The Plague of Cyprian


The Plague of Cyprian is the name given to a pandemic, probably of smallpox, that afflicted the Roman Empire from AD 250 onwards during one of the largest disasters in the ancient world between AD 250-270. It even claimed the life of emperor Claudius II Gothicus. The plague is thought to have caused widespread manpower shortages in agriculture and the Roman army. The plague was so severe that it wiped out whole cities.

During this plague Christians ministered sacrificially. In the 3rd century Christians ran towards the plague. The result was a witness to the pagan world that contributed to the spectacular growth of the church in the century that followed. Even non-Christian historians say that it was the way in which the church cared for it’s sick and the sick of the heathen, that caused the remarkable growth of the church.

It was the character and compassion of the early Christians that changed the Roman empire. It was the way that they were thinking about life, about the poor, the sick and the rejected, that caught the attention of people. Their work ethic changed their surroundings.

No wonder that historians estimate that by 300 AD about 60% of Europe confessed to be Christians.

About the author

Bennie Mostert
By Bennie Mostert