Monday, September 14, 2009

St. Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage.15 September 2009

Sr. Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage

St. Cyprian was a well educated and well known orator in Carthage. He was baptised between 245 and 248,and after being baptised gave away some of his wealth. He was ordained deacon fairly quickly after this, and presbyter, and elected Bishop between 248 and 249, though opposed by the presbyters.

Shortly after consecration as Bishop, the Decian Persecution began. Cyprian fled secretly from Carthage, but managed to run and guide the church from a distance. E was condemned for this action, but was justified in the fact that he was able to help his people form a distance. After the persecution arose a controversy over whether or not to readmit to the church those who had sacrificed to the emperor. Many were rapidly readmitted to the communion without demonstrating clear signs of repentance. Cyprian insisted on clear repentance, and many were not readmitted until they were on the death bed, although this was often mitigated. . Presbyters were deposed for such sacrifices.

Another battle was to follow over baptism performed by non-Christians. Cyprian ran against the view of most of the church holding that such baptisms were not valid. In the year 256 began the Valerian persecution, and Cyprian prepared his diocese for this, in example this time, being arrested for being Christian and being put to death for refusing to sacrifice to the emperor. When judged that he must die, he responded thanks be to God, and was beheaded by sword on 14 September 256.

Collect: Father, you raised up Cyprian to be bishop of Carthage, and gave him gifts to administer and guide his church during time of great persecution. Grant that we may like him encourage others to follow the true faith, and like him be prepared to give up our lives for you. This we ask through our Lord and Saviour Yeshua haMoshiach, who lives and reins with you and the Ruach haKodesh, one God in glory everlasting. Amen. (red)

(note this feast day was transferred from Sunday)

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