St. Marcellinus, Martyr, (A.D. 413)
“Several of the works of St. Augustine, including his great book On the City of God, are dedicated to his friend Marcellinus, secretary of state to the Emperor Honorius. Moreover we still have the encomiums upon St. Marcellinus pronounced by St. Augustine and St. Jerome after his martyrdom. In the year 409, the emperor had granted liberty of public worship to the Donatists, an ultra-puritan party in the Church who refused to readmit to communion penitents who, after baptism, had fallen into mortal sin, and especially those who had failed in time of persecution. The Donatists in North Africa had taken advantage of this permission to oppress and ill treat the orthodox, who appealed to the emperor. Marcellinus was sent to Carthage to preside over a conference of Catholic and Donatist bishops and to act as judge. After a three days’ parley he decided against the Donatists, whose privileges were revoked and who were ordered to return to the communion of their Catholic brethren. It fell to the lot of Marcellinus and of his brother Apringius to enforce the decision, and they proceeded to do so with a severity which the Roman law justified but which, it must be admitted, drew upon them remonstrances from St. Augustine. In revenge the Donatists accused them of being implicated in the rebellion of Heraclian, and the general Marinus, who was dealing with the insurrection, cast them both into prison. St. Augustine, who visited them in their captivity, tried in vain to save them: they were taken from prison and executed without a trial. The emperor afterwards severely censured Marinus and vindicated Marcellinus as “a man of glorious memory”’ his name was added to the Roman Martyrology by Cardinal Baronius.”
May we strive to be open to welcoming those away from the church.