St. Cyprian of Carthage

quotes from Cyprian of Carthage:→

Cyprian was a bishop of Carthage and considered the pre-eminent Latin writer of Western Christianity until Jerome and Augustine.  His original name was Thascius; he took the additional name Caecilius in memory of the priest to whom he owed his conversion. Early in 250, the persecution under Roman Emperor Decian began. The persecution was especially severe at Carthage, according to Church sources. Many Christians fell away, and were thereafter referred to as “Lapsi” (the fallen).  Cyprian demanded that the lapsi undergo public penance before being re-admitted to the Church.  A rigorist party in Rome, who refused readmission to communion to any of the lapsed, elected Novatian as bishop of Rome, in opposition to Pope Cornelius. The Church of Rome declared the “Novatianism” heretical following the letters of Saint Cyprian of Carthage.  At the end of 256 a new persecution of the Christians broke out under Emperor Valerian, and Pope Sixtus II was executed in Rome and Cyprian was martyred shortly afterwards.

Extant Writings:

Quotes & Excerpts:

“If we find that none of those imploring His mercy are prohibited from doing penance, then the peace of absolution is able to be extended through His priests. The groans of those who mourn must be taken into account and thus the fruit of repentance must not be denied to the sorrowful. And since among the dead there is no confession, nor in that place can a confession be made, those who have repented from the bottom of their heart must, after a time, be received into the Church.
-Letter to Antonianus 55: 52: 29 (Written 252 A.D.)

“Of how much greater faith and salutary fear are they who…
confess their sins to the priests of God in a straightforward manner and in sorrow, making an open declaration of conscience. . .
I beseech you, brethren, let everyone who has sinned confess his sin while he is still in this world, while his confession is still admissible, while the satisfaction and remission made through the priests are still pleasing before the Lord.”
– The Lapsed 28 (Written in 251 A.D.)

“If, in the case of the worst sinners and those who formerly sinned much against God, when afterwards they believe, the remission of their sins is granted and no one is held back from baptism and grace, how much more, then, should an infant not be held back, who, having but recently been born, has done no sin, except that, born of the flesh according to Adam, he has contracted the contagion of that old death from his first being born. For this very reason does an infant approach more easily to receive the remission of sins: because the sins forgiven him are not his own but those of another.”
– Letters 64:5 (Written in 253 A.D.)

“As to what pertains to the case of infants:
You said… that the old law of
circumcision must be taken into
consideration, and that you did not think that one should be baptized and sanctified
within the eighth day after his birth.
In our council it seemed to us far otherwise..
Rather, we all judge that the mercy and grace of God ought to be denied to no man born.”
– Letters 64:2
(Written in 253 A.D.)

“You who are rich and wealthy, buy yourself from Christ gold purified in fire, for with your filth burned away as in the fire, you can be like pure gold, if you are cleansed by almsgiving and by works of justice. . . anoint not your eyes with the antimony of the devil, but with the salve of Christ, so that you may at last come to see God, when you have merited before God both by your works and by your manner of living.”
-Works and Almsgiving 14 (Written 252 A.D.)

“Sinners may do penance for a set time, and according• to the rules of discipline come to public confession, and by imposition of the hand of the bishop and clergy receive the right of Communion.”
-Letters 9:2
(Written 253 A.D.)

“Would the heretics dare to come to the very seat of Peter whence
Apostolic faith is derived and whither no errors can come?”
– Letters 59.55.14. (Written in 253 A.D.)

“In the priest Melchisedech we see the Sacrament of the Sacrifice of the Lord prefigured. . . where it says;
‘And Melchisedech, the King of Salem, brought out bread and wine, for he was a priest of the most High God, and he blessed Abraham.’ (Gen. 14:18-19).
The Psalms declare that Melchisedech is a type of Christ…
‘Before the daystar I begot You. You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchisedech.’ (Ps. 109:3-4).
The order is certainly that which comes from his sacrifice and that which comes down from it: because Melchisedech was a priest of the Most High God; because he offered bread; and because he blessed Abraham.
Who is more a priest of the Most High God than our Lord Jesus Christ, when He offered sacrifice to God, offered the same as Melchisedech, namely bread and wine, which is in fact His Body and Blood!”
-Letter to Cecil 63:4. (Written in 252 A.D.)

