Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 2247
Presbyter Cyprian of Carthage (North Africa) was converted to Christianity by Presbyter Caecilius. He later became a presbyter and, subsequently, a bishop in Carthage. Jerome, "On Illustrious Men", Betlehem, AD 392-393.
CYPRIANUS Afer primum gloriose rhetoricam docuit, exinde, suadente presbytero Caecilio, a quo et cognomentum sortitus est, Christianus factus omnem substantiam suam pauperibus erogauit, ac post non multum temporis adlectus in presbyterium etiam episcopus Carthaginiensis constitutus est. Huius ingenii superfluum est indicem texere, cum sole clariora sint eius opera.
Passus est sub Valeriano et Gallieno principibus persecutione octaua, eo die quo Romae Cornelius, sed non eodem anno.
(ed. Cushing Richardson 1896: 38)
Cyprian, a native of Africa, at first taught rhetoric with distinction, then on the advice of Caecilius who gave him his surname, he became a Christian, gave over all his goods for the poor, and not long afterwards, first having been numbered among the presbyterate, was elected bishop of Carthage.
It is superfluous to compile an index of his scholarly output since his works are more illustrious than the sun.
He endured martyrdom during the eighth persecution in the reign of the emperors Valerian and Gallienus, on the same day, but not in the same year, as Cornelius at Rome.
(trans. Halton 1999: 95, slightly altered by J. Szafranowski)


According to Pontius' Life of Cyprian, Jerome's source of information, Cyprian assumed the office of a presbyter very shortly after his baptism in 245, seemingly without ever being ordained to lower clerical grades (see [1795]). The Life of Cyprian also tells about the friendship between Cyprian and the presbyter Caecilius of Carthage, and suggests that Caecilius adopted Cyprian, or at least made him his heir, see [1797]. This could explain Jerome's remark concerning Cyprian's cognonmen. Cyprian was elected bishop of Carthage some three years later in 248/249.
On the Life of Cyprian, see Robert Wiśniewski, Cult of Saints, E00916 -

Place of event:

  • Latin North Africa
  • Carthage

About the source:

Author: Jerome of Stridon
Title: On Illustrious Men, De viris illustribus, De viris inlustribus De viris inlustribus, On the Lives of Famous Men
Origin: Bethlehem (East)
Denomination: Catholic/Nicene/Chalcedonian
At the beginning and end of his De viris illustribus, Jerome writes that he finished the book in the fourteenth year of Theodosius` reign, that is, between 19 January 392 and 18 January 393. The De viris illustribus contains short biographies of 135 Christian authors, with Jerome himself being the subject of the last. The goal of Jerome`s project was to manifest that Christian literature should be seen on a par with the pagan literature in terms of both the quantity of great writers and the quality of their work. The dedicatee of the De viris illustribus is Flavius Lucius Dexter, a Roman official in the service of Theodosius and son of Bishop Pacianus of Barcelona.
E. Cushing Richardson ed., Hieronymus liber De viris inlustribus; Gennadius liber De viris inlustribus, Leipzig 1896.
Jerome, On Illustrious Men, trans. Th.P. Halton, The Fathers of the Church 100, Washington 1999.


Further ecclesiastical career - Bishop
Described by a title - Presbyter/πρεσβύτερος
Ritual activity - Baptism and instructing catechumens
Relation with - Another presbyter
Former ecclesiastical career - None
Writing activity
Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: J. Szafranowski, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER2247,