Letters (1–81) (The Fathers of the Church, Volume 51)

Letters (1–81) (The Fathers of the Church, Volume 51)

Copyright Date: 1964
Pages: 378
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Letters (1–81) (The Fathers of the Church, Volume 51)
    Book Description:

    The letters, of which eighty-one have come down to us, written from c.249 until his death in 258 A.D., may be found translated in this volume.

    eISBN: 978-0-8132-1151-0
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
    (pp. ix-2)

    The eighty-one letters of this collection, Thasci Caecili Cypriani Epistulae, written from c. 249 until Cyprian’s death in 258 A.D., give a penetrating insight into the affairs of the Church in Africa in the middle of the third century. They reveal problems of doctrine and of discipline which had to be decided in a period of crisis and persecution when the Church, still in its infancy, had not yet emerged from the catacombs. Most important of all, they make Cyprian vividly alive as an understanding bishop who could be both gentle and firm, enthusiastic and moderate.¹ He was prudent enough...

    • 1. Cyprian to the Priests and People of Furni
      (pp. 3-5)

      (1) My colleagues who were present here and our fellow priests who were with us and I were greatly disturbed, dearly beloved Brethren, when we had learned that our brother, Geminius Victor,³ on his death bed, had appointed Geminius Faustinus,⁴ the priest, as tutor in his will although long ago it was decreed in a Council of Bishops that no one should appoint in his will a tutor or a guardian from the clerics and ministers of God because everyone honored by the divine priesthood and consecrated for the clerical ministry ought only to serve the altar and the Sacrifices...

    • 2. Cyprian to Eucratius
      (pp. 5-6)

      (1) In accordance with your love and our mutual reverence, dearly beloved Brother, you thought to consult me as to what seems best to me for a certain actor who, situated among you, is still persisting in the infamy of the same art and, as master and teacher, not for the instruction but for the downfall of youth, is also teaching others what he has unfortunately learned; [you wanted to know] whether such a one ought to communicate with us. I think that it is fitting neither to the Divine Majesty nor to evangelical discipline that the respect and honor...

    • 3. Cyprian to Rogatian
      (pp. 6-9)

      (1) Colleagues who were present and I were deeply and painfully disturbed, dearly beloved Brother, on reading your letter in which you complained about your deacon because, unmindful of your episcopal office and forgetful of his own obligation and of his ministry, he has provoked you with his insults and injuries. And you, indeed, have acted honorably and in accordance with your usual humility toward us in that you preferred to complain to us concerning him although you had power, by virtue of the strength of the episcopate and the authority of the see, by which you could immediately punish...

    • 4. Cyprian, Cecil, Victor, Sedatus, et al., to Pomponius
      (pp. 10-14)

      (1) We have read your letter, dearly beloved Brother, which you sent by Paconius,⁷ our brother, asking and desiring us to write back what seems best to us about those virgins who, although they once determined to keep their state continuously and firmly, have afterwards been found to have remained together in the same bed with men, one of whom you say is a deacon; the same women, who have confessed plainly that they have slept with men, insist that they are chaste.

      Since you have desired our judgment about this matter, know that we do not depart from the...

    • 5. Cyprian to the Priests and Deacons
      (pp. 14-15)

      (1) Unharmed through the grace of God, I greet you, dearly beloved Brethren, rejoicing because I have learned that all things pertaining to your safety are also unimpaired. And since circumstances do not now permit me to be present, I ask you, in your faith and devotion, to perform there both your duty and mine that nothing be wanting either in discipline or in diligence. As for the expenses to be supplied, whether for those who, having confessed the Lord with a glorious voice, have been put in prison, or for those who labor poor and indigent and yet persevere...

    • 6. Cyprian to Sergius, Rogatian, and Other Confessors
      (pp. 16-19)

      (1) I greet you, dearly beloved Brethren, hoping also myself to enjoy your society if circumstances permit me to come to you. For what more agreeable or more joyful thing could happen to me than now to be close to you that you might embrace me with those hands which, pure and innocent and keeping faith in the Lord, have scorned sacrilegious worship? What would be more delightful and sublime than now to kiss your lips which have confessed the Lord with a glorious voice, than to be seen present by your eyes which, having despised the world, have appeared...

    • 7. Cyprian to the Priests and Deacons
      (pp. 19-20)

      (1) I greet you, dearly beloved Brethren, unharmed through the grace of God, wishing to come to you soon to satisfy my own desire as much as yours and that of all the brethren. We must yet look out for the common peace and, sometimes, although with weariness of our mind, be absent from you lest our presence provoke the hatred and violence of the pagans and we, who ought rather look out for the calm of all, be the instruments of breaking the peace. When, therefore, after matters have been settled, you write that I ought to come or,...

    • 8 No heading in Hartel: Clergy of Rome to Clergy of Carthage
      (pp. 20-23)

      (1) We have learned from Crementius, the subdeacon,² who came to us from you, that the blessed Pope³ Cyprian for a certain reason has gone into retirement, something which, indeed, he might do rightly, especially since he is a distinguished person. And, with the struggle at hand which, for the sake of fighting the adversary together with his servants, God has permitted in the world, wishing also to make known this struggle to angels and men that he who conquers may be crowned,⁴ indeed, the conquered may bring back upon himself the judgment which has been made known to us....

