St. Cyprian


Cyprian was a pagan public speaker and teacher from Carthage in North Africa who converted to Christianity around the year 246 AD. He immediately set himself to the study of Scripture and the writings of the first great Latin theologian from North Africa, Tertullian. Saint Cyprian grew so rapidly in holiness and knowledge of the faith that he was appointed bishop of Carthage only two years after his baptism. Within only a few months of his election to the episcopacy, the persecution of Decius broke out and Cyprian was forced to flee his see. Upon returning, he set himself to dealing with the problem of the reconciliation, after suitable penance, of those who buckled under pressure and lapsed in their faith. After a few years of peace, the persecution of the emperor Valerian began. Cyprian gave himself up and was martyred in Carthage on September 14, 258. St. Cyprian’s writings that survive are mainly letters and short treatises. Most notable among them are his treatise on the Lord's Prayer.  Also notable is his De Catholicae Ecclesiae Unitatis (251) on the Unity of the Catholic Church and the importance of the Episcopate as safeguard of this unity.   Cyprian is recognized as one of the Fathers of the Church.  To learn more about him, see When the Church Was Young: Voices of the Early Fathers.  (Biography by Dr. Italy)