Butler’s Lives of the Saints – Saint Marcellus, Bishop of Paris, Confessor


He was born at Paris in the fourth age, of parents not conspicuous for any rank in the world, but on whom his virtue reflected the greatest honour. Purity of heart, modesty, meekness, mortification, and charity were the ingredients of his character in his youth; and he gave himself entirely to the discipline of virtue and prayer, so as to seem, whilst he lived in the flesh, disengaged both from the world and the flesh, says the author of his life. The uncommon gravity of his manners, and his progress in sacred learning so strongly recommended him to Prudentius, Bishop of Paris, that when he was yet young this prelate ordained him reader of that church. From this time the saint is said to have given frequent proofs of a wonderful gift of miracles. He was afterwards promoted to the dignity of priesthood, and upon the decease of Prudentius was unanimously chosen Bishop of Paris. As he undertook this charge by compulsion and with trembling, so a just apprehension of his obligations made him always humble, watchful, and indefatigable in all his functions. It is related that amongst other miracles he freed the country from a great serpent which inhabited the sepulchre of an adultress. But the circumstances of this action depend upon the authority of one who wrote near two hundred years after the time, and who, being a foreigner, took them upon trust, and probably upon popular reports. The saint died in the beginning of the fifth century, on the 1st of November, on which day he is named in the Roman Martyrology, though in the Gallican his feast is deferred to the 3rd. His body was buried about a quarter of a league from Paris in a village which is now joined to the town, and called the suburb of Saint Marceau. His relics have been long since kept in the cathedral. See the life of Saint Marcellus by Fortunatus, published by Surius.

MLA Citation

  • Father Alban Butler. “Saint Marcellus, Bishop of Paris, Confessor”. Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and Principal Saints, 1866. CatholicSaints.Info. 1 November 2013. Web. 21 March 2019. <>