    • 9. Cyprian to the Priests and Deacons of Rome
      (pp. 23-24)

      (1) When the rumor of the death of the good man, my colleague,² was uncertain among us, dearly beloved Brethren, and conjecture wavered doubtful, I received from you a letter sent to me by Crementius, the subdeacon,³ in which I was very fully informed concerning his glorious death and I rejoiced exceedingly that his end also showed itself as honorable as the integrity of his administration. In this I congratulate you exceedingly because you honor his memory with such solemn and illustrious testimony that, through you, it might be known to us both what would be glorious for you regarding...

    • 10. Cyprian to the Martyrs and Confessors
      (pp. 24-28)

      (1) Joyfully I exult and I congratulate you, very courageous and blessed Brethren, having learned your faith and courage in which Mother Church glories and gloried also recently, indeed, when, after a persevering confession, the punishment which made the confessors of Christ exiles was undergone. Yet the present confession is so much the more brilliant and greater in honor as it is braver in suffering. The combat has increased; the glory of the combatants has also increased. You were not kept back from the conflict by fear of tortures but, by the very tortures themselves, you were more stirred up...

    • 11. Cyprian to the Priests and Deacons
      (pp. 28-34)

      (1) Although I know, dearly beloved Brethren, from the fear which each of us owes to God, that you there also rely earnestly on continual prayers and zealous entreaties, yet I myself also admonish your pious solicitude to lament, not by voice alone, but also by fastings and tears and by every kind of intercession for placating and propitiating God. For we must perceive and confess that the very frightful devastation of that affliction which has destroyed, and is even now destroying, our flock in great part has come about because of our sins since we do not keep the...

    • 12. Cyprian to the Priests and Deacons
      (pp. 34-36)

      (1) Although I know, dearly beloved Brethren, that you have been frequently advised in my letters that every attention is to be given to those who have confessed the Lord with a glorious voice and have been put in prison, yet again and again I press it upon you that nothing be wanting for the care of those to whom nothing is wanting in glory. And I wish that circumstances of the place and my position would permit me now myself to be able to be present; prompt and willing, I should perform with consecrated ministry all of the duties...

    • 13. Cyprian to Rogatian and Other Confessors
      (pp. 36-40)

      (1) A long time ago now, dearly beloved and very valiant Brethren, I sent you a letter in which in jubilant words I congratulated your faith and courage and now, not otherwise, among the first our voice is uplifted to foretell frequently and always with a joyful mind the glory of your name. For what can either be greater in my prayers or better than when I see the flock of Christ made illustrious by the honor of your confession? For as all of the brethren ought to rejoice in this, so is the greater portion in the common joy...

    • 14. Cyprian to the Priests and Deacons
      (pp. 40-43)

      (1) I had hoped, indeed, dearly beloved Brethren, to greet in my letter all of our clergy whole and safe. But, because the evil time which has laid low our people in very great part has added also to our sorrows this overwhelming one that it has touched closely even a portion of the clergy with its devastating force, we pray the Lord that, through the Divine Mercy, we may greet you safe also in the future who, we have learned, stand in faith and in courage.

      And although reason urged that I myself ought to hasten and to come...

    • 15. Cyprian to the Martyrs and Confessors
      (pp. 43-46)

      (1) The anxiety of our position and the fear of God compel us, most valiant and blessed martyrs, to admonish you in our letter that those same men who so devoutly and bravely keep the faith of the Lord should also observe the law and discipline of the Lord. For, although soldiers of Christ ought to keep the commandments of their Leader, then so much more is it fitting for you, who have been made an example of valor and of fear of God to others, to follow His precepts! And I had, indeed, believed that the priests and deacons...

    • 16. Cyprian to the Priests and Deacons
      (pp. 46-49)

      (1) For a long time I have kept my patience, dearly beloved Brethren, as if our reserved silence would be profitable for quiet. But since the unbridled and defiant presumption of some attempts by its rashness to disturb both the honor of the martyrs and the modesty of the confessors and the tranquillity of all the people, I ought no longer to keep silence lest excessive taciturnity result equally in our danger and in that of the people. For what danger ought we not to fear from the displeasure of the Lord when some of the priests, mindful neither of...

    • 17. Cyprian to the Brethren
      (pp. 49-51)

      (1) I know from myself, dearly beloved Brethren, that you are groaning and grieving over the ruins of our brethren because I myself groan for each one and grieve and suffer and feel equally with you what the Blessed Apostle says: ‘Who is weak,’ he says, ‘and I am not weak? Who is made to stumble, and I am not inflamed?’² And again he has written in his epistle, saying: ‘If one member suffers, the other members also suffer; and if one member glories, the other members rejoice.’³ I suffer with, I grieve with our brethren who, having lapsed and...

    • 18. Cyprian to the Priests and Deacons
      (pp. 51-52)

      (1) I wonder that you, dearly beloved Brethren, have written nothing in answer to my many letters which I have frequently sent to you although both the advantage and the necessity of our brotherhood would be governed in this way if, instructed by you, we could investigate the plan for carrying out affairs. Yet since I see that there is not yet an opportunity to come to you and summer has already begun—a time which is disturbed with unremitting and serious illnesses—I think that our brethren must be relieved so that they who have received petitions from the...

    • 19. Cyprian to the Priests and Deacons
      (pp. 52-53)

      (1) I have read your letter, dearly beloved Brethren, in which you wrote that your salutary advice has not been wanting to our brethren: that, when they have cast aside their rash haste, they should offer to God religious patience so that, when we come together through His mercy, we may be able to investigate all kinds of things according to ecclesiastical discipline, especially since it is written: ‘Remember whence thou hast fallen, and repent.’² But he repents who, mindful of the divine precept, meek and patient and obedient to the priests of God by his compliance and just works,...

