Pope Marcellus I

Pope Marcellus I (6 January 255–16 January 309) was the Bishop of Rome or Pope from May or June 308 to his death in 309. He succeeded Pope Marcellinus after a considerable interval. Under Maxentius, he was banished from Rome in 309, on account of the tumult caused by the severity of the penances he had imposed on Christians who had lapsed under the recent persecution. He died the same year, being succeeded by Pope Eusebius.[1] His relics are under the altar of San Marcello al Corso in Rome. His third-class feast day is kept on January 16.

Pope Saint

Marcellus I
Pope Marcellus I
Papacy began27 May 308
Papacy ended16 January 309
Personal details
Birth nameMarcellus
Born6 January 255
Rome, Roman Empire
Died16 January 309 (aged 54)
Rome, Western Roman Empire
Feast day16 January
Other popes named Marcellus

Reign as Pope

For some time after the death of Marcellinus in 304, the Diocletian persecution continued with unabated severity. After the abdication of Diocletian in 305, and the accession in Rome of Maxentius to the throne of the Caesars in October of the following year, the Christians of the capital again enjoyed comparative peace. Nevertheless, nearly two years passed before a new Bishop of Rome was elected. Then in 308, according to the Catalogus Liberianus, Pope Marcellus first entered on his office:[2] "He was bishop in the time of Maxentius, from the 4th consulship of Maxentius when Maximus was his colleague, until after the consulship."[3] At Rome, Marcellus found the Church in the greatest confusion. The meeting-places and some of the burial-places of the faithful had been confiscated, and the ordinary life and activity of the Church was interrupted. Added to this were the dissensions within the Church itself, caused by the large number of weaker members who had fallen away during the long period of active persecution and later, under the leadership of an apostate, violently demanded that they should be readmitted to communion without doing penance.[2]

According to the Liber Pontificalis, Marcellus divided the territorial administration of the Church into twenty-five districts (tituli), appointing over each a presbyter, who saw to the preparation of the catechumens for baptism and directed the performance of public penances. The presbyter was also made responsible for the burial of the dead and for the celebrations commemorating the deaths of the martyrs. The pope also had a new burial-place, the Cœmeterium Novellœ on the Via Salaria (opposite the Catacomb of St. Priscilla), laid out.[2] The Liber Pontificalis says: "He established a cemetery on the Via Salaria, and he appointed 25 parish churches as dioceses in the city of Rome to provide baptism and penance for the many who were converted among the pagans and burial for the martyrs."[4] At the beginning of the 7th century, there were probably twenty-five titular churches in Rome; even granting that, perhaps, the compiler of the Liber Pontificalis referred this number to the time of Marcellus, there is still a clear historical tradition in support of his declaration that the ecclesiastical administration in Rome was reorganized by this pope after the great persecution.[2]

The work of the pope was, however, quickly interrupted by the controversies to which the question of the readmittance of the lapsi into the Church gave rise. As to this, we gather some light from the poetic tribute composed by Pope Damasus I in memory of his predecessor and placed over his grave (De Rossi, "Inscr. christ. urbis Romæ", II, 62, 103, 138; cf. Idem, "Roma sotterranea", II, 204–5). Damasus relates that Marcellus was looked upon as a wicked enemy by all the lapsed, because he insisted that they should perform the prescribed penance for their guilt. As a result, serious conflicts arose, some of which ended in bloodshed, and every bond of peace was broken. At the head of this band of dissenters was an apostate who had denied the Faith even before the outbreak of persecution. The tyrannical Maxentius had the pope seized and sent into exile. This took place at the end of 308 or the beginning of 309 according to the passages cited above from the Catalogus Liberianus, which gives the length of the pontificate as no more than one year, six (or seven) months, and twenty days. Marcellus died shortly after leaving Rome, and was venerated as a saint.[2]


