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St Cyprian of Carthage


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#1 Michael Astley

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Posted 09 October 2008 - 08:17 PM

A quick question:

Does anybody know why St Cyprian is commemorated on the 31st of August?

He was martyred on the 14th of September, which I know if the Exaltation of the Cross. However, I would have thought that his feast would have been celebrated either on this date or a date close to it. What is the significance of the 31st of August?

Thank you.

Pax,
Michael

#2 Michael Stickles

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Posted 10 October 2008 - 02:45 AM

Good question. The closest event to this date I could find was his appearance before the Proconsul Paternus (during the persecution under Valerius), who exiled him to Curubis. This was on August 30.

Maybe there's more information in a printed life of St. Cyprian; the online sources I found didn't have much.

Some of the Western churches do commemorate him within a day or two of September 14; I've seen conflicting accounts of who uses which date, though.

In Christ,
Michael

#3 Michael Astley

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Posted 10 October 2008 - 06:31 AM

Good question. The closest event to this date I could find was his appearance before the Proconsul Paternus (during the persecution under Valerius), who exiled him to Curubis. This was on August 30.

Maybe there's more information in a printed life of St. Cyprian; the online sources I found didn't have much.

Some of the Western churches do commemorate him within a day or two of September 14; I've seen conflicting accounts of who uses which date, though.

In Christ,
Michael


Thank you for this, Michael.

The first milennium Orthodox kalendars of the West (at least those that did contain his feast) did commemorate him in September so it seems that modern western churches have simply inherited that from Orthodox times. For instance, the first-millennium Sacramentary of Ratoldus lists him on the 14th of September.

In the Western tradition, one of three things happens when a Saint falls on a significant feast such as the Exaltation of the Cross:
  • The Saint is commemorated on the actual day but the rank of the Saint's feast is downgraded so that the principal feast takes precedence in the liturgical observance.
  • If the observance of the Saint is of particular significance to make it too important to be so downgraded, (if the Saint is an Apostle or Evangelist or notable Martyr, or is of particular local significance, or is the patron of the church), it is transferred to the next available day and is celebrated with due honour. (Some kalendars celebrate St Cyprian on the 15th of September for this reason).
  • If the Saint is little known, and his or her feast collides with a major moveable feast, the Saint's celebration is quietly laid aside for that year.

This is what I grew up with so when I came to the Byzantine Rite within the Orthodox Church it took a while to adjust to the different rules on this matter, where feasts are generally not transferred at all. I rather like it in many ways. However, I had just assumed, therefore, that St Cyprian would be celebrated on the 14th of September in addition to the Cross. The 31st of August date has had me stumped for a while and I have had similar problems as you finding anything on the internet about this. Your suggestion of his appearance before the procunsul seems the most plausible of anything that I have come across. So thank you for this.

I shall see if I can find out more.

Pax,
Michael

#4 Ken McRae

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Posted 10 October 2008 - 08:02 PM

Could it possibly have anything to do with the date his relics were transferred to their current resting place?

#5 Olga

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Posted 10 October 2008 - 09:04 PM

Possible, but unlikely, as church calendars mention if the date refers to commemorating the translation of relics. The entry for St Cyprian in the calendars I have at hand have a plain listing, with no mention of relics.

#6 M.C. Steenberg

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Posted 10 October 2008 - 09:35 PM

Do see: here.

#7 Michael Astley

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Posted 12 October 2008 - 08:33 PM

Thank you, Father.

My lovely icon of St Cyprian from the travelling nuns from Minsk was blessed today. I am currently looking for some liturgical texts for my own devotions so that thread about the confusion between the Saints Cyprian is helpful.

Pax,
Michael




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