St. Cornelius the bishop of Rome, from March 251 until his martyrdom in June 253 AD. He served as pope during and following a painful period of persecution against the church. The church was also facing a division over how repentant church members, who had practiced pagan sacrifices to protect themselves, of the time had become readmitted back into the Church. This created a division among the church: some argued that they should not be admitted back into the church because they failed to maintain their confession of faith under the persecution. These people were known as the Novationists. However, Cyprian of Carthage, supported by Cornelius argued that these repentants could be admitted back into the church under the condition that they perform varyings acts of penance. However, despite the division, Cornelius was able to call a synod that confirmed his election as the Pope and excommunicated Novatian. Finally, in 251 under Roman emperor Trebonianus Gallus, the persecutions against Christians started back, resulting in Cornelius being sent into exile. Historians believe he may have died in exile from the rigors of banishments, while some accounts say he was beheaded. St. Cornelius is the patron of epilepsy, fever, twitching, earache sufferers and also the German town of Kornelimünster, where his head is enshrined.
God our Father, in Saints Cornelius and Cyprian you have given your people an inspiring example of dedication to the pastoral ministry and constant witness to Christ in their suffering. May their prayers and faith give us courage to work for the unity of your Church, amen.