Pope Miltiades

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Pope Saint
Pope Miltiades.jpg
Papacy began 2 July 311
Papacy ended 10 January 314
Predecessor Eusebius
Successor Sylvester I
Personal details
Birth name Miltiades (or Melchiades)
Born North Africa
Died 10 January 314
Rome, Western Roman Empire
Feast day 10 January
Papal styles of
Pope Miltiades
Emblem of the Papacy SE.svg
Reference style His Holiness
Spoken style Your Holiness
Religious style Holy Father
Posthumous style Saint

Pope Miltiades, or Melchiades (Greek: Ο Άγιος Μιλτιάδης ; Μελχιάδης ὁ Ἀφρικανός; ca. 270 - 10 January 314), was Bishop of Rome from 2 July 311 to his death in 314.[1][2]


According to the Liber Pontificalis, Miltiades was a native of North Africa, [3] ethnically of Berber origin.[4] Miltiades was also a Roman citizen.[5]


His elections marked the end of a period sede vacante lasting from the death of Pope Eusebius on 17 August 310 or, according to others, 309, soon after the Emperor Maxentius had exiled Eusebius to Sicily. The elevation of Miltiades to the papacy most probably occurred in 311.[3]

In April 311, the "Edict of Toleration" was issued in 311 in Serdica (today Sofia, Bulgaria) by the Roman emperor Galerius, officially ending the Diocletianic persecution of Christianity.[6]

In October 312, Constantine defeated Maxentius at the Battle of Milvian Bridge and assumed control over Rome. Later, Constantine presented the pope with the Lateran Palace, which became the papal residence and seat of central Church administration.[7]

Early in 313, Constantine and fellow Emperor Licinius reached an agreement at Milan that they would grant freedom of religion to the Christians and other religions and restore church property.[8]


Later in 313, Miltiades presided over the Lateran Synod in Rome, which acquitted Caecilian of Carthage and condemned Donatus as a schismatic (see Donatism). He was then invited to the Council of Arles but died before it was held.


The Liber Pontificalis, compiled from the 5th century onwards, attributed the introduction of several later customs to Miltiades, including not fasting on Thursdays or Sundays, although subsequent scholarship now believes the customs probably pre-dated Miltiades.

In the 13th century, the feast of Saint Melchiades (as he was then called) was included, with the mistaken qualification of "martyr", in the General Roman Calendar for celebration on 10 December. In 1969, it was removed from that calendar of obligatory liturgical celebrations,[9] and his feast was moved to the day of his death, 10 January, with his name given in the form "Miltiades" and without the indication "martyr".[10]

See also


  1. ^ Annuario Pontificio 2012 (Libreria Editrice Vaticana ISBN 978-88-209-8722-0), p. 8*
  2. ^ Saints For Dummies -Rev. John Trigilio, Jr., Rev. Kenneth Brighenti - 2010 p 109 "Pontificate: AD 311–AD 314 Feast day: December 10 Melchiades was the first pope to see the end of Roman persecution of Christians"
  3. ^ a b Kirsch, Johann Peter. "Pope St. Miltiades." The Catholic Encyclopedia Vol. 10. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. 28 September 2017
  4. ^ Serralda, Vincent; Huard, André (1984). Le Berbère-- lumière de l'Occident (in French). Nouvelles Editions Latines. p. 68. ISBN 9782723302395. 
  5. ^ Richard P. McBrien, Lives of the Popes, (HarperCollins, 2000), 56.
  6. ^ Edward Gibbon (1 January 2008). The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Cosimo, Inc. pp. 132–. ISBN 978-1-60520-122-1. 
  7. ^ Barnes, Arthur. "Saint John Lateran." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 9. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. 16 Jul. 2014
  8. ^ "Emperors Constantine and Licinius: Edict of Milan on the Freedom to Worship for Christianity and Other Religions (313 CE)", Berkeley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs, Georgetown University
  9. ^ Calendarium Romanum (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 1969), p. 148
  10. ^ Martyrologium Romanum (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 2001 ISBN 88-209-7210-7)

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainHerbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Pope St. Miltiades". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton. 

Further reading

  • Leadbetter, Bill (February 2002). "Constantine and the bishop: the Roman church in the early fourth century" (PDF). The Journal of Religious History. 26 (1): 1–14. doi:10.1111/1467-9809.00139. ISSN 1467-9809. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2006-09-24. 

External links

  • Opera Omnia
Titles of the Great Christian Church
Preceded by
Bishop of Rome

Succeeded by
Sylvester I
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