His feast day was 16 January,[1] according to the Depositio episcoporum of the Chronography of 354 and every other Roman authority. Nevertheless, it is not known whether this is the date of his death or that of the burial of his remains, after these had been brought back from the unknown quarter to which he had been exiled. He was buried in the catacomb of St. Priscilla where his grave is mentioned by the itineraries to the graves of the Roman martyrs as existing in the basilica of St. Silvester (De Rossi, Roma sotterranea, I, 176).[2]

A 5th-century "Passio Marcelli", which is included in the legendary account of the martyrdom of St. Cyriacus (cf. Acta Sanct., Jan., II, 10-14) and is followed by the Liber Pontificalis, gives a different account of the end of Marcellus. According to this version, the pope was required by Maxentius, who was enraged at his reorganization of the Church, to lay aside his episcopal dignity and make an offering to the gods. On his refusal, he was condemned to work as a slave at a station on the public highway (catabulum). At the end of nine months he was set free by the clergy; but a matron named Lucina having had her house on the Via Lata consecrated by him as "titulus Marcelli" he was again condemned to the work of attending to the horses brought into the station, in which menial occupation he died.[2]

All this is probably legendary, the reference to the restoration of ecclesiastical activity by Marcellus alone having an historical basis. The tradition related in the verses of Damasus seems much more worthy of belief. The feast of St. Marcellus, whose name is to this day borne by the church at Rome mentioned in the above legend, is still celebrated on January 16. There still remains to be mentioned Mommsen's peculiar view that Marcellus was not really a bishop, but a simple Roman presbyter to whom was committed the ecclesiastical administration during the latter part of the period of vacancy of the papal chair. According to this view, 16 January was really the date of Marcellus' death, the next occupant of the chair being Eusebius (Neues Archiv, 1896, XXI, 350–3). This hypothesis has, however, found no support.[2]

See also


  1. ^ a b  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Marcellus (popes)" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 17 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 685.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainHerbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Pope St. Marcellus I" . Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton.
  3. ^ Loomis, Louise Ropes, ed. (2006). The Book of the Popes (Liber Pontificalis). Merchantville, New Jersey, USA: Arx Publishing, LLC. p. 37. ISBN 9781889758862. Retrieved 10 March 2015. He was bishop in the time of Maxentius, from the 4th consulship of Maxentius when Maximus was his colleague, until after the consulship.
  4. ^ Loomis, Louise Ropes, ed. (2006). The Book of the Popes (Liber Pontificalis). Merchantville, New Jersey, USA: Arx Publishing, LLC. p. 37. ISBN 9781889758862. Retrieved 10 March 2015. He established a cemetery on the Via Salaria, and he appointed 25 parish churches as dioceses in the city of Rome to provide baptism and penance for the many who were converted among the pagans and burial for the martyrs.


External links

Titles of the Great Christian Church
Preceded by
Bishop of Rome

Succeeded by
300s (decade)

The 300s decade ran from January 1, 300, to December 31, 309.

== Events ==

=== 300 ===

==== By place ====

====== Roman Empire ======

The Franks penetrate into what is now northern Belgium (approximate date).

The city of Split is built.

The Camp of Diocletian is built in Palmyra.

A Romano-Celtic temple-mausoleum complex is constructed in what is now Lullingstone, and also in Anderitum (approximate date).

====== Asia ======

The lion becomes extinct from Armenia (approximate date).

The Yayoi period ends in Ancient Japan (approximate date).

Wootz steel is developed in India (approximate date).

The Kama Sutra, an Indian handbook on the art of sexual love, is probably produced around this time by the sage Vatsyayana.

Micheon becomes ruler of the Korean kingdom of Goguryeo.

====== Africa ======

The elephant becomes extinct in North Africa (approximate date).

The Atlas wild ass becomes extinct (approximate date).

====== America ======

The Formative/Preclassic period in Mesoamerica comes to an end (around this year).

