Marcellina (fl. 4th c.)

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article Share Article
views updated

Marcellina (fl. 4th c.)

Saint . Flourished during the 4th century; daughter of the praetorian prefect of the Gauls; sister of Satyrus and Saint Ambrose. Her feast day is July 17.

Upon the death of her father, the praetorian prefect of the Gauls, Marcellina is believed to have returned to Rome with her mother and her two brothers, one of whom, Ambrose, would become a well-known saint. In 335, on the feast of the Epiphany, Marcellina received the virgin's veil in the Church of St. Peter, at which time Pope Liberius counseled her to serve Christ courageously. The pope cited the story of the Alexandrian page who, not wanting to disrupt a pagan ceremony, allowed the wax, dripping from the candle he held, to burn his hand to the bone rather than shake it off and cause a disruption. Marcellina's brother Ambrose was extremely supportive of her religious life, leaving her the income from all his lands so as to distance her from worldly affairs, and encouraging her monastic virtues in the treatise De Virginibus (c. 376), which he addressed to her. Marcellina remained close to Ambrose, corresponding with him frequently and relying on him to counsel her through difficult periods. She led an exemplary cloistered life, outliving both of her brothers.