One of the first great theologians in the church, this Latin father is remembered today for his writings, which are quoted in the documents of the Second Vatican Council. A late convert, Thascius Cecilianus Cyprianus was a lawyer, rhetorician and teacher before being chosen by the people and clergy of Carthage, in North Africa, as their bishop. He was drawn into papal controversies and schisms, but he also was known for pastoral zeal and aiding plague victims. Having survived one Roman persecution, he later was beheaded for refusing to participate in state religious ceremonies. He wrote biblical commentary and treatises on church unity and the sacraments. Cyprian is the patron saint of North Africa and Algeria.