The Mayan civilization reaches its most prolific period, the classic period, in what is now Guatemala, Belize and parts of southern Mexico adjacent to the former two. During most of this period, Tikal dominates the Mayan world.

==== By topic ====

====== Arts and sciences ======

The magnetic compass for navigation is invented in China (approximate date).

The Panchatantra, a Sanskrit collection of fables and fairy tales, is written in India.

The Tetrarchs are probably made in Egypt. After 330 they are moved to Constantinople and in 1204 they are installed at the corner of the facade of the St Mark's Basilica, Venice (approximate date).

Diocletian's Palace, Split, Croatia, is built. Its model is nowadays kept at the Museo della Civilta Romana, Rome.

====== Religion ======

Peter of Alexandria becomes Patriarch of Alexandria.

Possible date of the Codex Vaticanus Graecus 1209 and Codex Sinaiticus, manuscripts of the Bible written in Greek.

Tiridates III makes his kingdom of Armenia the first state to adopt Christianity as its official religion.

Approximate date of the Synod of Elvira in Elvira, Spain, which prohibits interaction with Jews, pagans, and heretics.

=== 301 ===

==== By place ====

====== Roman Empire ======

Emperor Diocletian issues his Edict on Maximum Prices, which, rather than halting rampant inflation and stabilizing the economy, over time adds to inflationary pressures by flooding the economy with new coinage and by setting price limits too low.

Diocletian begins the construction of new roads in the Roman Empire. The Strata Diocletiana is built and lined with a series of forts (quadriburgia); it runs from the Gulf of Aqaba (Arabia) to the Euphrates.

====== Armenia ======

King Tiridates III of Armenia proclaims Christianity as the official state religion, making Armenia the first nation to adopt Christianity as its official religion. Construction of the original Etchmiadzin Cathedral by Gregory the Illuminator begins.

====== Europe ======

September 3 – The republic of San Marino is established (traditional date).

====== Asia ======

February 3–May 30 – Sima Lun briefly usurps the Jin dynasty.

=== 302 ===

==== By place ====

====== Roman Empire ======

====== Persia ======

==== By topic ====

====== Arts and sciences ======

====== Religion ======


Year 308 (CCCVIII) was a leap year starting on Thursday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Valerius and Valerius (or, less frequently, year 1061 Ab urbe condita). The denomination 308 for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.


Year 309 (CCCIX) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Licinianus and Constantius (or, less frequently, year 1062 Ab urbe condita). The denomination 309 for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.


Year 310 (CCCX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Andronicus and Probus (or, less frequently, year 1063 Ab urbe condita). The denomination 310 for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.

Antonio del Duca

Antonio del Duca or Lo Duca (Cefalù 1491 — Rome 1564) was the Sicilian friar whose persistent campaign for an official veneration of the "Seven Angelic Princes" was partly answered in the dedication of Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri, constructed to the orders of Pope Pius IV within the ruins of the Baths of Diocletian.

Antonio had been obsessed with the cult of the angels since the days when he was choirmaster in the cathedral of Palermo, 1513-15. At that time he discovered in the little Church of Sant'Angelo an ancient icon of the Seven Angelic Princes that emerged as if miraculously preserved from centuries of disuse. Fired with his faith, he travelled to Rome, harboring the intention of obtaining formal recognition of these Sette Principi angelici. In Rome he obtained a post as chaplain to Antonio Maria Cardinal Ciocchi del Monte, uncle of the future Pope Julius III. For the cardinal he composed a liturgy for a Mass of the Seven Angels.

