Sunday, 16 September 2012
Saint Cyprian, Bishop, Martyr and Saint Cornelius, Pope and Martyr - Memorial
Pope and Martyr
Saint Cornelius became Bishop of Rome in 251. He fought against the Novatianschismatics and with the help of Cyprian was able to enforce his authority. He was exiled by Emperor Gallus, and died in exile in 253 in Civitavecchia. His body was brought to Rome where he was buried in the cemetery of Saint Callistus.
Bishop and Martyr
Cyprian was an African of noble birth, but of evil life, a pagan, and a teacher of rhetoric. In middle life he was converted to Christianity, and shortly after his baptism was ordained priest, and made Bishop of Carthage, notwithstanding his resistance. When the persecution of Decius broke out, he fled from his episcopal city, that he might be the better able to minister to the wants of his flock, but returned on occasion of a pestilence. Later on he was banished, and saw in a vision his future martyrdom.
Being recalled from exile, sentence of death was pronounced against him, which he received with the words "Thanks be to God." His great desire was to die whilst in the act of preaching the faith of Christ, and he had the consolation of being surrounded at his martyrdom by crowds of his faithful children. He was beheaded on the 14th of September, 258, and was buried with great solemnity. Even the pagans respected his memory.
God our Father, in Saints Cornelius and Cyprian you have given your people an inspiring example of dedication to the pastoral ministry and constant witness to Christ in their suffering. May their prayers and faith give us courage to work for the unity of our Church. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
Lives of the Saints, by Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. ed.