Skip to content

34- The Valerian Persecution

In 257 A.D., the Roman Emperor Valerian launched the second empire-wide persecution of Christianity…





Medieval depiction of Valerian (Left) executing Xystus II of Rome and his deacons (Right)


Laurence of Rome


Fructuosus of Tarraco


Rock-relief at Naqsh-e Rustam Valerian and Philip the Arab before the Persian King of King Shapur I



The History of Rome 112- Captured of Alive by Mike Duncan

Valerian and Gallienus

The English translations I used for the martyrdom accounts of Fructuous, Marian and James, and Montanus and Lucius can be found in the Appendix of Keresztes Imperial Rome and the Christians Vol. 2.

For the Proconsular Acts of Cyprian see A New Eusebius ed. by Stevenson and Frend.

For Dionysius of Alexandria’s letter Against Germanus see here

On Fulvius Macrianus see Dionysius’s letter here and here

Eusebius’ account of the Valerian Persecution can be found in book 7 of the Ecclesiastical History

A very good article on the reason for Valerian’s persecution is: “Imperial Religious Policy and Valerian’s Persecution of the Church, A.D. 257-260”- Christopher J. Haas; Church History, Vol. 52, No. 2 (Jun., 1983), pp. 133-144


33- The Baptismal Controversy

Cyprian of Carthage became engulfed in a controversy with Stephen of Rome, over the validity of heretical baptism, which nearly tore the Christian Church in half…



Pope Stephen I of Rome

Notes Update – 9/14/2016

How do we know that chapter 4 of Cyprian’s On the Unity of the Catholic Church was changed by Cyprian himself from the Primacy Text (PT) to the Received Text (RT). The main reasons hinge on two factors. First, the existence and authenticity of two different versions of chapter 4, and second, the historical context in which these versions were composed. The manuscripts of On Unity, witness to both the RT and PT, and many manuscripts conflate the two. This is important because it demonstrates that the conflated texts are, well, conflated, rather than the RT with interpolations. The Primacy Text is a separate textual tradition, not a group of interpolations. Also, both the PT and RT are characteristically Cyprian in terms of their style, syntax, vocabulary, use of scripture, etc. Therefore, both versions originated from Cyprian’s own hand. So now the question is, how do we know which one came first? The main answer is the different clues and references in each respective text. Remember, Cyprian wrote On Unity in 251 as an anti-Novatian work. But the RT version seems to be from a later time, 256, when Stephen and Cyprian were at odds over heretical baptism. For instance, Cyprian quotes Ephesians 4:5 which speaks of one baptism, and goes to great lengths to emphasizes the equality of all bishops. Thus, Cyprian writing both versions, with the PT being the original, and the RT being a rewriting during the baptismal controversy, explains all the historical evidence in a coherent way without forcing it to fit. If you want more information, checkout the “Books and Articles” page on the blog site and scroll down to  secondary sources section entitled “Carthage and Africa” where I have listed the books I used for my study of Cyprian. There is also a translation of On Unity in the Ancient Christian writers series which has a good introduction and lots of notes on the text.

The Podcast is Now on Google Play Music!

Here is the link.

32- The Upshots of Exile


In this episode, we cover the events following the Decian Persecution in the eastern Churches


Outside view of the Duro-Europos Church- Heretiq, OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA


Duro-Europos: Healing the Paralytic

Saintes femmes au tombeau - fresque du baptistre de Doura Europ

Duro-Europos: Women at the Tomb of Christ


Duro-Europos: Baptistery Fresco of Jesus the Good Shepherd



Duro-Europos: The Samaritan Woman at the Well


Duro-Europos: Christ Walking on Water


Bonus Episode- History of the Papacy Podcast Crossover


An interview from Stephen Guerra’s History of the Papacy Podcast where we discuss Christian history and related topics

31- Rigorists and Laxists


In the aftermath of the Decian Persecution, two factions emerge over the issue of the lapsed. The laxists favor leniency and reconciliation, while the rigorists consider apostasy the unforgivable sin. The result of this divide are schisms which threaten the unity of Christian Church…

The History of the Papacy Podcast by Stephen Guerra


Pope Cornelius and Cyprian PD-US


Pope Cornelius of Rome, PD-US

Gallus- Antonianus

Antoninianus of Trebonianus Gallus PD-US

30- The Decian Persecution


In 250 A.D., the Roman Emperor Decius unleashed the first empire wide persecution of Christianity


Decius, PD-US


Aureus of Decius

Aureus of Decius


Libellus from Egypt


Libellus from Egypt