The roots of my interest in Slow Church could perhaps be traced back to my reading of two Early Christian treatises on patience
that I read as a I was writing my first book, Water, Faith and Wood: Stories of the Early Church’s Witness for Today. We are pleased to share one of these treatises, St. Cyprian’s On the Advantage of Patience, here with you today. Cyprian was bishop of Carthage and an important Early Christian writer. He was born around the beginning of the 3rd century in North Africa, where he received a classical education. After converting to Christianity, he became a bishop in 249 and eventually died a martyr at Carthage.
In his martyrdom, Cyprian embodied the sort of patience that he defends in this treatise. “Cyprian courageously prepared his people for the expected edict of persecution by his ‘De exhortatione martyrii,’ and himself set an example when he was brought before the Roman proconsul Aspasius Paternus (August 30, 257). He refused to sacrifice to the pagan deities and firmly professed Christ. The consul banished him to Curubis, modern Korba, whence he comforted to the best of his ability his flock and his banished clergy. In a vision he saw his approaching fate. When a year had passed he was recalled and kept practically a prisoner in his own villa, in expectation of severer measures after a new and more stringent imperial edict arrived, demanding the execution of all Christian clerics, according to reports of it by Christian writers. On September 13, 258, he was imprisoned at the behest of the new proconsul, Galerius Maximus. The day following he was examined for the last time and sentenced to die by the sword. His only answer was “Thanks be to God!” The execution was carried out at once in an open place near the city. A vast multitude followed Cyprian on his last journey. He removed his garments without assistance, knelt down, and prayed. After he blindfolded himself, he was beheaded by the sword. (Wikipedia)
We are pleased today to offer this treatise on patience today, on the anniversary of St. Cyprian’s martydom…
We intend to make the “Freebie of the Week” a regular column… So stay tuned in coming weeks for other free ebooks, downloads, etc.!
C. Christopher Smith is the founding editor of The Englewood Review of Books. He is also author of a number of books, including most recently How the Body of Christ Talks: Recovering the Practice of Conversation in the Church (Brazos Press, 2019). Connect with him online at: C-Christopher-Smith.com
Reading for the Common Good
From ERB Editor Christopher Smith
"This book will inspire, motivate and challenge anyone who cares a whit about the written word, the world of ideas, the shape of our communities and the life of the church."
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