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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Ss. Cornelius, P, and Cyprian, B, Mm

Matins Lesson and Collect, Ss. Cornelius and Cyprian

Cornelius of Rome and Cyprian of Carthage were friends, and are mentioned together in the Gregorian Canon, and commemorated together on this day. Cornelius was Pope during the time of the first anti-pope, namely, the heretick Novatian, against whose rigorist errors, in refusing absolution to Christians who had weakened under torture, Saints Cornelius and Cyprian have warned and defended the Church for all time. Cornelius was a Roman, who succeeded Saint Fabian in the Popedom in 251. He, and the holy Lady Lucina, took the bodies of the Apostles Peter and Paul out of the Catacombs and hid them in a safe place, against the time when they could be more honorable buried. When this became known to the imperial authorities, and likewise that Cornelius was the means of making many Christians, he was banished to Centumcellae where Cyprian, the holy Bishop of Carthage, comforted him by letters, which are still extant.

Cornelius is believed to have died from the effects of this cruel treatment, whereof Cyprian hath written : Should not he be ranked with the most illustrious Martyrs and Confessors, for he gave sufficient evidence of his love by being ready to suffer all that he could suffer? But some say that he was beheaded, namely, on the 14th day of September, in 253. Cyprian was beheaded in 258.
St. Jerome, in his Book on Ecclesiastical Writers, hath left the following account of him. Cyprian was an African. He was first distinguished as a teacher of rhetoric. He afterwards became a Christian at the persuasion of the priest Caecilius, (whose surname he took,) and parted all his goods among the poor. It was not long afterwards that he was ordained priest, and then made Bishop of Carthage. It would be idle to enlarge upon his wit, seeing that his works are as well known as the sun. He suffered under the Emperors Valerian and Gallienus, in the eighth persecution, and upon the same day, though not in the same year, that Cornelius testified at Rome.
Protect us, O Lord, we beseech thee : who observe the feast of blessed Cornelius and Cyprian, thy holy Martyrs and Bishops ; and grant that by their meritorious supplication we may ever find favour in thy sight. Through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.

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