    • 20. Cyprian to the Priests and Deacons of Rome
      (pp. 53-55)

      (1) Since I have learned, dearly beloved Brethren, that what has been done and is being done here by us is reported to you in a way not straightforward and accurate, I have considered it necessary to write this letter to you to present to you an account of our action and discipline and diligence. For as the commands of the Lord instruct, after the first attack of the disturbance had suddenly arisen, when the people with violent clamor had often demanded us in person, considering not so much my safety as public peace for the brethren, I withdrew for...

    • 21. Celerinus to Lucian
      (pp. 56-59)

      (1) When I wrote this to you, my dear Brother, I was rejoicing and sorrowful: rejoicing in that I heard that you had been tried for the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, our Savior, and had confessed His Name before the magistrates of this world; but sorrowful in that, from the time when I accompanied you, I was never able to receive your letters. Even now recently, a twofold sadness has fallen on me because you knew that Montanus,⁴ our mutual brother, was coming to me from you from prison and you did not express to me anything concerning...

    • 22. Lucian to Celerinus
      (pp. 59-62)

      (1) I have received your letter, dearly beloved Lord and Brother, in which you burdened me so much because of your burden that I almost lost a very great joy as I rejoiced to read the letter which for so long a time I hoped to read. In it you deigned to remember me according to the kindness of your very great humility, who, writing to me said: ‘If I be worthy to be called your brother,’ of a man who confessed with fear the Name of God among more insignificant men. For you, by God’s will, having confessed, have...

    • 23. All the Confessors to Cyprian
      (pp. 62-63)

      Know that all of us have given peace to those whose record of what they have done after the transgression was agreeable to you and we wish this plan to become known also to the other bishops through you. We trust that you have peace with the holy martyrs. Lucian³ wrote this in the presence of an exorcist and a reader of the clergy....

    • 24. Caldonius to Cyprian and the Carthaginian Priests
      (pp. 63-64)

      The necessity of the time demands that we do not give peace rashly. But it seems that I ought to write to you that some of those who before sacrificed to the gods, when they were tried a second time, became exiles. They seem, therefore, to me to have wiped out their previous sin since they are losing their possessions and homes and, doing penance, are following Christ. Therefore, Felix,³ who ministered to the presbytery under Decimus⁴ and was next to me in chains (for I know this same Felix very well), and Victoria,⁵ his wife, and Lucius,⁶ being faithful,...

    • 25. Cyprian to Caldonius
      (pp. 64-65)

      We have received your letter, dearly beloved Brother, much restrained and full of integrity and faith. We are not surprised that you, so well trained and versed in the Scriptures of the Lord, carry out everything carefully and deliberately. But you judged rightly that peace which they have regained for themselves by true penance and the glory of the confession of the Lord ought to be bestowed upon our brethren, justified by their speech by which before they had doomed themselves. Since, therefore, they have washed away all sin and wiped out the first stain by their later virtue, with...

    • 26. Cyprian to the Priests and Deacons
      (pp. 65-65)

      The Lord speaks and says: ‘For whom shall I have respect except for the lowly and peaceful man who trembles at my words?’² Although we ought all to be this, then much more ought those to be such who must labor after a serious lapse to be able to merit the Lord by true penance and all humility. Yet I have read the letter³ of all the confessors which they wished to be made known by me to all our colleagues also that peace given by themselves come to those ‘whose record of what they have done after the transgression...

    • 27. Cyprian to the Priests and Deacons of Rome
      (pp. 66-69)

      (1) Since I sent you the letter, dearly beloved Brethren, in which my action was explained and my method of discipline and of diligence, however small, was declared, another matter has come up which ought not itself to be concealed from you. For our brother, Lucian,² himself also one of the confessors, ardent, indeed, in faith and strong in courage, but much less established in the teachings of the Lord, has attempted certain things in a most imprudent manner, for a long time now appointing himself an authority that petitions written in his handwriting were given to many in crowds...

    • 28. Cyprian to Moses, Maximus, and Other Confessors
      (pp. 69-71)

      (1) I had learned a long time ago by hearsay of the glory of your faith and your fortitude, very brave and blessed Brethren, and I rejoiced greatly also and congratulated you especially because the extraordinary condescension of our Lord prepared you by the confession of His Name for the crown. For you, having become the chiefs and leaders, have moved the standards of the heavenly militia to the battle of our time. You have filled with your virtues the spiritual struggle which the Lord now wished to be waged. You have broken the first attacks of the rising war...

    • 29. Cyprian to the Priests and Deacons
      (pp. 71-72)

      Lest anything be concealed from your knowledge, dearly beloved Brethren, I have sent you a copy of both the letter which was written to me and that which I sent in response; and I believe that what I answered does not displease you. But I must now bring this before you in my letter that for an urgent reason I have sent a letter to the clergy who abide in the city. And whereas I ought to write through clerics, I know, on the other hand, that very many of our own are absent, that the few, in fact, who...

    • 30. Priests and Deacons of Rome to Cyprian
      (pp. 72-78)

      (1) Although the mind honorably conscious in itself and sustained by the vigor of evangelical discipline and made a true witness of itself according to the heavenly decrees is accustomed to be content with God alone as Judge and neither to seek the praises nor to dread the accusations of another, yet, they are worthy of a double praise who, although they know that they owe conscience to God, the only Judge, yet, desire that their actions be approved also by their brethren themselves. It is no wonder that you do this, Brother Cyprian, who, with your modesty and innate...

