Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ID
ER 1353
Macarius, presbyter in Rome, refuses to enter the communion with the bishops who during the reign of Constantius II complied with the Arian formulation of faith, but afterwards adhered anew to the Nicene party, ca AD 366/368. He is persecuted by Bishop Damasus of Rome and exiled dies in Ostia. Account of Libellus precum written in Constantinople by the Roman presbyters Faustinus and Marcellinus, ca AD 383/384, included in the Collectio Avellana compiled in the second half of the 6th c.
The Roman presbyters Faustinus and Marcellinus write to the emperors Valentinian, Theodosius, and Arcadius in defence of the Nicene bishops who refuse to enter the communion with the bishops who during the reign of Constantius signed the Arian creeds at the councils of Rimini and Seleucia (for the full summary of the Libellus precum see [1342]. They give account of the persecutions the latter inflicted on the faithful clerics, first the presbyter Vincentius from Baetica in Spain [1351], then the presbyter Bonosus of Trier [1352]. Then they continue on the situation in Rome - they mention the Luciferian bishop, Aurelius. Then follows the story of the presbyter Macarius:
 
78. In Macarium uero presbyterum multa impiorum commissa sunt. Hic erat in eadem urbe Roma presbyter mirae continentiae, non uino stomachum releuans, non carnis esculentia corpus curans, sed oleo solo escas asperiores mitigans, ieiuniis et orationibus uacans. Sane, pro merito fidei et abstinentia, habebat gratiam sancti Spiritus in hoc ut de obsessis corporibus eiceret daemonia. Ideo uitam eius meritumque memorauimus ut tanto magis impii iudicentur hi qui tales uiuere non sinunt in Romano imperio. (XXII) 79. Eodem tempore grauis aduersum nostros persecutio inhorruerat, infestante Damaso egregio archiepiscopo, ita ut fidelibus sacerdotibus per diem sacros plebis coetus ad deseruiendum Christo Deo conuocare libere non liceret. Sed quia pro conditione rerum quolibet tempore uel clam salutis nostrae sacramenta facienda sunt, idem sanctus presbyter Macarius dat uigilias, in quadam domo conuocans fraternitatem, ut, uel noctu, diuinis lectionibus fidem plebs sancta roboraret. 80. Sed diabolus, qui fauet impiis, quia et impii fauent diabolo, nec in occulto patitur diuina sacramenta celebrari. Denique tendunt insidias clerici Damasi et, ubi cognouerunt quod sacras uigilias celebrat cum plebe presbyter Macarius, irruunt cum officialibus in illam domum et plebem dissipant non resistentem ipsumque presbyterum comprehensum non iam ducere dignantur sed per silices trahunt, ita ut in coxa eius perniciosum uulnus fieret, atque alio die sistunt eum ante iudicem ut magni criminis reum. 81. Cui quidem iudex, ueluti sub imperiali rescripto, et minis extorquere contendit ut cum Damaso conueniat. Sed presbyter, memor diuini iudicii, praesentem iudicem non timens reppulit perfidi communionem atque ideo datur in exilium et, cum est apud Ostiam, atrocitate illius uulneris moritur. 82. Cuius quidem tanta fuit sanctitas ut eum etiam episcopus loci illius, nomine Florentius, communicans Damaso, cum quadam ueneratione suspexerit. Namque cum in quodam uetusto monumento eum fratres sepelissent, non est passus idem Florentius iacere eum illic ubi indigna sepultura uideretur, sed transfert eum inde et sepelit in basilica martyris Asterii, ubi in loco presbyterii qui <est> iuxta sepulturam. Hoc pio suo obsequio, in quantum poterat, Damasi scelus a se facere contendebat alienum.
 
