Maria Lectrix has now podcasted, in its entirety, St. Cyprian’s third-century treatise “On the Lapsed.” She’s also posted some good background information on the unusual terms used by North Africa’s great martyr-bishop. Cyprian wrote during a time of intense persecution, when men and women could save their lives by renouncing their faith. All it took was a little, itty-bitty sacrifice to the emperor’s genius, and then you walked away with a libellus — a paper, a ticket — that gave you a free pass for the rest of your life. Says Maria Lectrix: “The certificates Cyprian refer to were some kind of signed affidavit that the bearer had made a sacrifice to the Emperor and wasn’t a Christian. Apparently, Cyprian wasn’t enamored of the fake ID method of avoiding persecution.”
Do listen to the audio, and pray courage for yourself and for me. We know neither the day nor the hour when we might be called upon to stand for the faith — or go into free fall. As in the days of the Roman Empire, so now we share our world with people who would force us, under threat of torture and death, to commit apostasy.
You can see one of those ancient certificates for yourself by clicking here. This one added some limited number of days to the lives of a woman and her daughter from the village of Theadelphia in Egypt. (Click on the image to view it in a larger format.)