Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ID
ER 1342
Marcellinus and Faustinus, the Luciferian presbyters from Rome, write a letter to the emperors Valentinian, Theodosius, and Arcadius asking for protection against some representatives of the Nicene episcopacy that persecute the Luciferians. The so-called "Libellus precum" written in AD 383/4 included in the Collectio Avellana, compiled in the second half of the 6th c.
Summary
 
I (1-2) The presbyters Marcellinus and Faustinus ask the emperors Valentinian, Theodosius, and Arcadius to hear them out, though they are not as powerful as their enemies.
II (3-4) The presbyters are persecuted by the people claiming to be Catholics who undeservedly accuse them of heresy.
III (5-8) They present the impiety of the Arian heresy, recall some events of the Arian controversy and the fate of Arius.
IV (9-11) The death of Arius is a clear sign of his condemantion, and the condemnation deserved for all the supporters of Arianism. They shall be separated from all the true Catholics that suffered persecution from them.
IV-VI (12-19) The events from the reign of Constantius, the councils of Seleucia and Rimini. The bishops gathered in Rimini sign the un-Nicene creed out of fear of the emperor.
VII (20-27) The fate of the Nicenes who remained faithful: exiles of Paulinus of Trier, Lucifer of Cagliari, Eusebius of Vercelli, Denis of Milan, Rodanius of Toulouse, Hilary of Poitiers, Maximus of Naples, and the death of Rufininus (of unknown see in Italy).
VIII (28-31) The majority of bishops defected; they are called "prevaricatores", and their fault is equal to the fault of lapsi during the pagan persecutions. They will be punished like Arius.
IX (32) The defection of Potamius of Lisbon and Ossius of Cordoba.
X-XI (33-41) The story of confrontation between Ossius of Cordoba and Gregory of Elvira.
XI (41-42) The death of Potamius of Lisbon interpreted as the judgement of God.
XI (43-44) Florentius, bishop of Merida dies because he entered the communion with Ossius and Potamius.
XI-XII (45-47) Other "prevaricatores" shall also be afraid of the divine judgment.
XII-XIII (48-50) The Arians in the East and in Egypt dare even to reordinate former Catholics.
XIV-XV (51-60) The end of the reign of the Arian emperor Constantius, restoration of the Nicene domination during the reign of Julian and Jovian. The bishops who formerly adhered to the Arian option opportunistically join the Nicene one; Marcellinus and Faustinus express anger that the "prevaricatores" are admitted to the communion without proper punishment.
XVI (61-65) The story of Zosimus, bishop of Naples, who replaced the exiled Nicene bishop Maximus. He is miraculously punished by dumness, and hence, is forced to resign from his office.
XVI (66-67) An attitude of the Arian emperor Valens toward the "prevaricatores", and his justified, though improper, respect toward the "heretical", but constant in their  opinions, bishops.
XVIII-XIX (68-72) Now, during the reign of Valentinian, Theodosius, and Arcadius, the situation continues without the knowledge and consent of the emperors. The Biblical justification of punishment deserved by the "prevaricatores", especially that they have been persecuted the Catholics.
XX-XXI (73-76) The story of the presbyter Vincentius persecuted in Spain, see [1351].
XXI (77) The story of the presbyter Bonosus persecuted in Trier, see [1352].
XXI-XXIV (78-85) The Luciferians persecuted in Rome by Bishop Damasus, among them the presbyter Macarius see [1353].
XXIV-XXV (86-91) The apology of Lucifer of Cagliari. The group injustly called the "Luciferians" is not heretical at all.
XXVI-XXVIII (92-101) The account of the schism in Oxyrhynchus.
XXIX (102) The story of the virgin Hermiona in Eleutheropolis in Palestine.
XXIX-XXX (103-106) The fate of Ephesius, bishop of Rome exiled by Damasus, in the East.
XXX-XXXI (107-110) The persecution led by Bishop Turbo in Eleutheropolis.
XXXI-XXXIV (110-123) The appeal to the emperors for the justice, the recapitulation of the whole letter. The direct address to the Emperor Theodosius.
 
124. Ego Marcellinus presbyter, optans felicissimo imperio uestro securam quietem et in regno Christi et Dei perpetuam beatitudinem, piissimi imperatores.
   Ego Faustinus, qui non possum dignus uocari presbyter Dei, optans ut et hic multos annos clementissime diuinitatis auxilio feliciter imperetis et in futuro Christi Filii Dei regno perpetuam cum sanctis beatitudinem consequamini, gloriosissimi imperatores.
 
