China’s Coronavirus Reminiscent of Third Century Plague that Ravaged the Roman Empire

As the coronavirus  spreads, Christians remember a plague that ravaged the Roman Empire in the third century.

The coronavirus continues to spread in China and other Asian countries – there are over 20,000 cases worldwide. It is a time of fear for many people, but Denise Godwin of International Media Ministries (IMM) finds a parallel between the coronavirus and a plague that ravished Rome and the surrounding lands roughly AD 250-270.

She says IMM was shooting the story of Cyrprian, a bishop of Carthage. The plague was actually named after him because he rallied the Christians to care for the sick and even attend to burial for the dead. “But the thing that struck me the most [is] now as we see this modern day plague creeping into our newsfeed . . these Christians in the third and the fourth century, went and helped people who [were] being shut out in the streets by family members who were panicked because of the illness that they were seeing.”

Cyprian himself remarked the plague was so severe it seemed like the world was ending. The plague, combined with near-constant wars, left the Roman Empire depleted, and famines followed. While the exact nature of the disease is unknown, some experts point out similarities to Ebola.

Godwin says, “I’m inspired by the believers in the third and fourth centuries who made a mark on their community by serving people who were harmed by the plague of their times.”

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SOURCE: Mission Network News, Kevin Zeller


  • Live your whole life through any circumstance in light of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
  • Pray for the Christians in Asia, that they would be protected from the coronavirus.
  • Ask God to empower his people that they would minister without fear to those with coronavirus.