    • 31. Moses, Maximus, Nicostratus, Rufinus, et al., to Cyprian
      (pp. 79-84)

      (1) To us abiding among various and multiple sorrows, Brother, on account of the present ruin of many throughout almost the whole world, this especial solace has come, in that we have been cheered by the receipt of your letter and have recognized alleviations of the sorrows of our grieving spirit. From this we can know already that the grace of Divine Providence perhaps has wished to keep us for so long a time shut up by the bonds of prison for no other reason than that, instructed and more strongly encouraged by your letter, we might be able to...

    • 32. Cyprian to the Priests and Deacons
      (pp. 85-85)

      That you might know, dearly beloved Brethren, what letters I sent to the clergy acting at Rome and what they replied to me and what Moses² and Maximus,³ the priests, and Nicostratus⁴ and Rufinus,⁵ the deacons, and the other confessors locked up with them in prison, likewise, answered to my letters, I have sent copies to you to be read. See to it as far as you can in your diligence that both our writings and the answers received to them may be known to our brethren.

      But if, also, any bishops, my colleagues from foreign lands, or priests or...

    • 33 No heading in Hartel: To the Lapsed
      (pp. 85-87)

      (1) Our Lord, whose precepts we ought to fear and to keep, assigning the honor of the bishop and the plan for His Church, speaks in the Gospel and says to Peter: ‘I say to thee that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound also in heaven, and whatever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed also in heaven.’² Thus through the...

    • 34. Cyprian to the Priests and Deacons
      (pp. 87-89)

      (1) You have acted uprightly and according to discipline, dearly beloved Brethren, in that you have decided according to the counsel of my colleagues who were present that Communion should not be given to Gaius,² the priest from Dida,³ and to his deacon. They, being in communion with the lapsed and offering their oblations, being caught frequently in their wicked errors and warned again and again by my colleagues not to do this, according to what you have written me, have persisted boldly in their presumption and audacity, deceiving certain brethren of our people, whose welfare we wish considered with...

    • 35. Cyprian to the Priests and Deacons of Rome
      (pp. 89-90)

      Both common love and reason demand, dearly beloved Brethren, that I should keep back nothing of those matters which are being carried on among us from your knowledge so that we may have common counsel for the advantage of the administration of the Church. For after I wrote a letter to you which I sent through Saturus,² the reader, and Optatus,³ the subdeacon, our brethren, the rashness of some of the lapsed who refuse to do penance and to satisfy God was united. They wrote me a letter demanding, not that peace be given to themselves, but, as it were,...

    • 36. Priests and Deacons of Rome to Cyprian
      (pp. 90-94)

      (1) When, Brother, we had carefully read your letter which you had sent by Fortunatus,² the subdeacon, we were stricken with double sorrow and perplexed with twofold grief because no rest at all was given to you in such great exigencies of the persecution, and the immoderate impudence of the lapsed brethren was observed by us extended even to the dangerous rashness of words. But although those things which we have mentioned afflicted us and our spirit greatly, yet your vigor and firmness, applied according to the discipline of the Gospel, moderated the grave weight of our sorrow since you...

    • 37. Cyprian to Moses, Maximus, and Other Confessors
      (pp. 94-97)

      (1) Celerinus,⁴ a comrade of yours in faith and virtue and a soldier of God in glorious encounters, came here and represented you all equally and individually in our affections, dearly beloved Brethren. In his coming, we saw you all and, when he spoke of your charity toward me sweetly and often, we heard you in his words. I rejoice often and greatly when such things are brought from you through such men.

      We, too, are in a certain way there with you in prison; we believe that we who cling so firmly to your hearts feel with you the...

    • 38. Cyprian to the Priests and People
      (pp. 97-99)

      (1) In the ordinations of clerics, dearly beloved Brethren, we are accustomed to consult you in advance and in common council to weigh the characters and merits of each one. But human testimonies must not be looked for when divine approbations precede. Aurelius,² our brother, an illustrious youth already tested by the Lord and dear to God, is still young in years, but advanced in the praise of virtue and faith, lesser in the talent of his age, but greater in honor; he has fought in a double struggle, twice confessed and twice glorious in the victory of his confession...

    • 39. Cyprian to the Priests and People
      (pp. 99-102)

      (1) Dearly beloved Brethren, we must recognize and welcome the divine benefits with which the Lord has condescended to glorify and to honor His Church in our times by giving respite to His good confessors and glorious martyrs that they who had sublimely confessed Christ should afterwards adorn the clergy with ecclesiastical ministries of Christ. Exult, therefore, and rejoice with us after you have read our letter in which my colleagues who were present and I refer to you our brother, Celerinus,² glorious alike for his courage and for his character, joined to our clergy, not by human favor but...

    • 40. Cyprian to the Priests and People
      (pp. 102-103)

      That which pertains, dearly beloved Brethren, both to the common joy and to the greatest glory of our Church must be announced to you. For you should know that we have been instructed and advised by divine honor that the priest, Numidicus,² should be appointed in the number of the Carthaginian priests and that he, illustrious by the very bright light of his confession and sublime in the honor of courage and faith, should sit with us among the clergy. By his own encouragement, he sent before himself a glorious number of martyrs killed by stones and flames and, rejoicing,...

    • 41. Cyprian to Caldonius, Herculanus, Rogatian, and Numidicus
      (pp. 103-105)

      (1) I have been very much saddened, dearly beloved Brethren, in receiving your letter that, although I have always proposed to myself and promised to keep all our brotherhood safe and to preserve our flock undiminished as charity demands, now you announce that Felicissimus⁶ has been making many wicked and insidious threats, so that besides his frauds and rapines, concerning which I had learned much a long while ago, he has now also tried to drive a portion of the people against the bishop, that is, to separate the sheep from the shepherd and to withdraw the sons from the...

