31 second read

Cyprian: On the Unity of the Church Introduction

Who: Third century bishop of Carthage (in modern Tunisia), and martyr from Africa

What: A letter to encourage the unity of the church against schisms and heresy during massive Roman persecution.

Why: A disturbance had happened in the church because of a priest called Novatian—a schismatic of the third century, and founder of the sect of the Novatians. Cyprian wrote to counter this and argues that there can only be one united Church, and the Novatian breakaway was in fact a false church. He also argues that Novatian himself was also an antipope.1

When: Around 249 - 251 AD


1A false claimant of the Holy See in opposition to a pontiff who was officially elected.

Keywords: Cyprian ante-nicene fathers Novatian introduction antipope schismatics