St. Cornelius had scarcely been elected Pope, when Novatian also claimed the Papacy. After convoking a synod in Italy, in which he gained the support of sixty Bishop, Cornelius established himself as the lawful pope. His correspondence with St. Cyprian in regard to reception of apostates in the Decian persecution remains as an early witness for the primacy of the Roman See. He died a Martyr, in 252.
Thascius Cyprianus was born at Carthage in Africa, where his father was one of the principal senators. His proficiency in stud was such that he became public professor of Rhetoric in his native city. After a rather dissolute life, he was converted through the influence of a priest named Caecilian, and was formed at his school. He led a retired penitential life, gaining renown for his virtue and being raised to the priesthood. In 248, he was appointed to succeed Donatus as Bishop of Carthage and became a model pastor.
In a short span of then years, St. Cyprian led his flock through a two-year persecution under Decius, defended the unity of the Church against two schismatical movements, was the soul of the city’s morale during a devastating plague, and experienced exile during which he kept up the spirits of his people by constant correspondence. In 258, this saintly man fell victim to a new persecution that erupted under Valerian.
PRAYER: God, You gave people Sts. Cornelius and Cyprian as zealous Priests and courageous Martyrs. Through their intercession, let us be strengthened in faith and persistence so that we may work strenuously for the unity of the Church. Amen.