After his patron's death in 1533, he served as chaplain to don Fernando de Silva, conde de Cifuentes, ambassador of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, never failing to seek official approval for his liturgy. In vain were his importunings of Pope Paul III Farnese, who assigned him duties that returned him to his native Sicily. Once again in Rome, he became chaplain in Santa Maria di Loreto in Trajan's Forum. There, one summer morning in 1541 he had a beatific vision of the Seven Martyr Saints— Saints Saturnino, Ciriaco, Largo, Smaragdo, Sisinnio, Trasone and Pope Marcellus I— revealed in a white light within the ruins of the Baths of Diocletian. From that moment he was fixated on seeing a church dedicated to those built within the ruins. He inscribed seven of the great red granite Roman columns of the caldarium with the names in his list of Seven Archangels: the three familiar ones, Michael, Raphael, and Gabriel, with the archangels specific to Eastern Orthodoxy: Selaphiel, Jegudiel, Barachiel and Uriel. His beseeching letter of 13 November 1546 to Signora Lucrezia della Rovere-Colonna to intercede with Paul III on behalf of the project survives: it must have been one among many.

In 1543 he combined a pilgrimage to the Santa Casa di Loreto with a trip to Venice to have the booklet of his liturgy printed, with prayers and images of the angels and while he was there commissioned a copy of the mosaic in the Basilica of San Marco depicting the Virgin among the Seven Angels, In Rome once more, Antonio accepted the rectorship of the Orfanelli di Santa Maria in Aquiro, continuing to frequent the thermae and pressing Paul III to consecrate the grand Roman ruin to the Beatissima Vergine dei Sette Arcangeli. Finally the construction was authorized by Pope Pius IV, in a brief of 27 July 1561 that dedicated the church to the "Beatissimae Virgini et omnium Angelorum et Martyrum", "the most Holy Virgin and all the Angels and Martyrs", and conceded the direction to the Certosini. The designer of the new church was Michelangelo, one of his last commissions.

Anversa degli Abruzzi

Anversa degli Abruzzi (Abruzzese: Anvèrsë) is a comune and town in the province of L'Aquila in the Abruzzo region of southern Italy.

Catacomb of Priscilla

The Catacomb of Priscilla is an archaeological site on the Via Salaria in Rome, Italy, situated in what was a quarry in Roman times. This quarry was used for Christian burials from the late 2nd century through the 4th century. This catacomb, according to tradition, is named after the wife of the Consul Manius Acilius Glabrio; he is said to have become a Christian and was killed on the orders of Domitian. Some of the walls and ceilings display fine decorations illustrating Biblical scenes.

The modern entrance to the catacomb is on the Via Salaria through the cloister of the monastery of the Benedictines of Priscilla. The Catacombs of Priscilla are divided into three principal areas: an arenarium, a cryptoporticus from a large Roman villa, and the underground burial area of the ancient Roman family, the Acilius Glabrio.


Saint Chrysolius (French: Chrysole, Chryseuil) the Armenian is the patron saint of Komen/Comines, today in Belgium and France; his relics were venerated in the basilica of St Donatian, Bruges. According to tradition, he was a native of Armenia who fled to Rome during the persecution of Christians by Diocletian, was received by Pope Marcellus I and sent to northeast Gaul, where he evangelized at Verlengehem. According to his legend, he then became a spiritual student of Saint Denis and was sent with Saint Piatus to evangelize the area of Cambrai and Tournai. Chrysolius then became a bishop and was subsequently stopped by Roman soldiers and condemned to be decapitated; the top of his skull was sliced off. According to his legend, the piece of his skull broke into three smaller pieces, and where each piece fell, a miraculous spring gushed out. Chrysolius, after recovering the top of his cranium, walked to Komen and died there, after crossing the ford at the Deule River that now bears his name.

Churches of Rome

There are more than 900 churches in Rome,

including some notable Roman Catholic Marian churches. Most, but not all, of these are Roman Catholic.

The first churches of Rome originated in places where Christians met. They were divided into three categories:

the houses of private Roman citizens (people who hosted the meetings of Christians – also known as oratoria, oracula)

the deaconries (places where charity distributions were given to the poor and placed under the control of a deacon; the greatest deaconries had many deacons, and one of them was elected archdeacon)

other houses holding a titulus (known as domus ecclesia)


Saint Emygdius (Latin: Emidius, Æmedius, Emigdius, Hemigidius; Italian: Sant'Emidio; c. 279 – c. 309 AD) was a Christian bishop who is venerated as a martyr. Tradition states that he was killed during the persecution of Diocletian.

