Cyprian and Plague

For a number of years, I have subscribed to Christian History magazine. If you enjoy church history and are not acquainted with Christian History magazine, I highly recommend it. Every issue is beautiful and informative. It is one of many ways I connect with Jesus through His people.

I have been reading a special issue called, “Plagues and Epidemics: Christian Responses Past and Present.” Below is an inset by Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage, featured in this issue. Cyprian’s comments are all too applicable in these days of COVID. A link to the full inset follows.


The plague of 250 roused the Christians of Carthage to action under the leadership of their bishop, Cyprian. Pagan authorities blamed the Christians for triggering the displeasure of the gods, and Emperor Decius pronounced the death penalty on those who would not bow before the imperial gods. But Cyprian implored his flock to minister to the physical needs of their oppressors, regardless of the dangers to themselves posed by both persecution and contagion.

But nevertheless it disturbs some that the power of this disease attacks our people equally with the heathen, as if the Christian[s] believed for this purpose, that [they] might have the enjoyment of the world and this life free from the contact of ills; and not as [those] who undergo all adverse things here and [are] reserved for future joy.

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