The great third century bishop of Carthage was known for his writing and for his generosity toward the poor. Cyprian was a very wealthy man early in life and sold most of his possessions and gave much of his salary to help support the poor. His time was also a time of stress within the Church, as it sorted out theology and weeded out heresies; and Cyprian played a leading role in this as well. He was finally martyred for his faith in 258 under Roman authorities.
“[He invents] heresies and schisms, whereby he might subvert the faith, might corrupt the truth, might divide the unity. Those whom he cannot keep in the darkness of the old way, he circumvents and deceives by the error of a new way. He snatches men from the Church itself; and while they seem to themselves to have already approached to the light, and to have escaped the night of the world, he pours over them again, in their unconsciousness, new darkness; so that, although they do not stand firm with the Gospel of Christ, and with the observation and law of Christ, they still call themselves Christians, and, walking in darkness, they think that they have the light, while the adversary is flattering and deceiving, who, according to the apostle’s word, transforms himself into an angel of light, and equips his ministers as if they were the ministers of righteousness, who maintain night instead of day, death for salvation, despair under the offer of hope, perfidy under the pretext of faith, antichrist under the name of Christ; so that, while they feign things like the truth, they make void the truth by their subtlety.”