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E07905: Jerome, in his On illustrious men, states that *Cornelius (bishop and martyr of Rome, S00172) and *Cyprian (bishop and martyr of Carthage, S00411) died on the same day, although not the same year. Written in Latin in Bethlehem (Palestine), 392/393.

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posted on 2020-05-27, 00:00 authored by robert
Jerome, On Illustrious Men (De viris inlustribus) 66 (Cornelius) and 67 (Cyprian)

66. Cornelius... cui ob Christi martyrium coronato successit Lucius.

'Cornelius... He received the crown of martyrdom for Christ, and was succeeded by Lucius.'

67. Cyprianus... passus est sub Valeriano et Gallieno principibus persecutione octaua, eo die quo Romae Cornelius, sed non eodem anno.

'Cyprian... He was put to death under the Emperors Valerian and Gallienus, in the eighth persecution, on the same day that Cornelius was put to death at Rome, but not in the same year.'

Text: Richardson, 1896. Translation: Richardson, 1892.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Cyprian, bishop and martyr of Carthage : S00411 Cornelius, bishop and martyr of Rome, and companion martyrs : S00172

Saint Name in Source

Cyprianus Cornelius

Type of Evidence

Literary - Other


  • Latin

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Palestine with Sinai

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc


Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Bethlehem Caesarea Maritima Καισάρεια Kaisareia Caesarea Kayseri Turris Stratonis

Major author/Major anonymous work

Jerome of Stridon

Cult activities - Festivals

  • Saint’s feast


Jerome wrote this collection of very short biographies of 135 Christian authors at the beginning of his stay in Bethlehem in 392/393. Amongst the authors commemorated were several who suffered martyrdom (which Jerome records at the end of their biographies) and others (such as Eusebius of Vercelli and Hilary of Poitiers) who would later attract cult, but Jerome's purpose in writing De viris inlustribus was to show how many learned men there had been, and still were within the Christian church (he closes with a rather longer biography of himself!), rather than to encourage saintly cult. We have therefore only created database entries from the De viris inlustribus in the very few cases (such as this one) where Jerome happens to provide information that sheds significant light on the cult of a saint.


Cornelius and Cyprian exchanged several letters and Jerome also associates them in his other writings: in the Life of Paul of Thebes he dates the beginning of the story of his hero to the times when Cornelius shed his blood at Rome and Cyprian his at Carthage (Life of Paul 2), although in reality they died five years apart, Cornelius in 253 and Cyprian in 258. Jerome is the first to say that their feasts occurred on the same day of the year. Although Cornelius is missing from the Depositio martirum, the earliest surviving list of the feasts of martyrs (in the Chronography of 354), interestingly Cyprian is included: he was commemorated in Rome at the cemetery of Callixtus on 14 September (E01052). In the 6th century the feast of Cornelius is attested on the same day - see the Liber Pontificalis (E00344).


Text: Richardson, E.C., De viris inlustribus (Texte und Untersuchungen zur Geschichte der Altchristlichen Literatur, vol. 14/1a, Leipzig: J.C. Hinrichs'sche Buchhandlung, 1896), 1-56. Translation: Richardson, E.C., On Illustrious Men (Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, vol. 3, Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1892). Revised and edited by K. Knight. .

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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