(c. 200–58)
   Saint and Bishop.
   Cyprian was born in Carthage, North Africa. He was converted to Christianity in 246 and was consecrated Bishop of Carthage in 248. He quickly came into conflict with clergy in his diocese over the question of how those who had lapsed during a recent period of persecution should be received back into the Church. Subsequently he disagreed with Bishop Stephen of Rome over the nature of baptism. In his De Catholicae Ecclesiae Unitate, Cyprian argued that Sacraments were only valid within the Catholic Church and that therefore all those who had been baptised by schismatics or heretics must be rebaptised. These views were confirmed by two councils of African Bishops in 255–6, although Rome continued to insist that rebaptism was unnecessary since all baptisms were valid. During the Valerian persecutions in 257 Cyprian was banished from Carthage and he was later beheaded. He is remembered for his identification of the Christian ministry with the priestly and sacrificial functions outlined in the Old Testament and he was the author of the famous dictum, ‘Habere non potest Deum patrem qui ecclesiam non habet matrem’ (he cannot have God as his father, who does not have the Church as his mother).
   G.S.M. Walker, The Churchmanship of St Cyprian (1968);
   P. Hinchliff, Cyprian of Carthage (1974).

Who’s Who in Christianity . 2014.

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