    • 42. Caldonius, Herculanus, Victor, Rogatian, and Numidicus to Cyprian
      (pp. 106-106)

      We have rejected from communion Felicissimus⁷ and Augendus,⁸ likewise Repostus⁹ of the exiles, and Irene10 of the Rutili, and Paula,¹¹ a dressmaker, a fact you ought to know from my note. We have also excommunicated Sophronius¹² and Soliassus,¹³ himself a basket weaver14 among the exiles....

    • 43. Cyprian to the People
      (pp. 106-112)

      (1) Although, dearly beloved Brethren, Virtius,² a very faithful and very upright priest, and also Rogatian³ and Numidicus,⁴ priests and confessors, illustrious by the glory of the divine condescension, and, moreover, the deacons, good men, also devoted to the ecclesiastical administration in all obedience, with the other ministers, render the full attentiveness of their presence to you and do not cease to strengthen each one with assiduous exhortations and to rule and to reform the minds of the lapsed with salutary counsels, yet I advise you as much as I can and I visit you in whatever way I can...

    • 44. Cyprian to Cornelius
      (pp. 112-114)

      (1) Maximus,³ the priest, and Augendus,⁴ the deacon, and a certain Machaeus,⁵ and Longinus⁶ have come to us, sent by Novatian,⁷ dearly beloved Brother. But since we had learned also from the letters which they brought with them and from their speech and assertion that Novatian had been made bishop, we, disturbed by the depravity of an unlawful ordination and one made against the Catholic Church, thought that they should immediately be restrained from our communion. And when they had been refuted and restrained in what they attempted to claim stubbornly and pertinaciously, yet very many colleagues, who had come...

    • 45. Cyprian to Cornelius
      (pp. 114-118)

      (1) As it befitted the servants of God and especially just and peaceful priests, dearly beloved Brother, we had recently sent our colleagues, Caldonius³ and Fortunatus,⁴ to strive as far as possible, not only by the persuasion of our letters, but also by their presence and the counsel of all of you, to work together to reconcile the members of the broken body to the unity of the Catholic Church and to join the bond of Christian charity. But since the obstinate and inflexible pertinacity of the opposing party has not only refused the bosom and the embrace of its...

    • 46. Cyprian to Maximus, Nicostratus, and Other Confessors
      (pp. 118-119)

      (1) As you have learned frequently from my letters, dearly Beloved, both what honor for your confession and what love for your associated brotherhood I have expressed in my speech, believe, I beg you, and be content with these letters of mine in which I both write and take counsel simply and faithfully for you and your deeds and your praises. For I am oppressed and saddened and the intolerable sorrow of my stricken and almost prostrate spirit overwhelms me now that I have found out that you there, against the arrangement of God, against the law of the Gospel,...

    • 47. Cyprian to Cornelius
      (pp. 119-119)

      I have considered it both a conscientious and a necessary duty, dearly beloved Brother, to write a short letter³ to the confessors who are there and who, led astray by the obstinacy and depravity of Novatian⁴ and Novatus,⁵ have withdrawn from the Church, to exhort them by this, for the sake of our mutual affection, to return to their Mother, that is, to the Catholic Church. I have directed that this letter be read first to you by the subdeacon, Mettius,⁶ lest anyone should pretend that I had written something other than what is contained in my letter. I have,...

    • 48. Cyprian to Cornelius
      (pp. 119-121)

      (1) I have read your letter,³ dearly beloved Brother, which you sent by Primitivus,⁴ our fellow priest, in which I learned that you were disturbed because, although letters to you were being directed from the Hadrumetine colony in the name of Polycarp,⁵ yet after Liberalis⁶ and I had come to that same place, letters began to be directed thither to the priests and to the deacons.

      (2) In respect to this, we wish you to know and to believe for certain that it was done through no frivolity or insult or disrespect. But, although we many colleagues who had come...

    • 49. Cornelius to Cyprian
      (pp. 121-124)

      (1) In proportion to the solicitude and anxiety which we sustained concerning those confessors who had been led astray and almost deceived and alienated from the Church by the treachery and malice of the sly and crafty man³ were the great joy with which we were affected and the thanks we gave to Almighty God and to Christ, our Lord, when they, acknowledging their error and perceiving the poisonous cunning of the malicious man, as if of a serpent, came back, as they themselves confess from their heart with a sincere will, to the Church from which they had gone...

    • 50. Cornelius to Cyprian
      (pp. 124-125)

      That nothing might be wanting to the future punishment of this wicked man, laid low by the powers of God, after Maximus³ and Longinus⁴ and Machaeus⁵ had been expelled from thence, he has risen again; and as I indicated in a former letter which I sent to you by Augendus,⁶ the confessor, I think that Nicostratus⁷ and Novatus⁸ and Evaristus⁹ and Primus10 and Denis¹¹ have already come there. Let there be great care, therefore, that it be made known to all of our fellow bishops and brethren: that Nicostratus, guilty of many crimes, has not only committed frauds and rapines...

    • 51. Cyprian to Cornelius
      (pp. 125-127)

      (1) We confess, dearly beloved Brother, that we both have given and are giving. very great thanks without ceasing to God, the Father Almighty, and to His Christ, our Lord and Savior God, because the Church is so divinely protected that its unity and sanctity are not continually or wholly injured by the obstinacy of perfidy and heretical depravity. For we read your letter and we received exultingly the very great joy of our common prayer that Maximus,³ the priest, and Urban,⁴ confessors, with Sidonius⁵ and Macarius,⁶ have returned to the Catholic Church, that is, having abandoned error and schism,...

