St. Felix and St. Cyprian
Felix and Cyprian were African bishops who lived in the fifth century. They suffered with over 4,900 martyrs in the terrible persecution by the Vandals. Huneric, the Vandal king, drove these Christians into exile in the Libyan desert. They were treated with great cruelty by the Moors.
A holy bishop named Victor used to try to help the poor Christians who had been shut up in a horrible prison. They were packed in without sufficient air or light. He wrote the story of their courage and their sufferings. Bishop Victor says that when they were ordered into exile in the terrible desert, they came out of that prison singing hymns. Other Christians burst into tears at the sight of their great courage. Even women and children went with them to exile and death. The story is told of Bishop St. Felix. He was so old and so crippled that someone said to the Vandal king: "You might just as well leave him here to die." But King Huneric cruelly answered, "If he cannot ride a horse, he can be dragged by oxen." In the end, they decided to tie the brave old bishop to a donkey and he was carried off to die in the desert.
We also celebrate St. Cyprian. This bishop lived two centuries after St. Cyprian of Carthage who is honored on September 16. Today's Cyprian risked his own life to take care of as many prisoners as he could. He spent all his time and strength, plus everything he owned, to assist them. At last, he, too, was arrested and sent into exile. There he also died a martyr from the cruel treatment reserved for Christians.
These two men followed the example of Jesus as leaders in the Church. They sought to serve those whom they guided with great generosity.