Pope Miltiades

Pope Miltiades (Greek: Μιλτιάδης, Miltiádēs; d. 10 January 314[1]), also known as Melchiades the African (Μελχιάδης ὁ Ἀφρικανός Melkhiádēs ho Aphrikanós), was Pope of the Catholic Church from 311 to his death in 314. It was during his pontificate that Emperor Constantine I issued the Edict of Milan (313), giving Christianity legal status within the Roman Empire. The Pope also received the palace of Empress Fausta where the Lateran Palace, the papal seat and residence of the papal administration, would be built. At the Lateran Council, during the schism with the Church of Carthage, Miltiades condemned the rebaptism of apostatised bishops and priests, a teaching of Donatus Magnus.

Pope Saint

Bishop of Rome
Pope Miltiades 2
The icon of Pope Miltiades at the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls in Rome, Italy
ChurchCatholic Church
DioceseDiocese of Rome
Papacy began2 July 311
Papacy ended10 January 314
SuccessorSylvester I
Personal details
Birth nameMiltiades or Melchiades
BornUnknown date
North Africa
Died10 January 314[1]
Rome, Roman Empire
BuriedCatacomb of Callixtus, Appian Way, Rome, Italy
Feast day10 January
Venerated inCatholic Church
Eastern Orthodox Church
Oriental Orthodoxy


The year of Miltiades' birth is unknown but it is known that he was of North African[2] Berber descent[3] and, according to the Liber Pontificalis, compiled from the 5th century onwards, a Roman citizen.[4] Miltiades and his successor, Sylvester I, were part of the clergy of Pope Marcellinus.[5] It has been suggested that he was party to the alleged apostasy of Pope Marcellinus, which was repudiated by Augustine of Hippo. This view originated from letters, dated to between 400 and 410, written by Donatist Bishop Petilianus of Constantine, who claimed that Marcellinus, along with Miltiades and Sylvester, surrendered sacred texts and offered incense to Roman deities.[6]


In April 311, the Edict of Toleration was issued in Serdica (modern day Sofia, Bulgaria) by the Roman emperor Galerius, officially ending the Diocletianic Persecution of Christianity.[7]

The election of Miltiades to the papacy on 2 July 311, according to the Liberian Catalogue,[5] marked the end of a sede vacante, the vacancy of the papacy, following the death of Pope Eusebius on 17 August 310 or 309 according to Liber Pontificalis[8] not long after his exile to Sicily by the Emperor Maxentius.[2] After his election, Church property that was confiscated during the Diocletianic Persecution was restored by Maxentius.[5][9] This order, however, probably did not extend to all of the parts of Maxentius' jurisdiction.[10]

The Liber Pontificalis, attributed the introduction of several later customs to Miltiades, such as not fasting on Thursdays or Sundays, although subsequent scholarship now believes the customs likely pre-dated Miltiades.[2] Miltades prescribed distribution of portions of the bread consecrated by the Pope at all of the churches around Rome, the fermentum, as a sign of unity.[5][9]

In October 312, Constantine defeated Maxentius at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge to become emperor.[11] He later presented the Pope with the palace of Empress Fausta, where the Lateran Palace, the papal residence and seat of central Church administration, would be built.[11]

Being the first Pope under Constantine, his pontificate coincided with the peace Constantine gave to the Church.[5] In February 313, Constantine and Licinius, emperor of the eastern part of the Roman Empire, agreed to extend tolerance of Christianity to Licinius' territory, proclaimed by the Edict of Milan. Consequently, Christians not only attained the freedom of worship, but also all places of Christian worship were restored and all confiscated property returned.[12]

Lateran Council

During Miltiades' tenure as pontif, a schism over the election of Bishop Caecilianus split the Church of Carthage. The opposing parties were those of Caecilianus, who were supported by Rome, and of Donatus, mainly clergymen from North Africa who demanded that schismatics, and heretics, be re-baptised and re-ordained before taking office,[13] the central issue dividing Donatists and Catholics.[14] The supporters of Donatus appealed to Constantine and requested that judges from Gaul be assigned to adjudicate.[15] Constantine agreed and commissioned Miltiades together with three Gallic bishops to resolve the dispute, the first time an emperor had interfered in church affairs.[11] Miltiades, unwilling to jeopardise his relationship with the Emperor, but also unwilling to preside over a council with an uncertain outcome,[15] changed the proceedings into a regular church synod and appointed an additional 15 Italian bishops.[11]

