Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 1797
Cyprian, presbyter in Carthage (North Africa) befriends another presbyter, Caecilianus, of exemplary life. He is asked by Caecilianus to take care of his wife and children after his death; AD 244-248/9. Pontius, "Life of Cyprian", Carthage (North Africa), AD 258/400.
Chapter 4
1. Erat sane illi etiam de bonis contubernium viri iusti et laudabilis memoriae Caeciliani et aetate tunc et honore presbyteri, qui eum ad agnitionem verae divinitatis a saeculari errore correxerat.
2. Hunc toto honore atque omni observantia diligebat, obsequenti veneratione suspiciens, non iam ut amicum animae coaequalem, sed tamquam novae vitae parentem.
3. Denique ille demulsus obsequiis in tantum dilectionis immensae meritis provocatus est, ut de saeculo excedens adcersitione iam proxima commendaret illi coniugem ac liberos suos et quem fecerat de sectae communione participem postmodum faceret pietatis heredem.
(ed. A.A.R. Bastiaesen 1975)
Chapter 4
1. He had a close association among us with a just man, and of praiseworthy memory, by name Caecilius, and in age as well as in honour a presbyter [that is an elder], who had converted him from his worldly errors to the acknowledgment of the true divinity.
2. This man he loved with entire honour and all observance, regarding him with an obedient veneration, not only as the friend and comrade of his soul, but as the parent of his new life.
3. And at length he, influenced by his attentions, was, as well he might be, stimulated to such a pitch of excessive love, that when he was departing from this world, and his summons was at hand, he commended to him his wife and children; so that him whom he had made a partner in the fellowship of his way of life, he afterwards made the heir of his affection.

Place of event:

  • Latin North Africa
  • Carthage

About the source:

Author: Pontian
Title: Life of Cyprian, Vita Cypriani, Uita Cypriani
Origin: Carthage (Latin North Africa)
Denomination: Catholic/Nicene/Chalcedonian
According to Jerome's "On Illustrious Men" 68, "Pontius, Cyprian's deacon, sharing his exile until the day of his death, left a notable volume On the life and death of Cyprian." Jerome, writing in AD 392, is the only author who names Pontius. The Life of Cyprian is mentioned also in the so-called "Cheltenham List" of Cyprian's works, composed in Rome in AD 359. Otherwise no ancient author refers to the Life of Cyprian, unlike his Acts which were widely quoted. This is why some scholars find it implausible that the Life of the most famous African bishop was actually written already in the 3rd century by a member of the Carthaginian clergy and remained unknown, all the more so as other Lives of Christian saints appear only a hundred years after Cyprian's death (AD 258), in the second half of the 4th century. These scholars argue that the text was in reality the work of an anonymous 4th century author. The precise dating of the text must remain uncertain, but the very limited early circulation of the Life of Cyprian is a fact. It was unknown even to Augustine who collected all Cyprian's works, and it had no impact for the further development of hagiography.
Discussion by: R. Wiśniewski, Cult of Saints, E00916 -
Hartel, G., Vita Cypriani (Corpus Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Latinorum 3:1; Vienna: 1868).
Harnack, A., Das Leben Cyprians von Pontius, die erste christliche Biographie (Texte und Untersuchungen 39:3; Leipzig: J.C. Hinrichs, 1913).
Pellegrino, M., Ponzio, Vita e Martirio di San Cipriano (Alba: Edizioni Paoline, 1955).
Bastiaensen, A.A.R. (ed.), and Canali, L. (trans.), Vita di Cipriano, in: Vite dei santi, vol. 3 (Milan: Mondadori, 1975).
English translation:
Wallis, R.E., The Life and Passion of Cyprian by Pontius the Deacon (Ante-Nicene Fathers 5; Buffalo NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1886).


Family life - Marriage
Family life - Permanent relationship continued after ordination
Family life - Offspring
Described by a title - Presbyter/πρεσβύτερος
Impediments or requisits for the office - Age
Reverenced by
Relation with - Another presbyter
Relation with - Wife
Relation with - Children
Relation with - Woman
Further ecclesiastical career - None
Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: S. Adamiak, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER1797,