    • 52. Cyprian to Cornelius
      (pp. 127-130)

      (1) You have acted both with diligence and love, dearly beloved Brother, in sending to us with haste Niceforus,³ the acolyte, both to announce to us the glorious joy of the reconciled confessors and to instruct us very fully respecting the new and pernicious stratagems of Novatian⁴ and Novatus⁵ for attacking the Church of Christ. For, although this harmful faction of heretical depravity had reached here the day before, itself already doomed and destined to destroy the others who agreed to it, on the next day, Niceforus arrived with your letter. From this we both learned and began to teach...

    • 53. Maximus, Urban, Sidonius, and Macarius to Cyprian
      (pp. 131-131)

      We are certain, dearly beloved Brother, that you also rejoice with us in a similar prayer that we, after having had a council, looking out rather for the advantages and peace of the Church, having cast aside all matters and reserved them for the judgment of God, have made peace with Cornelius,⁶ our bishop, and likewise with the whole clergy. You ought to know most certainly from our letter that this was done with the joy also of the universal Church, with the charity also of all disposed to us. We pray that you, dearly beloved Brother, will be well...

    • 54. Cyprian to Maximus, Urban, Sidonius, and Macarius
      (pp. 131-133)

      (1) When I read your letter,⁶ dearly beloved Brethren, which you wrote to me concerning your return and concerning the peace of the Church and brotherly restoration, I confess that I rejoiced as much as I had rejoiced before when I learned the glory of your confession and, joyful, I received the heavenly and spiritual praise of your warfare. For this is another confession of both your faith and praise to confess that there is one Church, not to become a sharer in the error or rather depravity of another, to seek again the same camp whence you went forth,...

    • 55. Cyprian to Antonian
      (pp. 134-154)

      (1) I received your first letter, dearly beloved Brother, firmly maintaining the concord of the priestly college and adhering to the Catholic Church; in it you signified that you are not in communion with Novatian,³ but are following our counsel and are holding one agreement with Cornelius,⁴ our fellow bishop. You also wrote that I should forward a copy of this same letter to Cornelius, our colleague, that, casting aside all solicitude, he might know immediately that you are in communion with him, that is, with the Catholic Church.

      (2) But, in fact, afterward there followed another letter of yours,...

    • 56. Cyprian to Fortunatus, Ahymnus, Optatus, Privatian, et al.
      (pp. 154-156)

      (1) You wrote to me, dearly beloved Brethren, that, when you were in the city of Capsa for the ordination of a bishop, Superius,⁸ our brother and our colleague, reported to you that Ninus,⁹ Clementian,10 and Florus,¹¹ our brethren, who had previously been seized in the persecution and, having confessed the Name of the Lord, had overcome the violence of the magistrates and the attack of the raging populace. Afterward, when they were tortured before the proconsul with excruciating torments, they were overcome by the force of the torments and, through the continued tortures, fell from the degree of glory...

    • 57. Cyprian and the Bishops at the Council of Carthage to Cornelius
      (pp. 156-162)

      (1) We, indeed, had decided long ago, dearly beloved Brother, after having mutually shared our counsel among ourselves, that they who, in the disturbance of the persecution, had been overthrown by the adversary and had lapsed and had defiled themselves with unlawful sacrifices should do full penance for a long time and, if the danger of sickness should press hard, they should receive peace under the thrust of death. For it was not right and the love of the Father and divine clemency did not permit the Church to be closed to those who knock and the help of the...

    • 58. Cyprian to the People of Thibaris
      (pp. 162-171)

      (1) I had, indeed, thought, dearly beloved Brethren, and I had it in mind, if the condition of affairs and circumstances permitted, according to your frequently expressed desire, to come to you myself and, present there, strengthen the brotherhood with whatever little moderate power of exhortation I could. But since we are detained here by such pressing affairs that opportunity is not given to get away for long from this place and from the people over whom we are placed for a time through the divine favor, in the meantime, I have sent this letter to you as a substitute...

    • 59. Cyprian to Cornelius
      (pp. 171-193)

      (1) I read your letter, dearly beloved Brother, which you sent by Saturus,³ our brother, the acolyte, abundantly full of brotherly love and ecclesiastical discipline and of priestly censure. In it you indicated that Felicissimus,⁴ no new enemy of Christ, but one excommunicated long ago because of his many and most serious crimes and condemned, not only by my judgment, but also by that of very many of our fellow bishops, has been rejected by you there. And when he had come surrounded by a crowd and faction of desperate men, he was driven from the Church with the full...

    • 60. Cyprian to Cornelius
      (pp. 193-196)

      (1) We have learned, dearly beloved Brother, the glorious testimonies of your faith and virtue and we have received the honor of your confession so exultingly that we think ourselves also sharers and allies in your merits and praises. For, since we have one Church and a united mind and indivisible concord, what bishop does not exult in the praises of his fellow bishop as if they were his own or what brotherhood everywhere does not rejoice in the joy of its brethren?

      It cannot be adequately expressed how great was the exultation here and how great was the joy...

    • 61. Cyprian and His Colleagues to Lucius
      (pp. 196-199)

      (1) And recently, indeed, we congratulated you, dearly beloved Brother, when the divine condescension appointed you for the double honor of confessor, likewise, and of bishop in the administration of His Church. But now no less do we congratulate you and your companions and the whole brotherhood because the benign and abundant protection of the Lord has brought it about that you return to His people finally with the same glory and with your praises that the shepherd might be returned to feed the flock, and the pilot to govern the ship, and the ruler to rule the people, and...

