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The Papacy - A Historical Perspective

296-314 A.D.

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St. Marcellinus : 296-304 A.D.

29. Born in Rome. Elected June 30, 296 - died a martyr October 25, 304.

During his period the persecutions of Diocletian reached 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.

Before dying, 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 Marcellus and 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, 309.

He was 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 grooms.

Persecuted 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 buried.

He 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 17, 309.

St. Helen, mother of Constantine, recovered the Holy Cross in Jerusalem during his pontificate.

He had to solve the question of pardoning the apostates, which was 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 a bishop.

He suffered martyrdom in Sicily. His remains are in the Church of San Sebastiano 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 21st Century.

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Index of Roman Pontiffs


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