September 16 - Saint Cyprian of Carthage

Quick Facts

  • Born to wealthy pagan parents.
  • Taught rhetoric and literature.
  • Adult convert in 246.
  • Ordained in 247.
  • Bishop of Carthage in 249.
  • During the persecution of Decius, beginning in 250, Cyprian lived in hiding, covertly ministering to his flock; his enemies condemned him for being a coward and not standing up for his faith.
  • Writer second only in importance to Tertullian as a Latin Father of the Church.
  • Exiled during the persecutions of Valerian.
  • Friend of Saint Pontius.
  • Involved in the great argument over whether apostates should be readmitted to the Church; Cyprian believed they should, but under stringent conditions.
  • Supported Pope Saint Cornelius against the anti-pope Novatian.
  • In the persecutions of Valerian, he was exiled to Curubis in 257, then brought back Carthage and martyred in 258.
  • His name is in the Communicantes in the Canon of the Mass.