    • 62. Cyprian to Januarius, Maximus, Proculus, Victor, Modianus, et al.
      (pp. 199-202)

      (1) With the greatest groaning of our spirit and not without tears, we have read your letter, dearly beloved Brethren, which, because of the solicitude of your love, you sent to us concerning the captivity of our brethren and sisters. For who would not grieve in cases of this nature or who would not consider the sorrow of his brother as his own since the Apostle Paul speaks and says: ‘If one member suffers, the other members also suffer, and if one member glories, the other members also rejoice’10 And in another place he says: ‘Who is weak and I...

    • 63. Cyprian to Cecil
      (pp. 202-216)

      (1) Although I know, dearly beloved Brother, that very many bishops placed by the divine condescension in charge of the Churches of the Lord in the whole world keep the order of evangelical truth and of the tradition of the Lord and do not depart by human and novel institution from that which Christ, the Master, both taught and did, yet since certain ones, either through ignorance or through simplicity, in consecrating the Chalice of the Lord and in ministering to the people, do not do that which Jesus Christ, our Lord and God, the Author and Teacher of this...

    • 64. Cyprian and the Bishops at the Council of Carthage to Fidus
      (pp. 216-219)

      (1) We have read your letter, dearly beloved Brother, in which you indicated concerning Victor,³ formerly a priest, that, before he had done full penance and had made satisfaction to the Lord God against whom he had sinned, Therapius,⁴ our colleague, rashly gave him peace after an insufficient time and with headlong haste. This matter disturbed us sufficiently in that it was a departure from the authority of our decree, that, before the legitimate and full time of satisfaction, both without the petition and against the conscience of the people, with no infirmity pressing and no necessity compelling, peace was...

    • 65. Cyprian to Epictetus and the People of Assurae
      (pp. 219-223)

      (1) I was gravely and painfully moved, dearly beloved Brethren, because I learned that Fortunatian,³ formerly bishop among you, after the serious lapse of his ruin, is wishing now to act as if he were upright and has begun to claim the episcopate for himself. This matter has saddened me, first, because of the man himself who, poor wretch, either totally blinded by the darkness of the devil or deceived by the sacrilegious persuasion of certain persons, although he ought to make satisfaction and exert himself to supplicate the Lord day and night with tears and prayers and entreaties, still...

    • 66. Cyprian to Florentius Puppian
      (pp. 223-230)

      (1) I had believed finally, Brother, that you were already converted to penance because in the past you had given heed to or you had rashly believed concerning us such unspeakable, such base, and such detestable things even for the pagans. But I notice again even now in your letter that you are still the same as you were before, that you believe the same things concerning us, and that you are persisting in that which you believed, and, lest the dignity of your excellence and martyrdom be stained by communion with us, you are inquiring diligently into our actions...

    • 67. Cyprian and the Bishops at the Council of Carthage to Felix, Aelius, and Their People
      (pp. 230-239)

      (1) When we had come together, dearly beloved Brethren, we read your letter which you sent to us through Felix43 and Sabinus,⁴⁴ our fellow bishops, in the integrity of your faith and fear of the Lord, signifying that Basilides⁴⁵ and Martial,⁴⁶ contaminated by the certificates of idolatry and bound by the consciousness of heinous deeds, ought not to govern the bishopric and administer the priesthood of God. And you desired that an answer be sent to you in regard to these matters and that your just and necessary solicitude be relieved by either the solace or by the aid of...

    • 68. Cyprian to Stephen
      (pp. 239-243)

      (1) Our colleague, Faustinus,³ abiding at Lyons, dearly beloved Brother, has written me time and again to mention matters which I know have likewise been reported to you as well by him as by the rest of our fellow bishops abiding in the same province: that Marcian,⁴ abiding at Arles, has joined himself to Novatian⁵ and has withdrawn from the truth of the Catholic Church and from the assembly of our body and bishopric, holding the most stubborn depravity of heretical presumption that the solaces and aids of divine mercy and of paternal tenderness should be closed to the servants...

    • 69. Cyprian to Magnus
      (pp. 244-257)

      (1) With your conscientious diligence, you have consulted our poor intelligence, dearly beloved Son, as to whether, among other heretics, they also who come from Novatian³ ought, after his profane washing, to be baptized and sanctified in the Catholic Church with the legitimate and true and only baptism of the Church. Concerning this matter, as much as the capacity of our faith and the holiness and truth of the Divine Scriptures suggest, we say that all heretics and schismatics altogether have no power or right. Because of this, Novatian neither ought to be nor can be made an exception because...

    • 70. Cyprian and Thirty Bishops to Januarius, Saturninus, et al.
      (pp. 258-262)

      (1) When we were together in council,⁵⁰ dearly beloved Brethren, we read your letter which you wrote concerning those who seem baptized among heretics and schismatics, as to whether they ought to be baptized when they come to the Catholic Church, which is one. Concerning this matter, although you yourselves there hold the truth and firmness of the Catholic rule, yet, because you thought that we ought to be consulted in accordance with our mutual love, we express our judgment, which is not new, but we join with you with a like agreement in one already decreed by our predecessors...

