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The Liturgical Calendar: The Church Remembers

Today the church remembers Cyprian, Bishop and Martyr of Carthage, 258.

Cyprian was a respected attorney of Carthage who converted to Christianity in middle age. He had been baptized only two years before he was consecrated Bishop of Carthage. When the Decian persecution broke out he fled under duress, but retained the respect of his flock, continuing to correspond with those who were riding out the persecution in the city. When the persecution subsided, Cyprian returned to rebuild the diocese carefully and firmly.

When a plague broke out in 252, he quickly mobilized the church to help those in need and spent countless hours personally ministering to the sick of the city. This did not prevent public opinion and the authorities from blaming the plague on the “impious Christians.” Soon there was another persecution, this time under the Emperor Valerian, and Bishop Cyprian chose to stay in the city. He was arrested and exiled for a time, then tried and finally executed.

Cyprian wrote a number of short treatises on Christian living, all of which show a profound understanding of human nature. He was a moderate and compassionate pastor and an example to his flock.

Kindle in us the courage to follow your ways, even under great adversity. Amen.

Read the Wikipedia article here.

Almighty God, who gave to your servant Cyprian boldness to confess the Name of our Savior Jesus Christ before the rulers of this world, and courage to die for this faith: Grant that we may always 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, for ever and ever. Amen.

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