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Constantine Ilarionovich Smirnov was born in the city of Kronstadt in the St. Petersburg province of Russia on [[April 26]], in either 1862 or 1863. The son of a Church [[Reader|reader]], Constantine entered the [[St. Petersburg Theological Academy]], graduating in 1887 with a degree of candidate in theology. Having married, he entered the [[Holy Orders]] and was [[ordination|ordained]] a [[priest]] on [[November 21]], 1887. Constantine was appointed priest of the St. Petersburg [[Resurrection]] Church located near the Warsaw Station in St. Petersburg. The church, located in an industrial section of St. Petersburg, was the center of the city's Temperance Movement - The All-Russian Alexander Nevsky Society of Sobriety. He also taught the Law of God at the Elizabeth gymnasium. In 1894, he was assigned as a priest at the Kronstadt Holy Trinity cemetery Church, and on [[October 1]], 1900 he was appointed the senior priest of the Holy Trinity Church.
As the new century began, tragedy struck Father Constantine's family. In early 1902, his daughter Olga died tragically after swallowing a needle, and then his wife, also called Olga, died from grief. With the death of his family, Fr. Constantine turned to the [[monasticism|monastic]] life. He received the monastic [[tonsure]] on [[May 10]], 1902 with the name Cyril, after the [[Cyril and Methodius|enlightener]] of the Slavs and was appointed head of the Orthodox Mission in Urmia, Persia and with the rank of [[archimandrite]].
In 1904, Fr. Cyril was elected to the[[episcopate]] and [[consecration of a bishop|consecrated]] the Bishop of Gdov, a [[vicar]] of the St. Petersburg Eparchy and progressively became second vicar on [[October 31]], 1905, and first vicar on [[February 15]], 1908. He is credited with introducing into the [[Alexander Nevsky Lavra]] chanting by the whole congregation. He was a member of the Pre-Conciliar Council.