Pope Saint Marcellus I

detail of a the painting 'Gloria di San Marcello'; by Giovanni Battista Ciocchi, date unknown; sacristy ceiling fresco, San Marcello al Corso, Rome, Italy; photographed on 11 November 2005 by antmoose; swiped from Wikimedia Commons; click for source imageAlso known as

  • Marcel



Nothing of his life before the papacy has survived the centuries. Pope at the end of the persecutions of Diocletian; the persecutions had so disrupted the Church that there had been a gap of over a year with no Pope. Faced reconsituting the clergy which had been decimated and whose remnant had practiced their vocation covertly and with the expectation of martyrdom. Worked to recover and welcome back those who had denied the faith to keep from being murdered.

When a group of the apostacized, known as the Lapsi, refused to do penance, Marcellus refused to allow their return to the Church. This group had some political pull, and some caused such civil disruption that Emperor Maxentius exiled the Pope in order to settle the matter. Legend says that Marcellus was forced to work as a stable slave as punishment, but this appears to be fiction. Considered a martyr as he died of the terrible conditions he suffered in exile.

Papal Ascension





Additional Information

MLA Citation

  • “Pope Saint Marcellus I“. CatholicSaints.Info. 30 June 2015. Web. 1 December 2015. <>