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Saint Cyprian

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Saint Cyprian, holding a book, which in the folk tradition is thought to be his occult grimoire
Saint Cyprian, holding a book, which in the folk tradition is thought to be his occult grimoire

Saint Cyprian, also known as San Cipriano or Saint Cyprian of Antioch, is according to conventional Roman catholic sources, the patron saint of the city of Antioch on Turkish and Syrian border, now called Antakya. In folk tradition, he is the patron of magicians, sorcerers, occultists, witches, conjurers, root doctors, demonologers, necromancers, spiritualists, and those who cast magic spells for clients. In recent times, he has sometimes been called upon for protection by those working with the folk saint Santisima Muerte, on the theory that anyone who invokes the aid of such a wild and unpredictable spirit may need extra help. As he was historically a magician with mastery over demons, as a saint he is the one to call when dealing with spirits. Hoodoo psychic readers, spirit workers and root doctors who petition the folk saints call upon Saint Cyprian to help in uncrossing, removal of curses, and reversal of spiritual attacks, protection from both mundane accidents and magical assaults, and all matters involving the occult and spiritual practice. He is honored on his feast day on September 16th.

As the story of his life is told, Saint Cyprian was a pagan sorcerer who lived in Antioch in the 4th century. He had the power to command demons, and attempted to use this power to obtain a sexual relationship with Saint Justina, who foiled his plans by making the sign of the cross. After this defeat, he converted to Christianity and was eventually martyred. A grimoire called "The Book of Saint Cyprian" is attributed to him, although some claim that it only dates from the 19th century. It is available in Spanish, Portuguese, and English versions. Saint Cyprian of Antioch is often confused with Saint Cyprian of Carthage, a city in North Africa, who was also a bishop, and this confusion is not new; there are signs that their lives and legends were conflated as early as the 5th century.

Saint Cyprian's iconography generally portrays him as a middle-aged bearded man in the garb of a bishop. He is often seen holding a crozier (a curved bishop's staff), wearing a purple cloak, and carrying a book.

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