St. Cyril on Binding and Loosing

St. Cyril of Alexandria ca. 376-444

In what way, then, and by what reason does the Savior bestow upon His own disciples the dignity which belongs to the divine nature alone? Certainly the Word, who is in the Father, would not err in what is seemly, and what He does is right and proper. He considered that those who already had in themselves the Divine and Lordly Spirit ought to be lords also of forgiving the sins of some, and of retaining those of others if they wished, the Holy Spirit indwelling in them forgiving or retaining according to their own will, even though the matter is executed directly through men. Bearers of the Spirit, they forgive sins or retain them, or so it seems to me, in two ways: for either they call to Baptism those who are worthy, men already tested for the faith by the sobriety and constancy of their lives, or they prohibit and exclude from divine grace those who are not yet worthy; or in still another way they forgive and retain sins when sons of the Church conquer their sins and, confessing them, reform their lives. (Commentary on John: Jn. 20:23)