Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 1258
Cyprian, the bishop of Carthage (North Africa), informs the presbyters, deacons, and people of Carthage that he accepted into the clergy of Carthage the presbyter Numidicus, a victim of persecutions in another place. He mentions that some of the presbyters lapsed during the persecutions. Cyprian, Letter 40, AD 250.
Epistula 40
Cyprianus presbyteris et diaconibus et plebi universae carissimis ac desiderantissimis fratribus s[alutem].
I,1. Nuntiandum uobis fuit, fratres carissimi, quod pertineat et ad communem laetitiam et ad ecclesiae nostrae maximam gloriam.
Nam admonitos nos et instructos sciatis dignatione diuina ut Numidicus presbyter adscribatur presbyterorum Carthaginensium numero et nobis cum sedeat in clero, luce clarissima confessionis inlustris et uirtutis ac fidei honore sublimis: qui hortatu suo copiosum martyrum numerum lapidibus et flammis necatum ante se misit quique uxorem adhaerentem lateri suo concrematam simul cum ceteris, uel conseruatam magis dixerim, laetus aspexit. Ipse semiustilatus et lapidibus obrutus et pro mortuo derelictus, dum postmodum filia sollicito pietatis obsequio cadauer patris inquirit, semianimis inuentus et extractus et focilatus a comitibus quos ipse praemiserat remansit inuitus.
2. Sed remanendi, ut uidemus, haec fuit causa ut eum clero nostro dominus adiungeret et desolatam per lapsum quorundam presbyterorum nostrorum copiam gloriosis sacerdotibus adornaret.
3. Et promouebitur quidem, cum deus permiserit, ad ampliorem locum religionis suae, quando in praesentiam protegente domino uenerimus. [...]
(ed. Diercks 1994: 193-194)
Letter 40
Cyprian to the presbyters and deacons, and to the whole people, his brethren, very dear and longed for, greeting.
I,1. That which belongs, dearest brethren, both to the common joy and to the greatest glory of our Church ought to be told to you; for you must know that I have been admonished and instructed by divine condescension, that Numidicus the presbyter should be appointed in the number of Carthaginian presbyters, and should sit with us among the clergy,—a man illustrious by the brightest light of confession, exalted in the honour both of virtue and of faith; who by his exhortation sent before himself an abundant number of martyrs, slain by stones and by the flames, and who beheld with joy his wife abiding by his side, burned (I should rather say, preserved) together with the rest. He himself, half consumed, overwhelmed with stones, and left for dead,—when afterwards his daughter, with the anxious consideration of affection, sought for the corpse of her father,—was found half dead, was drawn out and revived, and remained unwillingly from among the companions whom he himself had sent before.
2. But the reason of his remaining behind, as we see, was this: that the Lord might add him to our clergy, and might adorn with glorious priests the number of our presbyters that had been desolated by the lapse of some.
3. And when God permits, he shall be advanced to a larger office in his region, when, by the Lord’s protection, we have come into your presence once more.


It seems clear from the text that Numidicus has already been a presbyter in another place, and now Cyprian accepts him into the clergy of Carthage. The letter gives us interesting information about the family of the presbyter.

Place of event:

  • Latin North Africa
  • Carthage

About the source:

Author: Cyprian
Title: Letters, Epistulae, Epistolae
Origin: Carthage (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 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.


Family life - Offspring
Ecclesiastical transfer
Described by a title - Presbyter/πρεσβύτερος
Reasons for ordination - Pastoral needs of the Christian community
Specific number of presbyters from the same church
    Public law - Secular
      Relation with - Children
      Conflict - Violence
      Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: S. Adamiak, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER1258,