The Lateran Council was held for three days from 2–4 October 313.[5] The process was modeled on Roman civil proceedings, with Miltiades insisting on strict rules of evidence and argument. This frustrated the Donatists who left the council without presenting their case, which led Miltiades to rule in favour of Caecilianus by default.[15] The council thus ended after only three sessions. The Pope retained Caecilianus as Bishop of Carthage and condemned Donatus' teachings of rebaptism of bishops and priests.[5][16] The adverse rulings failed to stop the continuing spread of Donatism across North Africa.[16]

The Donatists again appealed to the Emperor, who responded by convening the Council of Arles in 314 but it too ruled against the Donatists.[17] By the time the council was convened, Miltiades had died and had been succeeded by Sylvester I.[11] He was buried in the Catacomb of Callixtus at the Appian Way and venerated as a saint.[2] Licinius, who promulgated the Edict of Milan, violated the edict in 320 by persecuting Christians, sacking them from public offices, forbidding synods and condoning executions. A civil war broke out between him and Constantine, with Constantine eventually defeating him in 324.[18]


The feast of Miltiades in the 4th century, according to the Martyrologium Hieronymianum, was celebrated on 10 January.[2] In the 13th century, the feast of Saint Melchiades (as he was then called) was included, with the mistaken qualification of "martyr", in the General Roman Calendar for celebration on 10 December. In 1969, the celebration was removed from that calendar of obligatory liturgical celebrations,[19] and moved to the day of his death, 10 January, with his name given in the form "Miltiades" but without the indication "martyr".[20]

See also



  1. ^ a b "Saint Miltiades". Encyclopaedia Britannica. Retrieved 9 January 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e Kirsch 1913, p. 318.
  3. ^ Serralda & Huard 1984, p. 68.
  4. ^ McBrien 2000, p. 56.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Levillain 2002, p. 993.
  6. ^ Kirsch 1912, p. 638.
  7. ^ Gibbon 2008, p. 132.
  8. ^ Kirsch 1909, p. 615.
  9. ^ a b Green 2010, p. 219.
  10. ^ De Clerq 1954, p. 143.
  11. ^ a b c d e O'Malley 2009, p. 31.
  12. ^ White 2007, pp. 55–56.
  13. ^ Burris 2012, pp. 74–77.
  14. ^ Finn 2004, p. 112.
  15. ^ a b c Burris 2012, p. 78.
  16. ^ a b Malveaux 2015, p. 115.
  17. ^ Burris 2012, p. 79.
  18. ^ Lenski 2012, p. 75.
  19. ^ Calendarium Romanum 1969, p. 148.
  20. ^ Martyrologium Romanum 2001.


  • Burris, Ronald D. (2012). Where Is the Church?: Martyrdom, Persecution, and Baptism in North Africa from the Second to the Fifth Century. Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock Publishers. ISBN 9781608998081.
  • Calendarium Romanum. Vatican: Libreria Editrice Vaticana. 1969.
  • De Clerq, Victor Cyril (1954). Ossius of Cordova: A Contribution to the History of the Constantinian Period. Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press.
  • Finn, Thomas M. (2004). Quodvultdeus of Carthage: The Creedal Homilies. Mahwah, New Jersey: The Newman Press. ISBN 9780809105724.
  • Gibbon, Edward (2008). The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. New York City: Cosimo, Inc. ISBN 9781605201221.
  • Green, Bernard (2010). Christianity in Ancient Rome: The First Three Centuries. London: T&T Clark International. ISBN 9780567032508.
  • Kirsch, Johann Peter (1909). "Eusebius, Pope St.". In Herbermann, Charles G.; Pace, Edward A.; Pallen, Condé B.; Shahan, Thomas J.; Wyne, John J. (eds.). The Catholic Encyclopedia. 5. New York: Encyclopedia Press, Inc.
  • Kirsch, Johann Peter (1912). "Marcellinus, Pope St.". In Herbermann, Charles G.; Pace, Edward A.; Pallen, Condé B.; Shahan, Thomas J.; Wyne, John J. (eds.). The Catholic Encyclopedia. 9. New York: Encyclopedia Press, Inc.
  • Kirsch, Johann Peter (1913). "Miltiades, Pope St.". In Herbermann, Charles G.; Pace, Edward A.; Pallen, Condé B.; Shahan, Thomas J.; Wyne, John J. (eds.). The Catholic Encyclopedia. 10. New York: Encyclopedia Press, Inc.
  • Lenski, Noel Emmanuel (2012). The Cambridge Companion to the Age of Constantine. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9781107013407.
  • Levillain, Philippe, ed. (2002). The Papacy: an Encyclopedia. 2. New York City: Routledge.
  • Malveaux, Ethan (2015). The Color Line: A History. Bloomington, IN: Xlibris Corporation. ISBN 9781503527591.
  • Martyrologium Romanum. Vatican: Libreria Editrice Vaticana. 2001. ISBN 978-8820972103.
  • McBrien, Richard P. (2000). Lives of the Popes. New York, NY: HarperCollins. ISBN 9780060653040.
  • O'Malley, John (2009). A History of the Popes: From Peter to the Present. Lanham, MD: Government Institutes. ISBN 9781580512299.
  • Serralda, Vincent; Huard, André (1984). Le Berbère – lumière de l'Occident [The Berbers – the Light of the West] (in French). Paris: Nouvelles Editions Latines. ISBN 9782723302395.
  • White, Cynthia (2007). The Emergence of Christianity. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. ISBN 9780313327995.
Titles of the Great Christian Church
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Sylvester I

