[St. Pachomius Library]

St. Cornelius I, Pope of Rome

III Century
Controversy over the lapsed dominated the reign of Pope/St. Cornelius (251-253). The pope favored restoring those who repented of their lapse to communion, while his adversary and anti-pope Novatian believed the lapsed should be excommunicated for ever. Cyprian of Carthage agreed with the pope, and their correspondence about the matter survives. Emperor Gallus had Cornelius arrested in 252 and imprisoned him at Cesstumcellae (Civitavecchia). Cornelius died in prison, and his relics were translated to Rome. He is the first pope to have a Latin epitaph.

Karen Rae Keck


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