Cornelius was ordained Bishop of Rome (Pope) in the year 251. He laboured to combat the Novatian schism and with the help of Cyprian he was able to enforce his authority. He was sent into exile by the Emperor Gallus, and he died at Civitavecchia in the year 253. His body was brought to Rome and interred in the cemetery of Callistus.
Cyprian was born in Carthage about the year 210. He was converted to the faith in mature life and ordained priest. He was ordained bishop of Carthage in 249. He guided his church excellently during much troubled times both by his deeds and his writings. During the persecution of Valerian he was first exiled, then, on 14 September 258, martyred for the faith.
Following is part of St. Cyprian’s letter to his dear friend, Pope Cornelius:
“Your faith, which the blessed apostle Paul foretold, shone brightly, my dear brother. He anticipated in his mind your noble courage and unflinching strength. He proclaimed your meritorious future deeds, and while he praised the parents, he roused the children. So long as you are bold and united you give good example to your fellow Christians of courage and unity.
I have been instructed by the warning voice of God’s providence and admonished by the salutary counsels of divine pity that the day when I shall be put to the test is approaching. I want to urge you earnestly then, my dear brother, as far as I can, in the name of that mutual love by which we cling to each other, that we fast, watch and pray with all our people unceasingly. These are the heavenly weapons which help us to stand and persevere bravely in our faith; these are the spiritual defences and divine weapons which are our protection.
Let us remember each other with one heart and mind. Let us pray for each other always and lighten our burdens and anxieties by our mutual love.”
Taken from the Office of Readings, the second reading, THE DIVINE OFFICE III.
Jakarta, 16 September 2015
A Christian Pilgrim