“Some say in regard to those who were baptized in Samaria that when the apostles Peter and John came there only hands were imposed on them so that they might receive the Holy Spirit, and that they were not re-baptized. . .
Since, then, they had already received a legitimate and ecclesiastical baptism, it was not necessary to re-baptize them. Rather, all that was lacking was done by Peter and John. The prayer having been made over them and hands having been imposed upon them, the Holy Spirit was invoked and was poured out upon them. This is even now the practice among us, so that those who are baptized in the Church then are brought before the prelates; through our prayer and the imposition of hands, they receive the Holy Spirit and are perfected with the seal of the Lord.” -Letter to Jubaianus, Bishop of Mauratania 73:9 (Written 253 A.D.)

“On Peter, he builds the Church (Matt, 16:18-19), and to him he gives the command to feed the sheep (John 21:17), and although he assigns a like power to all the apostles, yet he founded a single chair (cathedra), and he established by his own authority a source and an intrinsic reason for that unity. . . a primacy is given to Peter, whereby it is made clear that there is but one Church and one chair. If someone does not hold fast to this unity of Peter, can he imagine that he still holds the faith? If he deserts the chair of Peter upon whom the Church was built, can he still be confident that he is in the Church?”
-The Unity of the Catholic Church 4 (Written 251 A.D.)

“Our Lord, whose commands we ought to observe, says in the Gospel, by way of assigning the episcopal dignity and settling the plans for His Church;
‘I say to you that you are Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church and the gates of hell will not overcome it. I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in Heaven and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in Heaven.’ (Matt 16:18-19).
From that time, the ordination of Bishops and the plan of the Church flows on through the changes of times and successions; for the Church is founded upon the Bishops.”
– Letter to the Lapsed 33. 27. 1 (Written 250 A.D.)

“‘Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. . . Then I will say to them, I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
(Matt. 7: 21-23). There is need of righteousness, that one may deserve well of God the Judge; we must obey his precepts and warnings, that our merits may receive their reward”
-The Unity of the Catholic Church 15 (Written 251 A.D.)

“‘Whosoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily, is guilty of the body and blood of the Lord’ [I Cor. 11:27].
The impenitent scorn and despise all these warnings; before their sin is expiated, before their confession has been made, before their conscience has been purged by sacrifice and by the hand of the priest, violence is done to His body and blood; they sin now against the Lord with their hand and mouth more than when they denied their Lord.”
-The Lapsed 15: 1-3 (Written 251 A.D.)

“We find that the cup which the Lord offered was mixed; and that what was wine,
He called His Blood.
From this it is apparent that the Blood of Christ is not offered if there is no wine in the cup; nor is the Sacrifice of the Lord celebrated with a legitimate consecration unless our offering and sacrifice corresponds to His Passion.” -Letter to Cecil 63:9 (Written 252 A.D.)

“The Church is one, and since she is one, she cannot be both within and without.
For if she is with Novatian, then she is not with Pope Cornelius. If she is with Cornelius, who succeeded the bishop Fabian by lawful ordination. . . then Novatian is not in the Church; nor can he be reckoned as a bishop. since he -succeeding no one and despising the apostolic tradition- sprang only from himself.
For he who has not been ordained in the Church can neither have nor hold to the Church in any way.”
-Letters 75:3 (Written in 253 A.D.)