    • 71. Cyprian to Quintus
      (pp. 262-265)

      (1) Lucian,³ our fellow priest, brought word to me, dearly beloved Brother, that you desired us to make known to you what we judge concerning these who seem baptized by heretics and schismatics. Concerning this matter, that you may know what we very many fellow bishops with priests who were present in a council⁴ decided recently, I have sent to you a copy of the same letter. For I do not know by what presumption certain of our colleagues are led to think that they who have been baptized by heretics ought not to be baptized when they come to...

    • 72. Cyprian and Other Bishops at the Council of Carthage to Stephen
      (pp. 265-268)

      (1) To settle certain matters and to investigate them by the examination of a common council, we thought it necessary, dearly beloved Brother, to summon and to proclaim a council with very many bishops assembled together; in this, indeed, many matters were brought forth and examined. But it was especially necessary to write to you and to confer with your dignity and wisdom concerning a matter which pertains greatly to sacerdotal authority and to the unity as well as to the dignity of the Catholic Church, coming from the ordination of the divine arrangement: that those who have been dyed³...

    • 73. Cyprian to Jubaian
      (pp. 268-285)

      (1) You have written to me, dear Brother, desiring that the thought of my mind be signified to you as to what I judge concerning the baptism of heretics, who, placed outside and established out of the Church, claim for themselves a matter neither within their right nor within their power. We can neither ratify this nor consider it lawful since it is evident that this is illicit among them. And since we have already expressed in our letter,³ what is our decision on this matter, to make a compendium for you, I have sent a copy of this same...

    • 74. Cyprian to Pompey
      (pp. 285-294)

      (1) Although we expressed fully those things which must be said about the baptizing of heretics in the letters of which I sent you copies, dearly beloved Brother, yet, since you desired that what Stephen,³ our brother, replied to our letters be brought to your notice, I have sent you a copy of his answer. When you have read this, you will notice more and more his error, who is attempting to support the cause of the heretics against Christians and against the Church of God. For among other matters, either arrogant or irrelevant or self-contradictory, which he has written...

    • 75. Firmilian to Cyprian
      (pp. 295-313)

      (1) We have received through Rogatian,³ our dearly beloved deacon, sent by you, the letter which you wrote to us, dearly beloved Brother, and we gave the greatest thanks to God for this because it has happened that we who are separated from one another in the body are so joined in the spirit as if we were not only occupying the same region but dwelling together in the very same house. And it is fitting to say this because the spiritual house of God is one. ‘For in the last days,’ it says, ‘the mountain of the Lord and...

    • 76. Cyprian to Nemesianus and Other Bishops and Martyrs in the Mines
      (pp. 313-318)

      (1) Your glory, indeed, would demand, most blessed and dearly beloved Brethren, that I myself should come to see and to embrace you if prescribed limits of place did not keep me also banished because of confession of the Name. But as far as I can, I manifest myself to you and, although it is not granted me to come to you in body and in movement, yet I come to you in love and in spirit, expressing in a letter my mind in which I exult joyfully in those virtues and praises of yours, considering myself a sharer with...

    • 77. Nemesianus, Dativus, Felix, and Victor to Cyprian
      (pp. 319-320)

      (1) You have always spoken in your letters with great understanding, according to the condition of the time, dearly beloved Cyprian. After they have read these diligently, depraved men are corrected and men of good faith are strengthened. For while you do not cease in your treatises to lay bare hidden mysteries, thus you make us grow in faith and men of the world come near to belief. For whatever good you have brought in your many books, you have unconsciously revealed yourself to us. For you are greater than all men in discourse, more eloquent in speech, wiser in...

    • 78. Lucius and Others to Cyprian
      (pp. 321-322)

      (1) Your letter, which you sent to us through Herennianus,³ the subdeacon, and Lucan⁴ and Maximus⁵ and Amantius,⁶ the acolytes, came to us, dearly beloved Brother, when we were exulting and rejoicing in God because He had armed us for the combat and made us victors in the battle by His condescension. Having read it, we received a loosening of our bonds, a solace in affliction, and a protection in our necessity and we were stirred up and animated more strongly for whatever more punishment there might be. For, before our suffering, we were stirred up to glory by you...

    • 79. Felix, Jader, Polianus, and Others in the Mines to Cyprian
      (pp. 322-323)

      Strong and safe with the help of your prayers, we greet you in return, dearly beloved Brother, through Herennianus,⁵ the subdeacon, and Lucan⁶ and Maximus,⁷ our brethren. From them we received a donation in the name of an offering together with your letter which you sent, in which you condescended to comfort us as your children with heavenly words.

      And we have given and we do give thanks to God, the Father Almighty, through His Christ because we have been thus comforted and strengthened by your encouragement, seeking from the brightness of your spirit that you may deign to keep...

    • 80. Cyprian to Successus
      (pp. 323-324)

      (1) This fact was responsible for my not writing to you immediately, dearly beloved Brother, that all the clergy situated in the thrust of the struggle were wholly unable to depart hence, all prepared according to the devotion of their minds for the divine and heavenly glory. But know that they had come whom I had sent to Rome for this, to bring back to us the truth they had found out in whatever manner it had been decreed concerning us. For many and varied and uncertain things are bruited about by rumors.

      But the things which are true in...

    • 81. Cyprian to the Priests and People
      (pp. 324-326)

      When it had been reported to us, dearly beloved Brethren, that officials had been sent to bring me to Utica and I had been persuaded by the counsel of those dearest to retire for a time from our gardens since a just cause was present, I consented because it is fitting for a bishop to confess the Lord there in that city in which he presides over the Church of the Lord and to glorify the whole people by the confession of their leader in their presence. For whatever a confessor bishop speaks in the very moment of confession with...

    (pp. 329-352)