September 12 – Beheaded after a false accusation

September 11, 2023

Flavius Marcellinus

Statue of Flavius Marcellinus on the South Transept Spire of the Duomo di Milano. Copyright © Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo di Milano. P.Iva 01989950157.
Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo di Milano. Via Carlo Maria Martini, 1 – 20122 – Milano. Registro delle Persone Giuridiche Prefettura di Milano n°315

Date of birth unknown; died 12 September, 413. He was a high official (tribunus et notarius) at the court of Emperor Honorius, and possessed the confidence of his imperial master owing to his good sense, and unblemished conduct. In 411 Honorius sent him to Africa as plenipotentiary judge, to preside and pass sentence at the great conference between the representatives of the Catholics and the Donatists, which began on 1 June of the same year and lasted several days. Marcellinus, who had conducted the negotiations with great patience and entire impartiality, decided in favor of the Catholics, whereupon new imperial decrees were published against the Donatists. The great interest which the imperial envoy showed in theological and religious questions, brought about close and friendly relations between him and St. Augustine, who wrote him several letters, and dedicated various books to him (“De peccatorum meritis et remissione”, “De baptismo parvulorum”, the first three books of “De Civitate Dei”). St. Jerome also wrote him a letter. In 413 Marcellinus and his brother Apringius were imprisoned by Marinus, who had crushed the rising of Heraclianus, as being alleged supporters and partisans of the latter. Jerome says the Donatists falsely accused him out of hatred (Adv. Pelagium, III, 6). Although St. Augustine interceded for him, and several other African bishops came forward in his favor, he was beheaded 12 September, 413, by order of Marinus; the latter was soon after called away from Africa, and in the edict of 30 August, 414, which regulated the carrying out of the decrees against the Donatists, Marcellinus was referred to with honor. His name is in the Roman Martyrology, and his feast is celebrated on 6 April as that of a martyr.

Acta SS., April, I, 539-42; Dict. Christ. Biog., III, 806-7; LECLERCQ, L’Afrique chrétienne, II (Paris, 1904), 107-8, 139-40.

J.P. KIRSCH (Catholic Encyclopedia)


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