“Peter himself has commanded and warned us that we cannot be saved except by the one only baptism of the one Church. He says;
‘In the ark of Noah a few, that is, eight souls, were saved by water. Similarly, baptism will in like manner save you’ (1 Peter 3:20-21).
. . . In that baptism of the world in which its ancient wickedness was washed away, he who was not in the ark of Noah could not be saved by water. Likewise, neither can he be saved by baptism who has not been baptized in the Church.”
– Letters 73[71]: 11 (Written 253 A.D.)

“But if virgins have faithfully dedicated themselves to Christ, let them persevere in modesty and chastity, without incurring any evil report, and so in courage and steadiness await the reward of virginity.
But if they are unwilling or unable to persevere, it is better that they should marry than that by their crimes they should fall into the fire.
Certainly let them not cause a scandal to our brethren.”
– Letters 61:2
(Written 253 A.D.)

“Some, with their penance still unfulfilled, are admitted to Communion, and their name is presented; and while the penance is not yet performed, and confession is not yet made, and the hands of the bishop and clergy are not yet laid upon them, the Eucharist is given to them, although it is written;
‘Whosoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord’ [1 Cor. 11:27].”
-Letters 9:2 (Written in 253 A.D.)

“There is one God and one Christ, and one Church, and one chair founded on Peter by the word of the Lord. It is not possible to set up another altar or for there to be another priesthood besides that one altar and that one priesthood. Whoever has gathered elsewhere is scattering.”
-Letters 43 [40] :5
(Written 253 A.D.)

“But I wonder that some are so obstinate as to think that repentance is not to be granted to the lapsed, or to suppose that pardon is to be denied to the penitent, when it is written, ‘Remember whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works’ (Rev. 2:5) which certainly is said to him who evidently has fallen, and whom the Lord exhorts to rise up again by his deeds, because it is written,
‘Alms deliver from death [Tob. 12:9].’”
-Letters 51[55]:22 (Written in 252 A.D.)

“There speaks Peter, upon whom the Church would be built. . . You ought to know, then that the Bishop is in the Church and the Church is in the Bishop; and if anyone is not with the Bishop, then he is not in the Church. . . For the Church is One and Catholic, is not split or divided, but is indeed united and joined by the cement of priests who adhere to one another.”
Letter to Florentius Pupianus 66 (69) :8. (Written 254 A.D.)

“It is necessary for him that has been baptized to also be anointed, so that by his having received the chrism, that is, the anointing, he can be the anointed of God and have in him the grace of Christ.”
-Letter of Cyprian in Council with 30 Other Bishops of Proconsular Africa to Januarius, Bishop of Numidia 70:2
(Written in 253 A.D.)

“It is one thing to be cast into prison until one has paid the last penny, another thing to at once receive the wages of faith.
It is one thing, tortured by long sufferings for sins, to be cleansed and purged by fire; another to have purged all sins by suffering.
It is one thing to be held in suspense until the sentence at the day of Judgment; another to be crowned at once by the Lord.”
– Letters 51:20 (Written 252 A.D.)

“‘Give us this day our daily bread’. . .
We ask this bread be given us daily so that we who are in Christ and daily receive the Eucharist as the food of salvation, may not, by falling into some more grievous sin and then abstaining from communicating, be withheld from the heavenly Bread and be separated from Christ’s Body. . . He Himself warns us, saying,
‘Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man, you shall not have life within you.’”
-The Lords Prayer 18. (Written 252 A.D.)

“Let us remember one another in peace and unity. Let us on both sides of death always pray for one another. Let us relieve burdens and afflictions by mutual love, that if one of us. . . shall go hence first, our love may continue in the presence of the Lord, and our prayers for our brethren not cease in the presence of the Father’s mercy.”
– Letters 56[60]:5
(Written 253 A.D.)

“If Christ Jesus, our Lord and God, is himself the high priest of God the Father; and if he offered himself as a sacrifice to the Father; and if he commanded that this be done in commemoration of himself, then certainly the priest, who imitates that which Christ did, truly functions in place of Christ.” -Letters 63:14 (Written 253 A.D.)