Cyprian (d. 258)

Jump to navigation Jump to search

Cyprian, the well-known Catholic Church Father and Bishop of Carthage, North Africa, died a martyr in 258. He was the originator of the idea of the one exclusive, true saving church, well expressed in his oft-quoted dicta: "Outside the church [that is the external Catholic Church represented by the bishops] there is no salvation," and "He who does not have the Church as his mother cannot have God as his Father." Proceeding from this idea he rejected the baptism of heretics and schismatics (those who separated from the Catholic Church) and demanded a repetition of baptism when such returned to the Catholic Church, who had been baptized by them. He was sharply opposed by Pope Stephen of Rome, who declared only that baptism to be invalid that was not performed in the name of the Trinity or in the name of Christ, and would have nothing to do with a repetition of baptism. The consequence of this difference was the fateful controversy over baptism by heretics, which ended in the victory of the Roman practice. The Donatists followed Cyprian's views. Menno Simons frequently referred to Cyprian in defense of the validity and necessity of rebaptism, meaning of those baptized in infancy, which is, of course, not what Cyprian meant at all.


Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 v. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. I, 384.

Vos, Karel. Menno Simons, 1496-1561, zijn leven en werken en zijne reformatorische denkbeelden. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1914.

Author(s) Christian Neff
Date Published 1953

Cite This Article

MLA style

Neff, Christian. "Cyprian (d. 258)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1953. Web. 30 May 2024.

APA style

Neff, Christian. (1953). Cyprian (d. 258). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 30 May 2024, from


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, pp. 748-749. All rights reserved.

©1996-2024 by the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. All rights reserved.