16 September 2010

Commemoration of St. Cyprian of Carthage

Today our Synod commemorates St. Cyprian of Carthage.  From the Treasury and Synod's website:

Cyprian of Carthage, Pastor and Martyr

Cyprian (A.D. ca. 200–258), was acclaimed bishop of the north African city in Carthage around 248. During the persecution of the roman Emperor Decius, Cyprian fled Carthage but returned two years later. He was then forced to deal with the problem of Christians who had lapsed from their faith under persecution and now wanted to return to the Church. It was decided that these lapsed Christians could be restored but that their restoration could take place only after a period of penance that demonstrated their faithfulness. During the persecution under Emperor Valerian, Cyprian at first went into hiding but later gave himself up to the authorities. He was beheaded for the faith in Carthage in the year 258.

Treasury also treated us to a wonderful passage from him:

If we are sons of God; if we are already beginning to be His temples; if, having received the Holy Spirit, we are living holy and spiritually; if we have raised our eyes from earth to heaven; if we have lifted our hearts, filled with God and Christ, to things above and divine, let us do nothing but what is worthy of God and Christ! (pp. 727, 728)

So we pray together on this day:

Almighty God, You gave Your servant Cyprian boldness to confess the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ, before the rulers of this world and courage to die for the faith he proclaimed.  Give us strength always to be ready to give a reason for the hope that is in us and to suffer gladly for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

1 comment:

Past Elder said...

Yeah, good old Cyprian. Back in my preconciliar RC days, we heard a lot about "He cannot have God for his Father who has not the Church for his Mother", but not a hell of a lot about his standoff with Pope Stephen I, who said heretics may baptise of they do so in the name of the Trinity, whereas Cyprian said there can be no baptism outside the Church, then Stephen told him to stand down the bishop of Rome is the top dog here, and Cyprian said the hell you say. Stephen's position is still that of the RCC -- anyone may baptise if done in the name of Trinity.

They didn't say much about other claimants to be "bishop" of Carthage either. Or that he defended to Rome his skipping town during the Decian persecution saying God told him to in a vision.