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Thursday, 22 February 2024
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Sts Cornelius & Cyprian



Cornelius, a Catholic priest, was named Pope to succeed Pope Fabian. There was a delay of fourteen months in electing this Pope at this time due to the Roman persecution. Pope Cornelius reigned as Pope from 251 to 253. During the persecution there were Catholics who denied their faith to avoid being put to death. Pope Cornelius agreed with St. Cyprian, the bishop of Carthage, that these lapsed Catholics should be allowed to repent and be readmitted into the Catholic faith. Pope Cornelius faced strong opposition but stood his ground and allowed the lapsed Catholics who repented to return to their faith. A new Roman emperor, Gallus, renewed the persecution against the Christians and Pope Cornelius was exiled . He suffered greatly in exile and eventually died in 253. Saint Cyprian considered him to be a martyr for the faith.

St. Cyprian was born of pagan parents in Carthage around 210 A.D. He eventually converted to Catholicism and was ordained Bishop of Carthage in 249. St. Cyprian disagreed with Pope Stephen I on the rebaptism of heretics and schismatics. He was the first African bishop to be martyred. He was decapitated in 258. He is the Patron Saint of Algeria and North Africa