The Sacred Writings of Saint Cyprian – Saint Cyprian
The Bishop of Carthage, one of the most illustrious in the early history of the church, and one of the most notable of its early martyrs, was born about the year 200, probably at Carthage. He was of patrician family, wealthy, highly educated, and for some time occupied as a teacher of rhetoric at Carthage. Of an enthusiastic temperament, accomplished in classical literature, he seems while a pagan to have courted discussion with the converts to Christianity. Confident in his own powers, he entered ardently into what was no doubt the great question of the time at Carthage as elsewhere. He sought to vanquish, but was himself vanquished by, the new religious force which was making such rapid inroads on the decaying paganism of the Roman empire. Caecilianus (or Caecilius), a presbyter of Carthage, is supposed to have been the instrument of his conversion, which seems to have taken place about 246. This edition contains all 82 epistles that the Bishop of Carthage wrote, as well as a big selection of his treatises.
The Sacred Writings of Saint Cyprian
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The writings of Saint Cyprian (from wikipedia)
St. Cyprian’s works were edited in volumes 3 and 4 of the Patrologia Latina. He was not a speculative theologian, his writings being always related to his pastoral ministry. The first major work was a monologue spoken to a friend called Ad Donatum, detailing his own conversion, the corruption of Roman government and the gladiatorial spectacles, and pointing to prayer as „the only refuge of the Christian“. Another early written work was the Testimonia ad Quirinum. During his exile from Carthage Cyprian wrote his most famous treatise, De Ecclesiae Catholicae Unitate (On the Unity of the Catholic Church) and on returning to his see, he issued De Lapsis (On the Fallen). Another important work is his Treatise on the Lord’s Prayer.
The following works are of doubtful authenticity: De spectaculis („On Public Games“); De bono pudicitiae („The Virtue of Modesty“); De idolorum vanitate („On the Vanity of Images,“ written by Novatian); De laude martyrii („In Praise of Martyrdom“); Adversus aleatores („Against Gamblers“); De duobus montibus Sina et Sion („On the Two Mountains Sinai and Sion“); Adversus Judaeos („Against the Jews“); and the Cena Cypriani („Cyprian’s Banquet“, which enjoyed wide circulation in the Middle Ages). The treatise entitled De duplici martyrio ad Fortunatum and attributed to Cyprian was not only published by Erasmus, but probably also composed by him. A number of grimoires, such as Libellus Magicus are also attributed to Cyprian. It is possible that his „Citation,“ was the only text written by him, a prayer for the help of angels against demonic attacks.
Doubtless only part of his written output has survived, and this must apply especially to his correspondence, of which some sixty letters are extant, in addition to some of the letters he received.
(The text of the last section was taken from a Wikipedia entry and is available under the the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.)
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