ST. MARCELLUS, BISHOP OF PARIS, C.
HE was born at Paris in the fourth age, of parents
not conspicuous for any rank in the world, but on whom his virtue
reflected the greatest honor. Purity of heart, modesty, meekness,
mortification, and charity, were the ingredients of his character in
his youth; and he gave himself entirely to the discipline of virtue
and prayer, so as to seem, while he lived in the flesh disengaged
both from the world and the flesh, says the author of his life. The
uncommon gravity of his manners, and his progress in sacred learning
so strongly recommended him to Prudentius, bishop of Paris, that when
he was yet young this prelate ordained him reader of that church.
From this tune the saint is said to have given frequent proofs of a
wonderful gift of miracles. He was afterwards promoted to the dignity
of priesthood, and upon the decease of Prudentius was unanimously
chosen bishop of Paris. As he undertook this charge by compulsion and
with trembling, so a just apprehension of its obligations made him
always humble, watchful, and indefatigable in all his functions. It
is related that among other miracles he freed the country from a
great serpent which inhabited the sepulchre of an adulteress. But the
circumstances of this action depend upon the authority of one who
wrote near two hundred years after the time, and who, being a
foreigner, took them upon trust, and probably upon popular reports.
The saint died in the beginning of the fifth century, on the 1st of
November, on which day he is named in the Roman Martyrology, though
in the Gallican his feast is deferred to the 3d. His body was buried
about a quarter of a league from Paris, in a village which is now
joined to the town, and called the suburb of St. Marceau. His relics
have been long since kept in the cathedral. See the life of St.
Marcellus by Fortunatus,* published by Surius.