The 310s decade ran from January 1, 310, to December 31, 319.


Year 311 (CCCXI) was a common year starting on Monday (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 Maximinus (or, less frequently, year 1064 Ab urbe condita). The denomination 311 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 314 (CCCXIV) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Rufius and Annianus (or, less frequently, year 1067 Ab urbe condita). The denomination 314 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.


Betause (died 327) was a 4th-century Bishop of Reims.Of Greek origin, he was the nephew of Pope Eusebius, the son of his sister.

He was ordained fourth bishop of Rheims by Pope Miltiades in 312AD and attended the Council of Arles of 314 with his deacon, Primogenite. He is listed in the council records as from "the first province of Belgium".By 314AD, Betause had built a new cathedral because until then, the Christians in Reims had only a small building and a cemetery outside the city. The new church was dedicated to the Holy Apostles.

He asked Pope Sylvester I to transfer the seat of the bishopric to Reims which was moved under Saint Nicaise. This church was destroyed at the end of the 18th century.He also built the Saint-Christophe chapel where saint Rémi was latter buried. Betause died in 327.


Donatism (Latin: Donatismus, Greek: Δονατισμός Donatismós) was a schism in the Church of Carthage from the fourth to the sixth centuries AD. Donatists argued that Christian clergy must be faultless for their ministry to be effective and their prayers and sacraments to be valid. Donatism had its roots in the long-established Christian community of the Roman Africa province (now Algeria and Tunisia) in the persecutions of Christians under Diocletian. Named after the Berber Christian bishop Donatus Magnus, Donatism flourished during the fourth and fifth centuries.

Donatus Magnus

Donatus Magnus, also known as Donatus of Casae Nigrae, became leader of a schismatic Christian sect known as the Donatists in North Africa. He is believed to have died in exile around 355.

Four Crowned Martyrs

The designation Four Crowned Martyrs or Four Holy Crowned Ones (Latin, Sancti Quatuor Coronati) refers to nine individuals venerated as martyrs and saints in the Catholic Church. The nine saints are divided into two groups:

Severus (or Secundius), Severian(us), Carpophorus (Carpoforus), Victorinus (Victorius, Vittorinus)

Claudius, Castorius, Symphorian (Simpronian), Nicostratus, and SimpliciusAccording to the Golden Legend, the names of the members of the first group were not known at the time of their death "but were learned through the Lord’s revelation after many years had passed." They were called the "Four Crowned Martyrs" because their names were unknown ("crown" referring to the crown of martyrdom).

January 31

January 31 is the 31st day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. 334 days remain until the end of the year (335 in leap years).

Lateran Palace

The Lateran Palace (Latin: Palatium Lateranense), formally the Apostolic Palace of the Lateran (Latin: Palatium Apostolicum Lateranense), is an ancient palace of the Roman Empire and later the main papal residence in southeast Rome.

Located on St. John's Square in Lateran on the Caelian Hill, the palace is adjacent to the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran, the cathedral church of Rome. From the fourth century, the palace was the principal residence of the popes, and continued so for about a thousand years until the seat ultimately moved to the Vatican. The palace is now used by the Vatican Historical Museum, which illustrates the history of the Papal States. The palace also houses the offices of the Vicariate of Rome, as well as the residential apartments of the Cardinal Vicar, the pope's delegate for the daily administration of the diocese. Until 1970, the palace was also home to the important collections of the Lateran Museum, now dispersed among other parts of the Vatican Museums.

Following the Lateran Treaty of 1929, the palace and adjoining basilica are extraterritorial properties of the Holy See.

List of Berber people

This is a list of famous Berber people.

