Sts Cornelius and Cyprian

16 Sep 2023

Elected pope following the violent persecution of Emperor Decius, this Roman priest held the chair of Peter for two years.

His opponents included Novatian, the first antipope.

Novatian refused to pardon those who denied Christ during the persecution.

Pope Cornelius favoured another approach; lapsed Christians could return to the faith after performing penance.

A church synod supported the pope and Novatian was excommunicated.

The persecution began anew in 253 and the pope was banished to Civitavecchia, where he died a martyr.

One of the first great theologians in the church, this Latin father is remembered today for his writings, which are quoted in the documents of the Second Vatican Council.

A late convert, Thascius Cecilianus Cyprianus was a lawyer, rhetorician and teacher before being chosen by the people and clergy of Carthage, in North Africa, as their bishop.

He was drawn into papal controversies and schisms, but he also was known for pastoral zeal and aiding plague victims.

Having survived one Roman persecution, he later was beheaded for refusing to participate in state religious ceremonies.

He wrote biblical commentary and treatises on church unity and the sacraments.

Cyprian is the patron saint of North Africa and Algeria.

Text: Catholic News Service
Image: Domain