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Cyprian, of Carthage. A.D. 250.

 

Cyprian, the great bishop and martyr of Carthage, the chief champion of catholic unity; against heretics and schismatics, and at the same time of episcopal independence against Rome, during the middle of the third century (died 258), first applies the term Symbolum to the baptismal creed, but gives us only scanty fragments of it, in answer to the question whether baptized heretics and schismatics (like the Novatians) should be rebaptized when applying for admission into the Catholic Church. He answers the question in the affirmative, since out of the Catholic Church there is no truth, no sacraments, no salvation ( extra Ecclesiam nulla salus ); and hence if the Novatians used the same terms in their creed as the Catholics, they had not the thing, but a mere sham or empty counterfeit. This opinion on the validity of heretical baptism Cyprian maintained in opposition to Bishop Stephen of Rome.

The first of these fragmentary creeds is contained in his Epistle to Magnus (Ep. 69, al. 76), the other in his synodical Epistle to Januarius and other Numidian bishops (Ep. 70). Both are in form interrogative, in answer to the question Credis? put to the baptismal candidate, and contain the following articles:

 

Credo in Deum Patrem,

I believe in God the Father,

in Filium Christum,

in his Son Christ,

in Spiritum Sanctum.

in the Holy Ghost.

Credo remissionem peccatorum,

I believe the forgiveness of sins,

et vitam eternam

and eternal life

per sanctam Ecclesiam.

through the holy Church.

 

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