(ed. A. Canellis 2006: 180, 182, 184, 186)
The Roman presbyters Faustinus and Marcellinus write to the emperors Valentinian, Theodosius, and Arcadius in defence of the Nicene bishops who refuse to enter the communion with the bishops who during the reign of Constantius signed the Arian creeds at the councils of Rimini and Seleucia (for the full summary of the Libellus precum see [1342]. They give account of the persecutions the latter inflicted on the faithful clerics, first the presbyter Vincentius from Baetica in Spain [1351], then the presbyter Bonosus of Trier [1352]. Then they continue on the situation in Rome - they mention the Luciferian bishop, Aurelius. Then follows the story of the presbyter Macarius:
 
78. Many impious things were commited towards the presbyter Macarius. He was a presbyter of extraordinary continence in the same city of Rome, he did not refresh his stomach with wine nor sustained his body with food, but he only ate dry meals softened with oil, and devoted himself to fasts and prayers. Truly, for the merit of faith and because of his abstinence, he had a grace of the Holy Spirit that allowed him to expel demons from the possessed bodies. We have reminded his life and virtue to show how impious are the people who do not let such persons to live in the Roman empire. (XXII) 79. In the same time, at the instigation of the excellent archbishop Damasus so serious persecution raged against our people that it was not allowed to the faithful priests to convoke freely the holy gatherings of people to serve Christ, our God, during the day. Due to these considering the circumstances, the mysteries of our salvation had to be celebrated on anytime and even secretly, this holy presbyter Macarius organized the vigils, summoned the brothers in a given house in order to, even at night, encourage the holy people with the divine lectures. 80. But the devil, who favours the impious, because the impious favour the devil, could not bear that the divine mysteries are celebrated, even in secret. For this reason, the clerics of Damasus laid an ambush, and when they found out where the presbyter Macarius celebrated the holy vigils with the people, they invaded this house with the officials, they dispersed the people who did not resist, and they did not condescend to simply detain, but they dragged him on the stones so that he incurred a dangerous wound in his hip. Next day they brought him to the judge as someone guilty of a great crime. 81. The judge, as it was a case of the imperial rescript, forced him with menaces to agree with Damasus. But the presbyter, having in mind the divine judgement, was not afraid of the worldly judge and refused to communicate with the unfaithful, and hence, was exiled and, when he was in Ostia, he died because of the severity of the wound. 82. His sanctity was so great that even the bishop of this place, named Florentius, who was in the communion with Damasus, looked at him with some veneration. And when the brothers buried [Macarius] in an old tomb, Florentius did not bear that he lay in a place he considered to be unworthy for his sepulchre, he transferred him from there and buried in the basilica of the martyr Asterius, in the sanctuary of the church near the tomb [of the martyr]. In this pious achievement Florentius tried to distance himself from the crime of Damasus as it was possible.
 
(trans. M. Szada)

Discussion:

Martyrologium Hieronymianum notes the feast of Asterius in Ostia on 19 October (Quentin, Delehaye 1931: 562; according to the Gesta Callisti Asterius was thrown to Tiber on 14 October, his body was found 20 October in Ostia, and buried on 21 October).
 
The phrase in loco presbyterii qui iuxta sepulturam is corrupted. Canellis corrected it by adding est between qui and sepulturam, and according her text, Macarius was buried in the sanctuary near the tomb of the martyr. Günther (1895: 29) obelized the phrase, but in the critical apparatus conjectured: in loco presbyterii iustam sepulturam, it would mean that he provided a "just", worthy tomb in the church instead of the unworthy (indignus) burial in the old tomb.
 

Place of event:

Region
  • Rome
City
  • Ostia

About the source:

Author: Faustinus et Marcellinus
Title: Libellus precum, Collectio Avellana
Origin: Constantinople (East)
Denomination: Catholic/Nicene/Chalcedonian
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 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.
 
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:

Food/Clothes/Housing - Food and drink
Described by a title - Presbyter/πρεσβύτερος
Described by a title - Clericus
    Fame of sanctity
    Ritual activity - Exorcism
    Public law - Secular
    Reverenced by
    Disrespected by
    Relation with - Bishop/Monastic superior
    Administration of justice - Secular
    Administration of justice - Exile
    Conflict - Violence
    Devotion - Veneration of saints and relics
      Devotion - Vigils
      Devotion - Fasting
      Devotion - Ascetic practice
      Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: M. Szada, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER1353, http://www.presbytersproject.ihuw.pl/index.php?id=6&SourceID=1353