Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 1239
Cyprian, the bishop of Carthage, approves the decision of his presbyters and deacons not to communicate with the Presbyter Gaius of Didda, who communicated with the lapsed. Cyprian, Letter 34, AD 250.
Epistula 34
Cyprianus presbyteris et diaconibus fratribus s[alutem]
I. Integre et cum disciplina fecistis, fratres carissimi, quod ex consilio collegarum meorum qui praesentes erant Gaio Didensi presbytero et diacono eius censuistis non communicandum, qui communicando cum lapsis et offerendo oblationes eorum in prauis erroribus suis frequenter deprehensi et semel atque iterum secundum quod mihi scripsistis a collegis meis moniti, ne hoc facerent, in praesumptione et audacia sua pertinaciter perstiterunt, decipientes quosdam fratres ex plebe nostra, quibus nos omni utilitate consultum cupimus et quorum saluti non adulatione corrupta sed sincera fide prospicimus, ut uera paenitentia et gemitu ac dolore pleno deum deprecentur [...].
II,1. Ingemescere autem et agere paenitentiam quomodo possunt quorum gemitibus et lacrimis intercedunt quidam de presbyteris, ut communicandum cum illis temere existiment nescientes scriptum esse: qui uos beatos esse dicunt, in errorem uos mittunt et semitam pedum uestrorum turbant.
III,1. Interea si quis inmoderatus et praeceps siue de nostris presbyteris uel diaconis siue de peregrinis ausus fuerit ante sententiam nostram communicare cum lapsis, a communicatione nostra arceatur, apud omnes nos causam dicturus temeritatis suae, quando in unum permittente domino conuenerimus.
(ed. Diercks 1994: 167-169)
Letter 34
Cyprian to the presbyters and deacons, his brethren, greeting.
1. You have done uprightly and with discipline, beloved brethren, that, by the advice of my colleagues who were present, you have decided not to communicate with Gaius the presbyter of Didda, and his deacon; who, by communicating with the lapsed, and offering their oblations, have been frequently taken in their wicked errors; and who once and again, as you wrote to me, when warned by my colleagues not to do this, have persisted obstinately, in their presumption and audacity, deceiving certain brethren also from among our people, whose benefit we desire with all humility to consult, and whose salvation we take care for, not with affected adulation, but with sincere faith, that they may supplicate the Lord with true penitence and groaning and sorrow [...].
2. Yet how can those mourn and repent, whose groanings and tears some of the presbyters obstruct when they rashly think that they may be communicated with, not knowing that it is written, “They who call you happy cause you to err, and destroy the path of your feet?” [Isa 3:12 LXX]
3. In the meantime, if any unrestrained and impetuous person, whether of our presbyters or deacons or of strangers, should dare, before our decree, to communicate with the lapsed, let him be expelled from our communion, and plead the cause of his rashness before all of us when, by the Lord’s permission, we shall assemble together again.

Place of event:

  • Latin North Africa
  • Rome
  • Carthage
  • Rome

About the source:

Author: Cyprian
Title: Letters, Epistulae, Epistolae
Origin: Rome (Rome)
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 after, 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.


Described by a title - Presbyter/πρεσβύτερος
Ritual activity - Reconciliation/Administering penance
Public law - Ecclesiastical
    Relation with - Bishop/Monastic superior
      Administration of justice - Ecclesiastical
        Administration of justice - Excommunication/Anathema
        Ecclesiastical administration
          Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: S. Adamiak, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER1239,