Papacy - A Historical Perspective
St. Marcellinus : 296-304 A.D.
29. Born in Rome. Elected June 30, 296 - died a martyr October 25,
During his period the persecutions of
their peak. Churches were
destroyed and holy books burned. St. Lucy, St. Agnes, St. Bibiana, St.
Sebastian and St.
Lucian were among the many martyrs of that period. Marcellinus feared
the profanation of
the catacombs and filled them with earth to avoid this from happening.
he threatened to excommunicate whoever was going to bury his body and,
for this reason,
he remained above ground for about 40 days until St. Peter appeared to
ordered him to bury the pontiff.
Marcellinus is buried in the roman Church of the SS.
Apostoli. His pontificate lasted 8 years and 4 months.
St. Marcellus I : 308-309 A.D.
30. Born in Rome. Elected May 27, 308 - died a martyr January 16,
elected after four years of vacancy. He dealt with the difficult
problem of pardoning
those who had recanted for fear during the persecutions. He decreed
that a council could
not be held without the authorization of the Pope. He is the patron of
by Maxentius, he took refuge in the home of the matron Lucina and it is
said that her
house is the present-day Church of S. Marcello, the site where his body
was in charge of the Church for less than a year.
Comment: Note that the Chair of Peter was vacant
for four years.
St. Eusebius : 309 A.D.
31. Born in Cassano Ionico (of Greek origin). Elected April 18, 309
- died a martyr August
St. Helen, mother of Constantine,
recovered the Holy Cross in
He had to solve the question of pardoning the apostates, which
bringing the church to the point of a schism. He succeeded by
maintaining a position of
firmness and pardon.
He ordered that the corporal be made of linen and consecrated by
He suffered martyrdom in Sicily. His remains are in the Church of
Fuori le Mura. He was a pontiff for 121 days.
St. Miltiades : 311-314 A.D.
32. Born in Africa. Elected July 2, 311 - died January 2, 314.
He witnessed the triumph of
Christianity. With the edict of tolerance for the Christian faith,
issued by Emperor
Constantine, and after the vision “in hoc signo vinces” this faith
became the state religion.
The blessing of the bread started around this time.
He had the Basilica of San
Giovanni in Laterano built and convoked the first council that was
headed by a Pope and
sanctioned by the Empire.
He was the last pontiff to be buried in the catacombs of San
Callisto. Today he rests in the Roman Church of San Silvestro in
Capite. He was Pope for
about 2 and a half years.
Comment: Note the criteria used to determine the
"Triumph of Christianity". We are seeing the results of such mentality
as the world continues its plunge into darkness at the beginning of the
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