Marcellus was born in Rome in 255 AD and died there on 16 January 309 AD.
During his lifetime there were fierce battles and persecutions against the Church by Emperor Diocletian. These did not come to an end until 313 with the reign of Constantine.
He was bishop in Rome from May 307 to 309. He succeeded Marcellinus after the longest sedis vacancy in the history of the Papacy, which lasted four years.
He took on the task of reorganizing and rebuilding the Church after its destruction in the Diocletian persecution of Christians.
According to tradition, he had the predecessor of today’s Church of San Marcello al Corso in Rome built. The Liber Pontificalis also reports on the establishment of 25 title churches by him.
Because he advocated strict punishments for apostate Christians during persecutions, he was banished from Rome in 309 under Emperor Maxentius due to tumults.
Legends tell that he was expelled from the city and used to guard horses of the post office in the emperor’s stables. Therefore, the church of San Marcello al Corso, allegedly built by Marcellus, stands on the site where the central Roman post-horse station used to be.
He died the same year and was buried in the Calixtus catacomb. The bones of the bishop are now venerated under the high altar in the Church of San Marcello al Corso in Rome.
He is depicted with the attributes donkey and crib and is the patron saint of the grooms.
Saint Marcellus altar in San Marcello al Corso (Rome)
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