of “counter-revolutionary agitation". Imprisoned in the [[w: Cheka|Cheka]] prison in Moscow, he was released after two months. His attitude towards the Soviet "authorities" was that of openly refusing to recognize them.
In April, 1920, Abp. Cyril was appointed [[Metropolitan]] of Kazan and, in May, he was named a member of Patriarch Tikhon’s [[Holy Synod]]. After arriving in Kazan on [[July 9]], Abp. Cyril was arrested on [[August 19]] because he “left Moscow for the city of Kazan without the permission of the Cheka”. On [[August 27]], he was sentenced to imprisonment, in a camp, for “counter-revolutionary activity” until the end of the Russian Civil War, at which time his punishment was changed to a five-year sentence. From [[October 5]], 1920, Abp. Cyril was confined, in one cell, in the [[w:Taganka Prison|Taganka prison]] in Moscow with Bps. Theodore (Pozdeyevsky) and Gurias (Stepanov). While in prison Metr. Cyril, on [[November 7]], was elected an honorary member of the [[Kazan Theological Academy]]. During the times that Metr. Cyril was detained by the Bolsheviks authorities, administration of the Eparchy of Kazan fell to Bp. [[Joasaph of Chistopol|Joasaph of Mamadysh]], a [[vicar]] of the eparchy.
On [[December 24]], 1921, Metr. Cyril was released, and arrived in Kazan on [[January 18]], 1922, having been met by Bps. Joasaph and Athanasius and a group of joyful Christians. In April, the Bolsheviks requisitioned the valuables of the Kazan churches supposedly "for the benefit of the starving". However, during August Metr. Cyril was arrested again, this time for his involvement with the [[w:American Relief Administration|American Relief Organization]] which supplied food to the starving. After a time in prison in Moscow, he was exiled first, in January, 1923, to the province of Krasnoyarsk in Siberia, then to Ust-Sysolsk (Syktyvkar), then a third time to Ust-Kul (Komi SSR), and finally to Kotelnich in Vyatka province.
During this period Patriarch Tikhon was also imprisoned. This gave the Church [[Living Church|renovationist]] [[heretics]] the opportunity to try to take control of the central administration of the Church. The [[w:State Political Directorate|State Political Directorate]] (GPU) tried to persuade the Patriarch, even after he was released from prison in 1923, to enter into negotiations with the renovationists, with the promise that if he did many hierarchs held in prison and exile would be freed. So in May, 1924, the renovationist leader Vladimir Krasnitsky was admitted briefly into the Patriarch's Higher Ecclesiastical Council. Also in May, 1924, Metr. Cyril was called to Moscow for negotiations with the GPU agent Tuchkov. Since Cyril refused to recognize the renovationists, Tuchkov threatened to let him remain in prison. But Metr. Cyril did not give in. Also, Metr. Cyril was able to visit Patr. Tikhon, who asked him his opinion about admitting Krasnitsky into the Council. Metr. Cyril's responded strongly that he must not compromise with Krasnitsky. Thus, strengthened, Patr. Tikhon struck Krasnitsky's name off the list of the Council members, which resulted in Metr. Cyril again being exiled, in July, first to Yelsk and then to Perevolok.
Although Metr. Cyril was still in exile, Patr. Tikhon, on [[January 7]], 1925, appointed him the first [[locum tenens]] of the patriarchal throne in the event the [[patriarch]] were unable to continue his duties. Later in the spring of 1925, Metr. Cyril was sent in exile to Zyryansk region, an exile for a year to a place to which he had to travel for two weeks by boat, without anything to eat, and forced to sleep in the bitter cold outside the cabins in which his guards slept. During this period Metr. Cyril governed his diocese through his vicars, Bps. Joasaph, Athanasius, and Andronicus.
In his will that was read after his death on [[April 7]], 1925, Patr. Tikhon had appointed Metr. Cyril as the first of three hierarchs who were empowered to become [[locum tenens]] of the patriarchal throne and assume leadership of the Russian Church until a new patriarch could be elected. Since Metr. Cyril was in exile and not allowed to return to Moscow to assume the locum tenancy, and since the second candidate, Metr. Agathangel of Yaroslavl, was also in exile, the post fell to the third candidate, Metr. Peter of Krutitsa.
In December, 1925, Metr. Peter was imprisoned for rejecting the terms for legalization of the Church offered by the Government Political Administration (GPU). As Metr. Peter appointed Metr. Cyril the first candidate to the locum tenancy in the event of his death, the GPU agent Tuchkov went to Metr. Cyril and presented the same terms for the legalization of the Church to him. When Metr. Cyril refused to cooperate with Tuchkov, he was sent back to Turukhansk. Yet, Tuchkov tried again when at the beginning of his locum tenancy Metropolitan Sergius was firm and uncompromising. Tuchkov succeeded in persuading Metr. Cyril to accept the position of locum tenens, as he was the first candidate according to Patriarch Tikhon's will. When he arrived in Rybinsk after leaving his exile, Metr. Cyril met an [[asceticism|ascetic]] nun, Blessed Xenia, who lived in Rybinsk, and asked her what he should do about his decision. She replied that if he went to Moscow and accepted Tuchkov's offer, he would lose everything spiritual that he had gathered throughout his life. Thus, the Metropolitan went back into exile.
In November, 1926, a secret ballot of 72 bishops elected Metr. Cyril as the best candidate as the patriarch. But, on [[December 21]], 1926, he was arrested in Kotelnich and cast into the special isolator (solitary confinement cell) in Vyatka. On [[March 28]], 1927, Metr. Cyril was sentenced to three years in exile in Siberia in “The Case of Metropolitan Cyril (Smirnov) and Protopriest Alexander Agafonnikov, Vyatka province, 1927” that involved them in an alleged conspiracy in the Vyatka province to elect a new patriarch. For this, Metr. Cyril was sent to Khantaika, Turukhansk region, in north-western Siberia.
When he heard the infamous declaration of Metr. Sergius, Metr. Peter's deputy, that placed the Church in the same position of servitude that Metr. Cyril had rejected. Cyril rejected the declaration and broke communion with Sergius. During the following years, Metr. Cyril corresponded with Metr. Sergius in an attempt to dissuade him from his course of action, but was unsuccessful.
From May to December, 1929, Metr. Cyril was in exile in Yeniseisk. On [[April 23]], 1930, he was sentenced to deprivation of the right to live in Moscow and Petrograd provinces, as well as in Kharkov, Odessa, Dagestan, and Tataria for three years. Again, he was sent into exile in the Turukhansk region for three years. On [[August 19]], 1933, Metr. Cyril was released and chose to live in the town of Gzhatsk in European Russia, from where he continued secretly to lead the opposition to Metr. Sergius. On [[July 14]], 1934, he was arrested on a charge of “counter-revolutionary activity” and was transferred to the inner isolator in the [[w:Butyrka prison|Butyrki prison]] in Moscow, where, on [[December 2]], he was convicted of “counter-revolutionary activity” and sentenced to three years’ exile in Yany-Kurgan in Southern Kazakhstan. On [[July 7]], 1937, Metr. Cyril was arrested in Yany-Kurgan and imprisoned in Chimkent on a charge of “participating in a counter-revolutionary underground organization of churchmen” together with Metr. [[Joseph (Petrovykh) of Petrograd|Joseph of Petrograd]].