Fr Paul reads from the Gospel of Luke (6: 43-49) in which Jesus says ‘There is no sound tree that produces rotten fruit, nor a rotten tree that produces sound fruit. For every tree can be told by its own fruit. Afterwards, Fr Paul shares a little about the lives of St Cornelius and St Cyprian whose memorial we celebrate today. Fr Paul says Cornelius was made bishop of the church in Rome in the year 251. He fought against the Novatian schismatics and established his authority with the aid of Cyprian. The emperor Gallus sent him into exile, and he died in June 253. He is buried in Rome. St Cyprian was born in Carthage in 210 and spent most of his life in the practice of the law. He was converted to Christianity and was made bishop of Carthage in 249. He steered the church through troubled times, including the persecution of the emperor Decius. He went into hiding so that he could continue to look after the church. In 258 the persecution of the emperor Valerian began. Cyprian was first exiled and then, on the 14th of September, executed, after a trial notable for the calm and courtesy shown by both sides. Cyprian’s many letters and treatises shed much light on a formative period in the Church’s history and are valuable both for their doctrine and for the picture they paint of a group of people in constant peril of their lives but still determined to keep the faith. Today, Fr Paul invites us to ask ‘Sts Cornelius and Cyprian…pray for us!’