New Catholic Dictionary – Saint Cyprian of Carthage

stained glass window of Saint Cyprian of Carthage, Sir Ninian Comper, Saint Cyprian's church, London, England; swiped with permission from the flickr account of Brother Lawrence Lew, OPArticle

(Thascius Cæcilius Cyprianus) Martyr, Archbishop of Carthage, born Carthage, 190; died there, 258. Converted to Christianity late in life, he was ordained priest, 247, and consecrated Bishop of Carthage, c.249. During the persecution of Decius, begun 250, Cyprian lived in hiding, directing his flock from his place of refuge, and for this reason he was condemned by his enemies. The question of the reconciliation of lapsed Christians with the Church had given rise to the custom of admitting them to Communion if a martyr requested this favor for them. Cyprian at first opposed the practise, but the sincerity of their contrition caused him to relent; this gave rise to the schism of the deacon Felicissimus; returning to Carthage, 251, Cyprian excommunicated the leaders. He supported Pope Cornelius against the antipope Novatian. Exiled to Curubis, 257, in the persecution of Valerian, he was brought back to Carthage and beheaded. Cyprian’s writings are of great importance; following Tertullian, he was the second great Christian Latin writer. His name occurs in the Communicantes in the Canon of the Mass. Feast, Roman Calendar, 16 September.

MLA Citation

  • “Saint Cyprian of Carthage”. New Catholic Dictionary. CatholicSaints.Info. 16 September 2012. Web. 23 February 2020. <>