Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

Short Cuts

Author and Publisher - Catholic Online

Image of St. Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage


Feastday: September 16

Death: 258

My given name is Thasius Cyprianus. I was born in Africa about 200 A.D., the son of a rich pagan senator. I was the Bishop of Carthage.
All my life and work occurred there. Known as the Priest Martyr. I matriculated quickly in an excellent secular education, attending the school of Carthage. I became an orator, rhetoric, and philosophy instructor. I appeared often at court defending townsfolk.
I taught rhetoric oratory before I converted to the Christian one holy Catholic and Apostolic faith. I assiduously studied Scripture, and my mentor Tertullian's writings. I spent my parents' wealth, as well as the proceeds from banquets work. I continually questioned what truth was.
Christianity gained my curiosity. I studied the writings of the African, Tertullian, and the Presbyter, (born around 160 A.D.).
Later, I wrote my habits made it appear impossible for me to reach the revival promised by Yeshua, Jesus, and my Savior. Cecilius the Presbyter, (my spiritual mentor), freed me from confusion. At age 46, I became a Christian catechumen.
Prior to my baptism, I gave my property to the poor. I moved to Cecilius' house. Thus graced by God, I wrote my friend Donatus, "When the surge of regeneration cleansed my former life impurity, a light steady and bright, shone from Heaven in my heart. "
I was born again, invigorated by the Holy Spirit. God revealed to me mysteries. He made darkness, light. I learned that my former living in the flesh for sin belonged to the earthly. Now I began divine living by the Holy Spirit. In God and from God is all our strength. From Him is our might. Through Him, we who live on earth receive the hint of a condition of future bliss.
The year following my baptism, I was ordained a priest. When Bishop Donatus of Carthage died, the faithful unanimously chose me as bishop in about the year 248 A.D. I said, "Unconditionally, yes," complying with my mentor's request. I was ordained bishop of Carthage. Around the year in 248 A.D., church authorities elevated to the rank of bishop of Carthage. It was the time of the
reign of terror in the persecutions of Roman Emperor Decius.
The Church's welfare proved my first concern, along with the concomitant ridding of vices in the clergy and flock. Hopefully, my life caused the observing faithful a desire to imitate my God-given piety, humility, and wisdom with which God graced me.
I became known beyond my diocese. Bishops from other areas sought my counsel.
But persecution by the Emperor Decius, 249
A.D. to 251 A.D., revealed to me in a dream, forced me to hide. My life was necessary to my flock. I conducted my life to the strengthening faith and courage among my persecuted.
Prior to my leaving, I distributed the church treasury among all the clergy to help to the poor. I later sent additional funds. Through my letters (called epistles) to Presbyters, confessors and martyrs, I kept constant touch with Carthaginian Christians.
Some in my flock offered the Roman required sacrifices to the false Roman gods. Some congregants said they did, when they did not. I was called to mediate he controversy of allowing such apostates back into the Mystical Body of Christ.
Church hierarchy required they do penance before re-admittance to the Church. Because I refused to sacrifice to the false gods.
Weakened by torture, some faithful souls offered sacrifice to pagan gods. Later, these lapsed Christians appealed to confessors for a letter of reconciliation.
This intercession certificate accepted the lapsed back to the Church. I wrote Carthaginian Christians regarding this.
I said that those lapsed during a time of persecution might be re- admitted to the Church only after penance and with the local bishop's permission.
But I cautioned that Bishops must investigate the situation under which the lapse happened. Examination of the lapsed proved necessary to learn their sincere contrition. For some of the fallen wanted immediate Church re-admittance. This stirred community turmoil. I asked counsel and opinions of other diocese bishops. All approved my rules.
During my absence, I delegated authority to four priest examiners of persons preparing for ordination to the priesthood and the deaconate. But there was mischief.
Two influential persons resisted Felicissimus, and the Presbyter, Novatus. I excommunicated Felicissimus with his six accomplices.
My letter to the African Church of Carthage, cautioned all not to split themselves from Church unity. I told them to wait my return. I counseled them to obey the lawful commands of the administering bishop in my absence.
Most Carthaginian Christians remained faithful. A Local Council ended Felicissimus' defiance when I returned in 251 A.D.
That enclave judged the reception of the lapsed back into the Church after a church penance. It further upheld Felicissimus' excommunication.
A new schism (break in the Church unity) arose through the auspices of the Roman Presbyter, Novatian. Novatus, a former Felicissimus associate, and Carthaginian Presbyter, joined the movement.
Novatian taught that if Christians repented of their sin, the lapsed Christians during time of persecution could not be re-admitted. Both Novatian and Novatus convinced three Italian bishops during the tenure of the lawful Roman bishop Celerinus to place another bishop on the Roman cathedra.
I first wrote a series of circular letters to the African bishops condemning these wrongs. Later, I composed an entire tome, "On the Unity of the Church."
A plague erupted, just as the attenuation of discord in the Carthage church began. Hundreds died in Carthage. Folks abandoned the sick. The dead were left unburied. God graced me by my example and fortitude to personally tend the sick and bury not only Christian, but also pagan dead as well.
Drought and famine followed, and attacks by the barbarian Numidians. They enslaved many of residents.
We petitioned wealthy Carthaginians to develop support methods to feed the starving and to ransom captives. On top of that, Emperor Valerian (253 A.D. to 259 A.D.) ordered new Christian persecutions.
Paternus, the Carthaginian proconsul, ordered all the faithful to sacrifice to idols. I refused, remaining silent as to the names and residences
of the Presbyters/ (Elder)s of the Carthage Church.
I was sent to Corubisum. Deacon Pontus voluntarily followed me into exile. After arriving, I dreamed a quick martyr's end. I wrote letters and books. But my coming martyrdom at Carthage caused me to return.
However, the court freed me until the next year. During that time, Carthaginian Christians bade me farewell and asked me to bless them. In a later trial, I again refused to sacrifice to idols. The court sentenced me to beheading. "Thanks be to God!" I said. All the Christians present said in unified voice, "We want to die with him!"
At the execution, I blessed all present. I gave 25 gold coins to the executioner, then covered my eyes, then lowered my head. I was martyred 58 A.D.
Christians crying placed their shawls and veils by me to gather my blood. Nightfall, the faithful took by body and buried me in the private crypt of Procurator Macrovius Candidianus.
Five Hundred years later, Charlemagne, King Charles the Great officials transferred my relics to France, Hieromartyr.