List of canonised popes

This article lists the Popes who have been canonised or recognised as Saints in the Roman Catholic Church they had led. A total of 83 (out of 266) Popes have been recognised universally as canonised saints, including all of the first 35 Popes (31 of whom were martyrs) and 52 of the first 54. If Pope Liberius is numbered amongst the Saints as in Eastern Christianity, all of the first 49 Popes become recognised as Saints, of whom 31 are Martyr-Saints, and 53 of the first 54 Pontiffs would be acknowledged as Saints. In addition, 13 other Popes are in the process of becoming canonised Saints: as of December 2018, two are recognised as being Servants of God, two are recognised as being Venerable, and nine have been declared Blessed or Beati, making a total of 95 (97 if Pope Liberius and Pope Adeodatus II are recognised to be Saints) of the 266 Roman Pontiffs being recognised and venerated for their heroic virtues and inestimable contributions to the Church.

The most recently reigning Pope to have been canonised was Pope John Paul II, whose cause for canonisation was opened in May 2005. John Paul II was beatified on May 1, 2011, by Pope Benedict XVI and later canonised, along with Pope John XXIII, by Pope Francis on April 27, 2014. Pope Francis also canonised Pope Paul VI on October 14, 2018.

Marcellinus of Gaul

Marcellinus of Gaul also known as Marcellin was the first bishop of Embrun from 354 AD. He was a native of Africa Proconsularis.Marcellin, went to Rome with two other bishops of North Africa, Vincent and Domnin, to attend a synod in 313 to judge the Donatists movement. They met the then Pope, Miltiades and from him received a mission. They went to Nice, where they landed, they say, after taking advice of the bishops assembled in Arles in 314. They went and preached the gospel to the inhabitants of Italian side of the Alps, from the shores of the sea to Vercelli, where Eusebius was chosen as bishop and where they separated.

Marcellin and his two disciples then headed towards the Alps and arrived in Embrun. As the main missionaries evangelizing in the regions they became the first bishops. Marcellin became the first bishop of Embrun and Vincent, bishop of Digne.


Melquíades is a Spanish given name. It is the Spanish form of the Greek name Melchiades, as in Pope Miltiades.

Miltiades (name)

Miltiades or Miltiadis (Greek: Μιλτιάδης, short: Miltos) is a Greek masculine given name. The name is derived from the Greek word for "red earth".

Mirocles (bishop of Milan)

Mirocles (or Merocles, Italian: Mirocle) was Bishop of Milan from before 313 to c. 316. He is honoured as a Saint in the Catholic Church and his feast day is on December 3.

Pope Sylvester I

Pope Sylvester I (also Silvester, died 31 December 335), was the 33rd Pope of the Catholic Church from 314 to his death in 335. He succeeded Pope Miltiades. He filled the See of Rome at an important era in the history of the Western Church, yet very little is known of him. The accounts of his papacy preserved in the Liber Pontificalis (seventh or eighth century) contain little more than a record of the gifts said to have been conferred on the Church by Constantine I, although it does say that he was the son of a Roman named Rufinus. His feast is celebrated as Saint Sylvester's Day in Western Christianity on December 31, while Eastern Christianity commemorates it on January 2.

Santi Quattro Coronati

Santi Quattro Coronati is an ancient basilica in Rome, Italy. The church dates back to the 4th (or 5th) century, and is devoted to four anonymous saints and martyrs. The complex of the basilica with its two courtyards, the fortified Cardinal Palace with the Saint Silvester Chapel, and the monastery with its cosmatesque cloister is built in a silent and green part of Rome, between the Colosseum and San Giovanni in Laterano, in an out-of-time setting.

Secundus of Tigisis

Secundus of Tigisis (fl. 310) was an early church leader and primate of Numidia. He was a leading organiser of the early Donatist movement in Carthage.

1st–4th centuries
During the Roman Empire (until 493)
including under Constantine (312–337)
5th–8th centuries
Ostrogothic Papacy (493–537)
Byzantine Papacy (537–752)
Frankish Papacy (756–857)
9th–12th centuries
Papal selection before 1059
Saeculum obscurum (904–964)
Crescentii era (974–1012)
Tusculan Papacy (1012–1044/1048)
Imperial Papacy (1048–1257)
13th–16th centuries
Viterbo (1257–1281)
Orvieto (1262–1297)
Perugia (1228–1304)
Avignon Papacy (1309–1378)
Western Schism (1378–1417)
Renaissance Papacy (1417–1534)
Reformation Papacy (1534–1585)
Baroque Papacy (1585–1689)
17th–20th centuries
Age of Enlightenment (c. 1640-1740)
Revolutionary Papacy (1775–1848)
Roman Question (1870–1929)
Vatican City (1929–present)
21st century
History of the papacy
Virgin Mary
See also

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