SELECTIONS FROM EARLY CHRISTIAN WRITERS: ILLUSTRATIVE OF CHURCH HISTORY TO THE TIME OF CONSTANTINE by Henry Melvill Gwatkin, M.A. First Edition, Macmillan & Co., Ltd., 1893. Reprinted with additions and corrections, 1897, 1902, 1905. Prepared for katapi by Paul Ingram, 2013.
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LVII. CYPRIAN, Ep.27.


On Church Discipline


CYPRIANVS PRESBYTERIS ET DIACONVS ROMAE CONSISTENTIBVS FRATRIBVS S.

Factis ad vos litteris, fratres carissimi, quibus actus noster expositus et disciplinae ac diligentiae quantulaecumque ratio declarata est, aliud accessit quod nec ipsum latere vos debuit. Nam frater noster Lucianus et ipse unus de confessoribus, fide quidem calidus et virtute robustus sed bene minus dominica lectione fundatus, quaedam conatus est inperite, iam pridem se auctorem constituens, ut manu eius scripti libelli gregatim multis nomine Pauli darentur, cum Mappalicus martyr cautus et verecundus, legis ac disciplinae memor, nullas contra evangelium litteras fecerit, sed tantum domestica pietate commotus matri et sorori suae quae lapsae fuerant mandaverit pacem dari, Saturninus quoque post tormenta adhuc in carcere constitutus nullas eiusmodi litteras emiserit. Lucianus vero non tantum Paulo adhuc in carcere posito nomine eius libellos manu sua scriptos passim dedit, sed et post eius excessum eadem facere sub eius nomine perseveravit, dicens hoc sibi ab illo esse mandatum et nesciens domino magis quam conservo obtemperandum. Aureli quoque adulescentis tormenta perpessi nomine libelli multi dati sunt eiusdem Luciani manu scripti, quod litteras ille non nosset. Cui rei ut aliquantum possit obsisti, litteras ad eos feci quas ad vos sub epistola priore transmisi, quibus petere et suadere non destiti ut dominicae legis et evangelii ratio teneretur. Post quas litteras quasi moderatius aliquid et temperantius fieret, universorum confessorum nomine Lucianus epistolam scripsit, qua paene omne vinculum fidei et timor dei et mandatum domini et evangelii sanctitas et firmitas solveretur. Scripsit enim omnium nomine universos eos pacem dedisse et hanc formam per me aliis episcopis innotescere velle, cuius epistolae exemplum ad vos transmisi.

Cyprian to the presbyters and deacons abiding at Rome, his brethren, greeting.

After the letters that I wrote to you, beloved brethren, in which what I had done was explained, and an account was given of my discipline and diligence, such as it is, there came another matter which, any more than the others, ought not to be concealed from you. For our brother Lucian, who himself also is one of the confessors, earnest indeed in faith, and robust in virtue, but little established in the reading of the Lord's word, has attempted certain things in a foolish way, having now for some time made himself the cause that certificates written by his hand were given indiscriminately to many persons in the name of Paulus; whereas Mappalicus the martyr, cautious and modest, mindful of the law and discipline, wrote no letters contrary to the Gospel, but only, moved with domestic affection for his mother and sister, who had fallen, commanded peace to be given to them. Saturninus, moreover, after his torture, still remaining in prison, sent out no letters of this kind. But Lucian, not only while Paulus was still in prison, gave everywhere in his name certificates written with his own hand, but even after his decease persisted in doing the same things under his name, saying that this had been commanded him by Paulus, ignorant that he must obey the Lord rather than his fellow-servant. In the name also of Aurelius, a young man who had undergone the torture, many certificates were given, written by the hand of the same Lucian, because Aurelius did not know how to write himself.

In order, in some measure, to put a stop to this practice, I wrote letters to them, which I have sent to you under the enclosure of the former letter, in which I did not cease to ask and persuade them that consideration might be had for the law of the Lord and the Gospel. But after I sent my letters to them, as if something were being done more moderate and temperate; the same Lucian wrote a letter in the name of all the confessors, in which well nigh every bond of faith, and fear of God, and the Lord's command, and the sacredness and fixity of the Gospel were dissolved. For he wrote in the name of all, that they had all given peace, and that he wished that this decree should be communicated through me to the other bishops, of which letter I have transmitted a copy to you.

A.N.L.


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