Miltiades of Rome

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Our father among the saints Miltiades of Rome, also called Melchiades (Greek: Μελχιάδης ὁ Ἀφρικανός ), was the bishop of the Church of Rome from 311 to 314. His episcopate marked the end of the church's persecutions under the Roman emperors and the advent of the Christian emperor, Constantine the Great. His feast day is December 10.

Life

The early life of Miltiades is largely unknown. He apparently was a Berber from Africa. He was elected bishop of Rome after the cathedra had been vacant ten and a half months, since the death of Bishop Eusebius who had been banished by Western Roman emperor Maxentius to Sicily for involvement in factional violence within the church in Rome. Bp. Miltiades' episcopate began on July 2, 311.

At the time Bp. Miltiades began his episcopate, Galerius and his co-emperors issued a decree of toleration giving the Christians the legal right to practice their faith. After the defeat of Maxentius by emperor Constantine in October 312, Constantine took control of Rome. With the issuance of the Edict of Milan in 313, the Church began the recovery of church property that the state had confiscated during the persecutions. Also, Constantine presented the bishop with the Lateran Palace that came to be the papal residence and seat of church governance in Italy.

On October 2, 313, Bp. Miltiades convened a synod of eighteen bishops from Gaul and Italy at the Lateran Palace to consider the election of bishops for the African churches that were in the midst of the Donatist controversy. After three days considering the matter, the synod elected and consecrated Caecilian as the legitimate bishop of Carthage and declared Donatism to be heretical, an important decision during the Donatist controversy.

Bp. Miltiades reposed on January 10, 314 and was buried in the Catacomb of Callixtus. His veneration as a saint began shortly after his death. He was already commemorated as a saint on January 10 later in the fourth century.

Succession box:
Miltiades of Rome
Preceded by:
Eusebius
Bishop of Rome
311-314
Succeeded by:
Sylvester I
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