Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 1231
Felix, probably a presbyter, is exiled with his wife, and his property is confiscated by the authorities during the Decian persecutions. Letter 24 in the epistolary of Cyprian of Carthage, AD 250.
Epistula 24
Cypriano et compresbyteris Carthagini consistentibus Caldonius s[alutem].
1. Necessitas temporis facit ut non temere pacem demus. Sed quoniam oportebat uobis scribere ut quoniam hi qui posteaquam sacrificauerunt iterato temptati extorrentes sunt facti: uidentur ergo mihi abluisse priorem delictum, dum possessiones et domos dimittunt et paenitentiam agentes Christum secuntur. Ergo Felix qui presbyterium subministrabat sub Decimo proximus mihi uinculis (plenius cognoui eundem Felicem) et Victoria coniux eius et Lucius fideles extorrentes facti reliquerunt possessiones quas  nunc fiscus tenet. [...]
(ed. Diercks 1994: 121)
Letter 24
Caldonius to Cyprian and his fellow-presbyters abiding at Carthage, greeting.
1. The necessity of the times induces us not hastily to grant peace. But it was well to write to you, that they who, after having sacrificed, were again tried, became exiles. And thus they seem to me to have atoned for their former crime, in that they now let go their possessions and homes, and, repenting, follow Christ. Thus Felix, who assisted in the office of presbyter under Decimus, and was very near to me in bonds (I knew that same Felix very thoroughly), Victoria, his wife, and Lucius, being faithful, were banished, and have left their possessions, which the treasury now has in keeping [...]


Caldonius was a bishop of an unknown see in North Africa. The exact meaning of "assisting in the office of presbyter" ("presbyterium subministrabat") is unclear, but I assume that Decimus was a bishop, and Felix his presbyter; the expression would make sense, stressing the subordinate character of the presbyter's ministry.

Place of event:

  • Latin North Africa

About the source:

Author: Cyprian
Title: Letters, Epistulae, Epistolae
Origin: Latin North Africa
Denomination: Catholic/Nicene/Chalcedonian
Cyprian was born probably about AD 200. He converted to Christianity in about 245 and in 248 was elected Bishop of Carthage. Soon afterwards, the Decian persecution began (in 249/250) and Cyprian went into hiding. In 251 he returned to the city. Under Valerian, he was exiled in 257 and executed in 258. The epistolary of Cyprian consists of 81 letters (16 of them by his correspondents, and 6 synodal or collective), the majority of them are from the period of 250-251, when they were the means of Cyprian`s communication with his clergy. They offer us a wide view on the organization of the Church in Carthage in the middle of the third century, her relation with the Church of Rome, on the development of the persecutions, and on the conflicts that they caused inside the Church.
Different numerations of Cyprian's letters exist, I follow the edition of Diercks in Corpus Christianorum.
G.F. Diercks ed., Sancti Cypriani Episcopi Epistularium. Epistulae 1-57, Corpus Christianorum. Series Latina 3B, Turnhout 1994.


Family life - Marriage
Family life - Permanent relationship after ordination
Described by a title - Presbyter/πρεσβύτερος
Public law - Secular
Relation with - Wife
Relation with - Woman
Administration of justice - Exile
Economic status and activity
Described by a title - Conpresbyter
    Theoretical considerations - On church hierarchy
    Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: S. Adamiak, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER1231,