January 16 (Eastern Orthodox liturgics)

January 15 - Eastern Orthodox liturgical calendar - January 17

All fixed commemorations below are observed on January 29 by Eastern Orthodox Churches on the Old Calendar.For January 16th, Orthodox Churches on the Old Calendar commemorate the Saints listed on January 3.

Pope Eusebius

Pope Eusebius (from Greek Εὐσέβιος "pious"; died 17 August 310) was the Bishop of Rome from 18 April 310 until his death four months later.

Pope Marcellus

Pope Marcellus may refer to two Roman Catholic popes:

Pope Marcellus I (reigned 308–309)

Pope Marcellus II (reigned 1555)

Saint-Marcel, Aosta Valley

Saint-Marcel (Valdôtain: 'en Mar'i) is a town and comune in the Aosta Valley region of north-western Italy.

Saint Marcellus

Saint Marcellus may refer to:

Pope Marcellus I

Marcellus of Capua

Marcellus of Tangier

San Marcello

San Marcello may refer to:

San Marcello Pistoiese, a frazione of the comune of San Marcello Piteglio in the Italian province of Pistoia

San Marcello (Ancona), a comune in the Italian province of Ancona

Poggio San Marcello, a comune, also in the province of Ancona

San Marcello al Corso, a church in Rome

7481 San Marcello, an asteroid

San Marcello, Marche

San Marcello is a comune (municipality) in the Province of Ancona in the Italian region Marche, located about 25 kilometres (16 mi) west of Ancona.

San Marcello borders the following municipalities: Belvedere Ostrense, Jesi, Maiolati Spontini, Monsano, Monte San Vito, Morro d'Alba.

Founded in 1234 by a community of people from Jesi, it has a line of walls and the Renaissance Palazzo Marcelli.

San Marcello al Corso

San Marcello al Corso, a church in Rome, Italy, is a titular church whose cardinal-protector normally holds the (intermediary) rank of cardinal-priest.

The church, dedicated to Pope Marcellus I, is located just inset from Via del Corso, in ancient times called via Lata, and which now connects Piazza Venezia to Piazza del Popolo. It stands diagonal from the church of Santa Maria in Via Lata and two doors from the Oratory of Santissimo Crocifisso.

Septimius of Iesi

Saint Septimius of Iesi (Italian: Settimio di Jesi) (d. 307) was the first bishop of Iesi, a martyr, and a saint.

Septimius was born in Germany, and after an education in the liberal arts, began a military career. After he converted to Christianity, he parted with his family, who did not convert, and went to Italy where he worked as a minister in Milan. He was forced out of Milan during the Persecution of Diocletian in 303. He later made his way to Rome, where the miracles he performed impressed Pope Marcellus I so much that he made Septimius bishop of Iesi.

Septimius established Iesi Cathedral. A local magistrate, Florentius, opposed the dedication of the cathedral after Septimius refused to make a sacrifice to the pagan gods. Florentius subsequently ordered Septimius to be decapitated.

The body of Septimius was exhumed in 1469, although the cult of Septimius dated from much earlier. A new altar was consecrated to the saint at the cathedral in 1623.

Septimius is the patron saint of Iesi. His feast day was on September 5 until 1623, when it was changed to September 22.

1st–4th centuries
During the Roman Empire (until 493)
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5th–8th centuries
Ostrogothic Papacy (493–537)
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Frankish Papacy (756–857)
9th–12th centuries
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13th–16th centuries
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17th–20th centuries
Age of Enlightenment (c. 1640-1740)
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Roman Question (1870–1929)
Vatican City (1929–present)
21st century
History of the papacy
Virgin Mary
See also

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