St. Eusebius - Bringing Back The Fallen

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The man chosen to succeed St. Marcellus was a Greek priest named Eusebius.

Except that he was the son of a doctor, nothing is known of his early life. There is some confusion about the date of his reign. He seems to have ruled the Church for only four months from April to August, but whether it was in the year 309 or 310 is uncertain.

It was a troubled community that Eusebius was called upon to rule. The same situation which led to the exile of Pope Marcellus still prevailed. The fight over readmission of fallen Christians to the fold still raged on. Under the circumstances it is not surprising that the election of a new pope was bitterly contested. Pope Eusebius determined to follow the same sane policy of Pope Marcellus. He would readmit the fallen brethren, but only after due penance. The storm increased. The malcontents went so far as to choose an antipope, a man named Heraclius. Once more matters came to the point of open strife. Once more Emperor Maxentius intervened. But this time he exiled pope and antipope alike.

Eusebius was sent to Sicily where he died shortly after. Like Marcellus he is honored as a saint and a martyr. His feast is kept on September 26.

Excerpted from "Popes Through the Ages" by Joseph Brusher, S.J.

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