Rediscover an early Church father who helped shape the Orthodox Church. In celebration of the feast day and martyrdom of St. Cyprian, you can save 25% on select titles featuring his work or biography. But hurry, this sale ends today at 5 p.m. (PDT).
History of the martyr
There is little information on St. Cyprian’s life before his conversion to Christianity. From his biographer Pontius, we know the Saint was a man of wealth and education—an upperclassmen of sorts. It was assumed that his family was of high stature, from which he likely inherited his property near Carthage.
Cyprian surrounded himself with the likes of men in governing positions. Evidence suggests his secular life was spent developing rhetorical skills as an orator—not so much as a matter of law, but more as an art. As a result of his chosen profession, honor, nobility, and a strong moral compass guided Cyprian throughout his life.
By the late 240s, social injustice, cruelty, and corruption paraded through the streets Carthage. Cyprian, repulsed by this behavior and guided by his sense of morality, sought friendship with Caecilius, a presbyter of the local church at Carthage. This friendship soon resulted in Cyprian’s conversion and baptism.
Leadership in the church
Soon after his conversion, Cyprian donated his wealth to the poor. He quickly grew in knowledge of the Scriptures, while the prestige of his former life as an orator equipped him for the clerical life. In 249, just a few years after his baptism, he was appointed as bishop of Carthage.
St. Cyprian’s quick rise in the church was not without opposition. For example, some of the more seasoned clergy opposed his installation as bishop.
However, this father’s skills in both scholarship and eloquent speech set him apart from other local members of clergy. Cyprian was skilled in administrative duties, but his greatest contribution to the Church came in his devotion to both serving and teaching the people.
Death of a Saint
Around the time he was elected bishop of Carthage, Emperor Decius had come into power in Rome. This new emperor ordered that the entire Empire should sacrifice to the Roman gods, receiving a libellus (a certificate) or facing severe punishment. Cyprian resisted, while also withdrawing into hiding (for which he endured criticism from the church in Rome). But he soon returned to Carthage where he continued to faithfully serve the Church.
In 256, Emperor Valerian began another persecution that would eventually make a martyr out of Cyprian. He was brought before the Roman proconsul where he confidently professed Christ. As a result, he was exiled for a full year. After his return, he was kept prisoner his own villa. And not long after this, he was sentenced to death by the sword—the result of an imperial edict demanding execution of all Christian clergy.
Study Cyprian with more depth
During the Saint’s life, he penned nearly a dozen tracts and over eighty different letters. These all give us a glimpse into the Church of the third century, as well as the events surrounding the life of this great Saint. And there’s no better way to study the works of Cyprian than in Logos.
Right now, you can save 25% on key works by or about St. Cyprian during the Celebrate Cyprian sale:
- Life and Works of Cyprian of Carthage (4 vols.)—Was:
$89.95, Now: $67.46
- The Early Christian Literature Primers (4 vols.)—Was:
$69.95, Now: $52.46
- On the Church: Select Letters—Was:
$18.95, Now: $14.21
- On the Lord’s Prayer—Was:
$16.95, Now: $12.71
- On the Church: Select Treatises—Was:
$14.95, Now: $11.21
Don’t hesitate—the Celebrate Cyprian sale ends at 5 p.m. (PDT) TODAY!