At first in Sicily and afterwards throughout Italy the Ghibellines gave them a warm welcome; the rigorists and the malcontents who had either left the church or were on the point of leaving it, were attracted by these communities of needy rebels; and the tribune Rienzi was at one time disposed to join them.
In May 251 a synod, assembled under the presidency of Cyprian to consider the treatment of the lapsi (those who had fallen away from the faith during persecution), excommunicated Felicissimus and five other Novatian bishops (Rigorists), and declared that the lapsi should be dealt with, not with indiscriminate severity, but according to the degree of individual guilt.
They are there regarded as being " simply the rigorists among the Pharisees."
Strict moralists - called rigorists, or "tutiorists" - maintained that the austerer opinion ought always to be followed; dancing on Sundays was certainly wrong, if any good authorities had declared it to be so.
He submitted to the influence of the rigorists, and carried forward the war upon heresy, though not with the savage vehemence of his predecessor.