What weak mindedness is this not to stand in awe of the true God, or better, what blind and stupid insanity of those who have lost their reason! Not to come from darkness into light? For those caught in the snares of eternal death, to be unwilling to accept the hope of immortality! God’s warning words are: “He who sacrifices to the gods will be rooted up, unless to God alone” (Ex 22.20) and again, “They shall adore those whom their fingers have made, and a human being bows down and a man has abased himself, and I will not lift them up” (Is 2.8-9). Why do you bow and bend yourself to false gods, why do you make your enslaved body bend down before stupid statues and images of earth?

God made you to stand upright. All other living things are abased, the structure of their bodies turned downward towards the earth. But you stand drawn to your full height, and your countenance is raised towards the sky and its Master. Gaze thither, lift up your eyes thither, and seek for God in the heights. As you are able to be free from the lower regions, lift up your anxious heart to high and heavenly things. Why do you collapse on the ground in the Fall that brings death with the serpent whom you worship? Why do you slide into the ruin of the Devil at his instigation and in his company? Preserve the high position in which you were born!

Persevere as the kind of person that you have been made by God. Stand your spirit upright in consistency with the position of your lips and body. Since you are able to come to know God, come to know yourself beforehand! God, if you plead with Him, comes to your aid. Believe in Christ, whom the Father sent to make us alive and to restore us! Cease from injuring the servants of God and of Christ by your persecutions, whom the vengeance of God will defend when they are injured!

Source: On the Church, St. Cyprian of Carthage; St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press: New York, 2006.