1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Marcellinus, St

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MARCELLINUS, ST, according to the Liberian catalogue, became bishop of Rome on the 30th of June, 296; his predecessor was Caius or Gaius. He is not mentioned in the Martyrologium hieronymianum, or in the Depositio episcoporum, or in the Depositio martyrum. The Liber pontificalis, basing itself on the Acts of St Marcellinus, the text of which is lost, relates that during Diocletian’s persecution Marcellinus was called upon to sacrifice, and offered incense to idols, but that, repenting shortly afterwards, he confessed the faith of Christ and suffered martyrdom with several companions. Other documents speak of his defection, and it is probably this lapse that explains the silence of the ancient liturgical calendars. In the beginning of the 5th century Petilianus, the Donatist bishop of Constantine, affirmed that Marcellinus and his priests had given up the holy books to the pagans during the persecution and offered incense to false gods. St Augustine contents himself with denying the affair (Contra litt. Petiliani, ii. 202; De unico baptismo, 27). The records of the pseudo-council of Sinuessa, which were fabricated at the beginning of the 6th century, state that Marcellinus after his fall presented himself before a council, which refused to try him on the ground that prima sedes a nemine iudicatur. According to the Liber pontificalis, Marcellinus was buried, on the 26th of April 304, in the cemetery of Priscilla, on the Via Salaria, 25 days after his martyrdom; the Liberian catalogue gives as the date the 25th of October. The fact of the martyrdom, too, is not established with certainty. After a considerable interregnum he was succeeded by Marcellus, with whom he has sometimes been confounded.

See L. Duchesne, Liber pontificalis, I. lxxiii.–lxxiv. 162–163, and II. 563.  (H. De.)