Short Lives of the Saints – Saint Melchiades, Pope

detail of a bas-relief portrait medallion of Pope Saint Miltiades, date and artist unknown; Saint Peter's Basilica, Rome, ItalyEntry

Saint Melchiades, or Miltiades, succeeded Eusebius in the see of Rome on July 2, 311, in the reign of Maxentius. The following year marked the victory of Constantine over that tyrant, and the free exercise of the Christian refigion was the result of the great emperor’s installation. But though this rejoiced the heart of Pope Melchiades, he had the affliction to see the seamless robe of Christ rent by the schism of the Donatists in Africa. The schismatics made an appeal to Constantine, but he wisely referred all to the Sovereign Pontiff and his bishops. Saint Melchiades opened a council in the Lateran Palace on October 2, 313, at which Donatus of Casa-nigra, leader of the schism, was the only person condemned, the other bishops who adhered to him being allowed to retain their sees upon renouncing the schism. The holy Pontiff died on January 10, 314; and although the Donatists endeavored after his death to asperse his memory, Saint Austin declares their scandalous charge to be a groundless and malicious calumny.

A name and a fame above the blight
  Of earthly breath;
Beautiful, beautiful and bright,
  In life and death.
    – Mrs. Hemans

Favorite Practice – To love the sinner whilst you zealously hate the sin.

MLA Citation

  • Eleanor Cecilia Donnelly. “Saint Melchiades, Pope”. Short Lives of the Saints, 1910. CatholicSaints.Info. 26 April 2021. Web. 25 September 2021. <>