CYPRIAN was an African born of nobility but to a pagan lifestyle. He converted to Christianity in the middle of his life and was eventually ordained Bishop of Carthage. When the persecution under Decius broke out, he fled from his bishopric and was eventually exiled. Being recalled from exile, a sentence of death was pronounced against him, which he received with the words “Thanks be to God.” His great desire was to die while preaching. He had the consolation of being surrounded at his martyrdom by crowds of his faithful flock. He was beheaded on the 14th September, A.D, 258, and was buried with great solemnity. Even the pagans respected his memory.
Be constant in prayer as well as in reading, Speak with God, and let God speak with you. Let Him instruct you in His commands; let Him direct you. No one can make poor those He makes rich, for those who have been supplied with heavenly food can’t be poor. When you know that it is you who will be perfected, golden ceilings and houses with costly marble mosaics will seem dull in comparison to the dwelling in which God has lived and in which the Holy Spirit has begun to make His home. Let us then decorate this house with colors of innocence. Let us illuminate it with the light of justice. Then it will never decay with the wear of age, nor will its wall colors or its gold become tarnished. Those things made artificially beautiful are perishing. Things that can’t really be owned can’t provide abiding assurance for their possessors. You, however, remain in a beauty that is continually vivid, in perfect honor, in permanent splendor. This can neither decay nor be destroyed; it can only be fashioned into greater perfection.
(Cyprian, Epistle 1)