One of the most extensive resources on the internet for the study of early Christianity

“Cyprian Letter to Quintus about the baptism of heretics - Latin Text with English translation”

The question of whether those baptised by "heretical" priests should be rebaptised was a controversial one. Cyprian's firm view was that rebaptism was necessary (though it was not strictly a second baptism as the first was not truly baptism). Pope Stephen affirmed the validity of baptism in water in the name of the Trinity, even if carried out by a heretical priest.  Letter 70 or 71, LXX or LXXI.

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Find out more about our use of cookies here.

Click here to read at earlychurchtexts.com in the original Latin (with dictionary lookup links). The English translation below is from the ANF series.

earlychurchtexts.com

  • Is like an electronic encyclopedia of the first five centuries of Church History, with extensive links (subscription version only) to information on around 800 people and themes, and around 230 Church Councils;

  • Is a Reader in Early Christian History and Theology with 225+ carefully prepared on-site texts (Greek and/or Latin with English translation alongside) from the first five centuries of the life of the Church. These cover a range of significant themes and represent several authors (a sample text is here and a complete list of on-site texts here). All have dictionary lookup links. There is also an introduction to each text (to help in understanding its context and significance) together with background notes linked with the text, carefully prepared printable versions, a site search engine and many other helpful features;

  • Gives easy access to complete Greek and Latin texts which are in the public domain and translations (where found available) from the first five centuries. There are carefully indexed links to authors and their works, including an index of commentaries, homilies etc. by biblical book. Nearly all of the Greek and Latin texts from this period contained in the Migne Patrologia series are covered. Some other sources are also used. The texts used are the scanned versions available at Google Books and elsewhere. A distinctive feature of the Early Church Texts website is that where English translations have been found available online they can easily be read immediately alongside the original Greek and Latin. (A complete list of authors represented is here. A sample text is here.)

Try out the feature rich subscription version of the Early Church Texts website for just $5 for a trial period or $30 for a year ($15 student rate). Click here for more information. Check out the video demo of the site. Click here to go to the Early Church Texts Home Page for the publicly available version of the site which has just the original Greek and Latin texts with dictionary lookup links.

 

iPad at Amazon

Click on picture for more details.

 For UK click here.

--------------

 Relevant books
 available at Amazon

Many Cyprian translations
and studies with links to Amazon

A selection below

 

J. Patout Burns
Cyprian the Bishop

-----

Allen Brent
Cyprian and Roman Carthage

-----

 

Everett Ferguson
Baptism in the Early Church

 

