Feast Day : April 26 or October 25
Marcellinus, son of Projectus, was born in Rome. He was elected bishop of Rome to replace St. Caius on June 30, 296. Almost nothing has come down to us concerning his pontificate, which came at the beginning of the persecution of Emperor Diocletian. For centuries, Marcellinus was believed to have apostatized when the persecution’s first edict appeared, surrendered the Vatican’s sacred books, and offered incense to the pagan gods of Rome, then repented, for which he was put to death. However, St. Augustine, among others, gave no credence to these rumors, which have since been largely discredited. Probably they constituted disinformation put forward by Diocletian or his henchman, Maximianus Herculeus. There is little reason to believe that Marcellinus’s death on October 25, 304, was not natural. His name does not appear in early martyrologies. The Catacomb of St. Callistus on the Via Appia (which for the last two centuries had served as the final resting place of the popes) having been confiscated, his body was interred in the Catacomb of Priscilla on the Via Salaria. His tomb was venerated from a very early date by Roman Christians, and the site appears on the itineraries of seventh-century pilgrimages.