According to the fictional morality story that had great popularity though with no basis in fact, Cyprian was a native of Antioch who became a practitioner of sorcery and black magic. He traveled widely in Greece, Egypt, Macedonia, and the Indies to broaden his knowledge of the black arts. When Aglaides, a young pagan, fell in love with the beautiful Justina, a Christian of Antioch, he asked Cyprian to help him win her. Cyprian tried all his black magic and diabolical expertise to win her for himself but was repelled by her faith and the aid of Mary. He called on the devil, who assailed Justina with every weapon in his arsenal, to no avail. When Cyprian realized the overwhelming power of the forces arrayed against him and the devil, Cyprian threatened to leave the devil's service; whereupon the devil turned on Cyprian, only to be repulsed by the sign of the cross made by a repentant Cyprian, who realized the sinfulness of his past life. He then turned to a priest named Eusebius for instruction and was converted to Christianity. He destroyed his magical books, gave his wealth to the poor, and was baptized, as was Aglaides. Justina then gave away her possessions and dedicated herself to God. In time Cyprian was ordained and later was elected bishop of Antioch. He was arrested during Diocletian's persecution of the Christians and tortured at Tyre by the governor of Phoenicia, as was Justina. They were then sent to Diocletian, who had them beheaded at Nicomedia. Feast day is September 26th.
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By Justin Soutar
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