Marcellinus of Carthage
|Marcellinus of Carthage|
|Eastern Orthodox Church, Roman Catholic Church|
Marcellinus of Carthage was a Christian martyr and saint who died in 413. He was secretary of state of the Western Roman Empire under Roman Emperor Honorius and a close friend of Augustine of Hippo, as well as a correspondent of Saint Jerome's. Saint Augustine dedicated the first books of his landmark The City of God to Marcellinus in 413.
In 409, Marcellinus granted the right to public worship to the Donatists, an heretical group. The Donatists grew in power and began to oppress the orthodox, who appealed to the emperor for protection. Marcellinus was set up as the judge of the controversy. In 411, at the Conference of Carthage, he ruled that the Donatists were heretics and that they had to give up their churches and return to churches under the control of orthodox bishops and priests. This judgment was carried out by the Roman army with violence and great severity. So bloody was the persecution of the Donatists that Saint Augustine, who had been one of the leaders in condemning Donatism as a heresy, protested at their treatment.
In 413, the Donatists accused Marcellinus and his brother, Apringius, of being involved in the rebellion of Heraclion. General Maricus, who had put down the rebellion and who had Donatist sympathies, arrested the brothers and put them in prison. Even with Bishop Augustine intervening on their behalf with Cecilian, the judge in the case, the two brothers were executed on September 12. His feast day in the Roman Catholic Church is April 6.
Marcellinus is frequently mentioned in Peter Brown's biography of Augustine, Augustine of Hippo: a Biography (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000). See particularly the chapters 25–28 for Marcellinus' role in the Donatist controversy and his juridical murder after Heraclion's attempted coup.
Vie des Saints des Petits Bollandistes, a cura di Paul Guérin, Parigi 1876, tomo IV.
Piero Bargellini, Mille Santi del giorno, Vallecchi editore, 1977