On the Church: Select Treatises
by St. Cyprian of Carthage
St. Cyprian, 3rd century Bishop of Carthage, is perhaps the most significant witness to the patristic teaching on the nature and unity of the Church. How is the Church defined? How does one discern who is and is not a legitimate bishop? Do the sufferings of martyrs and confessors sometimes supersede the normal order? These questions are explored in the face of two major challenges: the question of readmission of those who went into apostasy during the Decian persecutions; and the question of the validity of baptism administered in heretical and schismatic communities.