More about St. Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage from Wikipedia

St. Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage Comments

More Saints

Browse Saints by Category

Popular Saints




Image of St. Paul

St. Paul

Saint Paul is one of the most important and influential of all the saints. Many of his writings are contained in the Canon of the Bible and have influenced the growth and development of the ... continue reading | shop


Image of St. Kateri Tekakwitha

St. Kateri Tekakwitha

St. Kateri Tekakwitha is the first Native American to be recognized as a saint by the Catholic Church. She was born in 1656, in the Mohawk village of Ossernenon. Her mother was an ... continue reading | shop


Image of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton was the first native born American to be canonized by the Catholic Church. Born two years before the American Revolution, Elizabeth grew up in the upper class of ... continue reading | shop

All Popular Saints

Saint of the Day

Image of St. Frumentius

St. Frumentius

Called "Abuna" or "the fa­ther' of Ethiopia, sent to that land by St. Athanasius. Frumentius was born in Tyre, Lebanon. While on a voyage in the Red Sea with St. Aedesius, possibly his brother, only ... continue reading

More Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day by E-Mail

Saint of the Day newsletter icon

Learn about the lives of the saints and other saint resources, including a calendar, over 5,000 saint biographies, our most popular saints, and a list of patron saints. 7 days / week. See Sample


Female Saints

Image of St. Katharine Drexel

St. Katharine Drexel

Saint Katharine Drexel, Religious (Feast Day-March 3) Born in 1858, into a prominent Philadelphia family, Katharine became imbued with love for God and neighbor. She took an avid interest in the material and spiritual well-being of black and native Americans. She began ... continue reading

More Female Saints

Saint Calendar
Saint Feast Days
Saint Fun Facts


Image of St. Michael the Archangel

St. Michael the Archangel

Saint Michael the Archangel isn't a saint, but rather he is an angel, and the leader of all angels and of the army of God. This is what the title "Archangel" means, that he is above all the others in rank. St. Michael has four main responsibilities or offices, as we ... continue reading

Saints Fun Facts

Saints Fun Facts for St. Thomas of Villanueva

St. Thomas of Villanueva

Augustinian bishop. Born at Fuentellana, Castile, Spain, he was the son of a miller. He studied at the University of Alcala, earned a licentiate in theology, and became a professor there at the age of twenty-six. He declined the chair of philosophy at the university of ... continue reading

Saints Fun Facts for St. Peter Claver

St. Peter Claver

St. Peter Claver was born at Verdu, Catalonia, Spain, in 1580, of impoverished parents descended from ancient and distinguished families. He studied at the Jesuit college of Barcelona, entered the Jesuit novitiate at Tarragona in 1602 and took his final vows on August ... continue reading

Christian Saints & Heroes

Image of One of many icons of St. Ignatius of Antioch

St. Ignatius of Antioch: Model of Bravery, Man for our Times

By Billy Atwell

In the face of the current "witch-hunts" endured by some of our Bishops, let us remember a hero on October 17, the feast of St. Ignatius of Antioch.  St. Ignatius of Antioch is a bishop and martyr of the Church who died in the year 107.  He was torn ... continue reading

More Christian Saints & Heroes


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ephesians 6:10-20
10 Finally, grow strong in the Lord, with the strength of his ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 144:1, 2, 9-10
1 [Of David] Blessed be Yahweh, my rock, who trains my hands for war and ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 13:31-35
31 Just at this time some Pharisees came up. 'Go away,' they said. 'Leave ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 27th, 2016 Image

St. Frumentius
October 27: Called "Abuna" or "the fa­ther' of Ethiopia, ... Read More