(ed. A. Canellis 2006: 102-236 with the French translation; summary M. Szada)
Summary
 
I (1-2) The presbyters Marcellinus and Faustinus ask the emperors Valentinian, Theodosius, and Arcadius to hear them oaut, although they are not as powerful as their enemies.
II (3-4) The presbyters are persecuted by the people claiming to be Catholics who undeservedly accuse them of heresy.
III (5-8) They present the impiety of the Arian heresy, recall some events of the Arian controversy and the fate of Arius. IV (9-11) The death of Arius is a clear sign of his condemantion, and the condemnation deserved for all the supporters of Arianism. They shall be separated from all the true Catholics that suffered persecution from them.
IV-VI (12-19) The events from the reign of Constantius, the councils of Seleucia and Rimini. The bishops gathered in Rimini sign the un-Nicene creed out of fear of the emperor.
VII (20-27) The fate of the Nicenes who remained faithful: exiles of Paulinus of Trier, Lucifer of Cagliari, Eusebius of Vercelli, Dennis of Milan, Rodanius of Toulouse, Hilary of Poitiers, Maximus of Naples, and the death of Rufinus (of unknown see in Italy).
VIII (28-31) The majority of bishops defected; they are called "prevaricatores", and their fault is equal to the fault of lapsi during the pagan persecutions. They will be punished like Arius.
IX (32) The defection of Potamius of Lisbon and Ossius of Cordoba.
X-XI (33-41) The story of confrontation between Ossius of Cordoba and Gregory of Elvira.
XI (41-42) The death of Potamius of Lisbon interpreted as the judgement of God.
XI (43-44) Florentius, bishop of Merida dies because he entered the communion with Ossius and Potamius. XI-XII (45-47) Other "prevaricatores" shall also be afraid of the divine judgment.
XII-XIII (48-50) The Arians in the East and in Egypt dare even to reordinate the former Catholics.
XIV-XV (51-60) The end of the reign of the Arian emperor Constantius, restoration of the Nicene domination during the reign of Julian and Jovian. The bishops who formerly adhered to the Arian option opportunistically join the Nicene one; Marcellinus and Faustinus express anger that the "prevaricatores" are admitted to the communion without proper punishment.
XVI (61-65) The story of Zosimus, bishop of Naples, who replaced the exiled Nicene bishop Maximus. He is miraculously punished by the lost of speech, and hence, is forced to resign from his office.
XVI (66-67) An attitude of the Arian emperor Valens toward the "prevaricatores", and his justified (though improper) respect toward the "heretical", but constant in its opinions, bishops.
XVIII-XIX (68-72) Now, during the reign of Valentinian, Theodosius, and Arcadius, the situation continues, according to the authors, without the knowledge and consent of the emperors. The Biblical justification of punishment deserved by the "prevaricatores", especially that they have been persecuted the Catholics.
XX-XXI (73-76) The story of the presbyter Vincentius persecuted in Spain, see .
XXI (77) The story of the presbyter Bonosus persecuted in Trier, see.
XXI-XXIV (78-85) The Luciferians persecuted in Rome by Bishop Damasus, among them the presbyter Macarius see.
XXIV-XXV (86-91) The apology of Lucifer of Cagliari. The group injustly called the "Luciferians" is not heretical at all.
XXVI-XXVIII (92-101) The account of the schism in Oxyrynchus.
XXIX (102) The story of the virgin Hermiona in Eleutheropolis in Palestine.
XXIX-XXX (103-106) The fate of Ephesius, bishop of Rome exiled by Damasus, in the East.
XXX-XXXI (107-110) The persecution led by Bishop Turbo in Eleutheropolis.
XXXI-XXXIV (110-123) The appeal to the emperors for the justice, the recapitulation of the whole letter. The direct address to Emperor Theodosius.
 
124. I, Marcellinus presbyter, wish your most blessed imperiousness the secure quiteness and perpetual happiness in the kingdom of Christ, oh the most pious emperors!
   I, Faustinus who is not worthy to be called the presbyter of God, wish you, the most glorious emperors, that you rule now for the many years with the help of the most clement divinity and that you will enter with the saints the perpetual happiness in the future kingdom of Christ, the Son of God.
 
(trans. M. Szada)

Discussion:

Marcellinus and Faustinus were presbyters in Rome who belonged to the party of the intransigent Nicenes and followers of Bishop Lucifer of Cagliari. The bishop was exiled during the Arian controversy, and after being revoked from the exile he refused to enter the communion with the bishops who complied with the Arian creeds during the reign of Constantius (councils in Rimini and Seleucia). The mainstream Nicenes, especially in Rome, denigrated the attitude of Lucifer and his supporters, and attempted to portray it as schismatic or even heretic, and hence use the imperial law against schismatics and heretics to persecute the "Luciferian" party (Canellis 2006: 15-65, Pérez Mas 2008, Simonetti 1963). Thus, the presbyters, Marcellinus and Faustinus, exiled from Rome by Bishop Damasus, and staying in AD 383 in Constantinople, submitted the petition to the emperor in order to claim their orthodoxy, and ask for protection.

