Today we honor St. Cyprian, bishop of Carthage, who, in the persecution of Decius, was beheaded in 255 A,D..
Cyprian was a noted scholar and land owner before his conversion to Christianity. Cyprian wrote volumes on many subjects, but he seemed to have contrary views in regard to the relationship of local bishops to the successors of Peter in Rome.
On one side of the issue, he felt that Jesus had given to all the Apostles and their successors the same powers he gave to Peter.
With that in mind, he objected to the pope reserving to himself the right to name local bishops. But in deference to Rome, he taught that individual bishops and their dioceses could only remain Christian if they stayed in union with God.
On his refusing to offer sacrifices to the Roman gods, Cyprian was ordered to be beheaded. Out of love for Cyprian, the people of Carthage wanted to be beheaded with him. Cyprian, after quieting then, offered a handful of gold coins to his executioner.