Ante-Nicene Fathers/Volume V/Cyprian/The Epistles of Cyprian/Part 34
To the Same, About the Ordination of Numidicus as Presbyter.
Argument.—Cyprian Tells the Clergy and People that Numidicus Has Been Ordained by Him Presbyter; And Briefly Commends His Worth.
Cyprian to the presbyters and deacons, and to the whole people, his brethren, very dear and longed-for, greeting. That which belongs, dearest brethren, both to the common joy and to the greatest glory of our Church ought to be told to you; for you must know that I have been admonished and instructed by divine condescension, that Numidicus the presbyter should be appointed in the number of Carthaginian presbyters, and should sit with us among the clergy,—a man illustrious by the brightest light of confession, exalted in the honour both of virtue and of faith; who by his exhortation sent before himself an abundant number of martyrs, slain by stones and by the flames, and who beheld with joy his wife abiding by his side, burned (I should rather say, preserved) together with the rest. He himself, half consumed, overwhelmed with stones, and left for dead,—when afterwards his daughter, with the anxious consideration of affection, sought for the corpse of her father,—was found half dead, was drawn out and revived, and remained unwillingly from among the companions whom he himself had sent before. But the reason of his remaining behind, as we see, was this: that the Lord might add him to our clergy, and might adorn with glorious priests the number of our presbyters that had been desolated by the lapse of some. And when God permits, he shall be advanced to a larger office in his region, when, by the Lord’s protection, we have come into your presence once more. In the meantime, let what is revealed be done, that we receive this gift of God with thanksgiving, hoping from the Lord’s mercy more ornaments of the same kind, that so the strength of His Church being renewed, He may make men so meek and lowly to flourish in the honour of our assembly. I bid you, brethren, very dear and longed-for, ever heartily farewell.
- Oxford ed.: Ep. xl. a.d. 250.
- Otherwise, “unconquered.”
- [Let us put ourselves in Cyprian’s place, and share his anxiety to fill up the vacant places in his list of presbyters at this terrible period.]