Place of event:

Region
  • Rome
  • East
  • Iberian Peninsula
  • Gaul
City
  • Eleutheropolis
  • Oxyrynchos
  • Constantinople
  • Trier

About the source:

Author: Marcellinus and Faustinus
Title: Collectio Avellana, Libellus precum
Origin: Iberian Peninsula
Denomination: Catholic/Nicene/Chalcedonian
The letter of the presbyters Marcellinus and Faustinus is a formal petition (preces, libellus, supplicatio) submitted to the emperor. The submission of such petition launches a procedure per rescriptum (for a detailed discussion see Wesener 1965). The case was judged by the emperor, and his decision was redacted by the imperial bureaus. It was a rescriptum that had a force of law. We have the rescript in response to the Libellus precum of Marcellinus and Faustinus, see [1387].
 
The Libellus precum survived as a part of the Collectio Avellana (for a detailed discussion on the manuscripts see Canellis 2006: 66-83), a collection containing 244 letters issued by emperors, imperial magistrates and popes. The earliest item is dated to AD 367, the latest to AD 553. Hence, the compilator worked most probably in the second half of the 6th century. Two hundred documents of the Collectio are not known from any other collection. The editor of the Collectio, Günther noticed that it can be divided into five thematic parts (Günther 1896: 3-96; Steinacker 1902: 14-15; Blaudeau 2013: 4):
1) no. 1-40 is an independent collection making use of the records of the prefecture of the city of Rome concerning two episcopal elections;
2) no. 41-50  are derived from the records of the bishopric of Carthage, and consist of the letters of Innocentius I and Zosimus;
3) no. 51-55 are the late letters of Leo I, not known from any other source, regarding the exile of Bishop Timothy II of Alexandria;
4) no. 56-104 is the group of letters from the pontificates of Simplicius, Gelasius, Symmachus, John, Agapet, and Vigilius;
5) no. 105-243 are the letters from the records of Pope Hormisdas.
 
The modern name of the collection derives from the codex Vaticanus Latinus 4961 copied in the monastery Sancti Crucis in fonte Avellana that was considered the oldest by the brothers Ballerini who edited the Collectio in 1787.
Edition:
A. Canellis ed., Faustinus (and Marcellinus), Supplique aux empereurs (Libellus precum et Lex augusta) précéde de Confession de foi, Sources Chrétiennes 504, Paris 2006
O. Guenther ed., Epistolae Imperatorum Pontificum Aliorum Inde ab a. CCCLXVII usque DLIII datae Avellana Quae Dicitur Collectio, Corpus Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Latinorum 35/1, 35/2, Prague, Vienna, and Leipzig 1895
Bibliography:
K. Blair-Dixon, "Memory and authority in sixth-century Rome: the Liber Pontificalis and the Collectio Avellana”, [in :] Religion, dynasty, and patronage in early Christian Rome, 300-900, ed. K. Cooper, J. Hillner, Cambridge 2007, 59–76.
P. Blaudeau, "Un point de contact entre collectio Avellana et collectio Thessalonicensis?”, Millennium Yearbook / Millenium Jahrbuch 10 (2013), 1–12.
A. Canellis, "Introduction”, [in :] Faustinus et Marcellinus, Supplique aux empereurs (Libellus precum et Lex augusta), ed. A. Canellis, Paris 2006, 11–99.
J. Fernández Ubiña, "El Libellus Precum y los conflictos religiosos en la Hispania de Teodosio”, Florilegia Illiberitana 8 (1997), 103–123.
O. Günther, Avellana-Studien, Wien 1896.
J. Pérez Mas, La crisis luciferiana. Un intento de reconstrucción histórica, Roma 2008.
M. Simonetti, "Appunti per una storia dello scisma luciferiano”, [in :] Atti del Convegno di studi religiosi sardi, Padova 1963, 70–81.
H. Steinacker, "Ueber das älteste päpstliche Registerwesen”, Mitteilungen des Instituts für Österreichische Geschichtsforschung 23 (1902), 1–49.
G. Wesener, "Reskriptprozess", Paulys Realencyclopädie der Classischen Altertumswissenschaft, Supplementband X, Stuttgart 1965, col. 865-871.

Categories:

Writing activity - Correspondence
Described by a title - Presbyter/πρεσβύτερος
Relation with - Monarch and royal/imperial family
Legal practice
Religious grouping (other than Catholic/Nicene/Chalcedonian) - Luciferian
Education - Theological interest
Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: M. Szada, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER1342, http://www.presbytersproject.ihuw.pl/index.php?id=6&SourceID=1342