Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 1274
Cyprian, bishop of Carthage (North Africa), congratulates Cornelius, bishop of Rome, on the return of some of the confessors, among them Presbyter Maximus, to the unity of the Church. Cyprian, Letter 51, AD 251.
Epistula 51
Cyprianus Cornelio fratri s[alutem].
I,1. Et egisse nos et agere, frater carissime, maximas gratias sine cessatione profitemur Deo patri omnipotenti et Christo eius domino et Deo nostro salutari, quod sic ecclesia diuinitus protegatur ut unitas eius et sanctitas non iugiter nec in totum perfidiae et haereticae prauitatis obstinatione uioletur.
Legimus enim litteras uestras et uoti communis amplissimum gaudium exultanter excepimus Maximum presbyterum et Vrbanum confessores cum Sidonio et Macario ad ecclesiam catholicam regressos esse, id est errore deposito et schismatico immo haeretico furore deserto unitatis ac ueritatis domicilium fideli sanitate repetisse, ut unde ad gloriam processerant illuc gloriosi redirent, ne qui Christum confessi essent Christi postmodum castra desererent, nec temptarentur caritatis atque unitatis fide qui uicti robore et uirtute non fuerant.
(ed. Diercks 1994: 240-241)
Letter 51
Cyprian to Cornelius his brother, greeting.
I,1. I profess that I both have rendered and do render the greatest thanks without ceasing, dearest brother, to God the Father Almighty, and to His Christ the Lord and our God and Saviour, that the Church is thus divinely protected, and its unity and holiness is not constantly nor altogether corrupted by the obstinacy of perfidy and heretical wickedness.
For we have read your letter, and have exultingly received the greatest joy from the fulfilment of our common desire; to wit, that Maximus the presbyter, and Urbanus, the confessors, with Sidonius and Macarius, have re-entered into the Catholic Church, that is, that they have laid aside their error, and given up their schismatical, nay, their heretical madness, and have sought again in the soundness of faith the home of unity and truth; that whence they had gone forth to glory, thither they might gloriously return; and that they who had confessed Christ should not afterwards desert the camp of Christ, and that they might not tempt the faith of their charity and unity, who had not been overcome in strength and courage.


For the same event see also [1272] and [1276]. Maximus and the others initially supported Novatian. Novatian was ordained against Cornelius, after the election of Cornelius as the bishop of Rome in AD 251. Novatian and his followers took the rigorist view towards the lapsed, but they communicated with the followers of Novatus in Carthage, who rebelled against Cyprian considering him too rigorist.

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.
J. Patout Burns Jr, Cyprian the Bishop, London & New York 2002.


Change of denomination
Described by a title - Presbyter/πρεσβύτερος
Relation with - Bishop/Monastic superior
Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: S. Adamiak, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER1274,