Epistle LXX.
To Quintus, Concerning the Baptism of Heretics.
Argument.—An Answer is Given to Quintus a Bishop in Mauritania, Who Has Asked Advice Concerning the Baptism of Heretics.
1. Cyprian to Quintus his brother, greeting. Lucian, our co-presbyter, has reported to me, dearest brother, that you have wished me to declare to you what I think concerning those who seem to have been baptized by heretics and schismatics; of which matter, that you may know what several of us fellow-bishops, with the brother presbyters who were present, lately determined in council, I have sent you a copy of the same epistle. For I know not by what presumption some of our colleagues are led to think that they who have been dipped by heretics ought not to be baptized when they come to us, for the reason that they say that there is one baptism which indeed is therefore one, because the Church is one, and there cannot be any baptism out of the Church. For since there cannot be two baptisms, if heretics truly baptize, they themselves have this baptism. And he who of his own authority grants this advantage to them yields and consents to them, that the enemy and adversary of Christ should seem to have the power of washing, and purifying, and sanctifying a man. But we say that those who come thence are not re-baptized among us, but are baptized. For indeed they do not receive anything there, where there is nothing; but they come to us, that here they may receive where there is both grace and all truth, because both grace and truth are one. But again some of our colleagues would rather give honour to heretics than agree with us; and while by the assertion of one baptism they are unwilling to baptize those that come, they thus either themselves make two baptisms in saying that there is a baptism among heretics; or certainly, which is a matter of more importance, they strive to set before and prefer the sordid and profane washing of heretics to the true and only and legitimate baptism of the Catholic Church, not considering that it is written, “He who is baptized by one dead, what availeth his washing?” Now it is manifest that they who are not in the Church of Christ are reckoned among the dead; and another cannot be made alive by him who himself is not alive, since there is one Church which, having attained the grace of eternal life, both lives for ever and quickens the people of God.
2. And they say that in this matter they follow ancient custom; although among the ancients these were as yet the first beginnings of heresy and schisms, so that those were involved in them who departed from the Church, having first been baptized therein; and these, therefore, when they returned to the Church and repented, it was not necessary to baptize. Which also we observe in the present day, that it is sufficient to lay hands for repentance upon those who are known to have been baptized in the Church, and have gone over from us to the heretics, if, subsequently acknowledging their sin and putting away their error, they return to the truth and to their parent; so that, because it had been a sheep, the Shepherd may receive into His fold the estranged and vagrant sheep. But if he who comes from the heretics has not previously been baptized in the Church, but comes as a stranger and entirely profane, he must be baptized, that he may become a sheep, because in the holy Church is the one water which makes sheep. And therefore, because there can be nothing common to falsehood and truth, to darkness and light, to death and immortality, to Antichrist and Christ, we ought by all means to maintain the unity of the Catholic Church, and not to give way to the enemies of faith and truth in any respect. 3. Neither must we prescribe this from custom, but overcome opposite custom by reason. For neither did Peter, whom first the Lord chose, and upon whom He built His Church, when Paul disputed with him afterwards about circumcision, claim anything to himself insolently, nor arrogantly assume anything; so as to say that he held the primacy, and that he ought rather to be obeyed by novices and those lately come. Nor did he despise Paul because he had previously been a persecutor of the Church, but admitted the counsel of truth, and easily yielded to the lawful reason which Paul asserted, furnishing thus an illustration to us both of concord and of patience, that we should not obstinately love our own opinions, but should rather adopt as our own those which at any time are usefully and wholesomely suggested by our brethren and colleagues, if they be true and lawful. Paul, moreover, looking forward to this, and consulting faithfully for concord and peace, has laid down in his epistle this rule: “Moreover, let the prophets speak two or three, and let the rest judge. But if anything be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace.” In which place he has taught and shown that many things are revealed to individuals for the better, and that each one ought not obstinately to contend for that which he had once imbibed and held; but if anything has appeared better and more useful, he should gladly embrace it. For we are not overcome when better things are presented to us, but we are instructed, especially in those matters which pertain to the unity of the Church and the truth of our hope and faith; so that we, priests of God and prelates of His Church, by His condescension, should know that remission of sins cannot be given save in the Church, nor can the adversaries of Christ claim to themselves anything belonging to His grace. 4. Which thing, indeed, Agrippinus also, a man of worthy memory, with his other fellow-bishops, who at that time governed the Lord’s Church in the province of Africa and Numidia, decreed, and by the well-weighed examination of the common council established: whose opinion, as being both religious and lawful and salutary, and in harmony with the Catholic faith and Church, we also have followed. And that you may know what kind of letters we have written on this subject, I have transmitted for our mutual love a copy of them, as well for your own information as for that of our fellow-bishops who are in those parts. I bid you, dearest brother, ever heartily farewell.
 



Mac Users please note that the site may not work with Safari versions lower than version 4. (It has been tested with version 4.0.3.) It will work with Firefox, which can be downloaded from here.

Please note that for all features of the site to work correctly javascript must be enabled and the operation of "pop-up" windows must not be blocked. Click here for more information.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cyprian Epistolae
Cyprian Letters
Migne Latin
Patrologiae Latinae Cursus Completus
Patrologia Latina
 

 

Back to Entry Page