Ordinary Time: January 16th
Thursday of the First Week of Ordinary Time
Old Calendar: St. Marcellus, pope and martyr
According to the 1962 Missal of Bl. John XXIII the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, today is the feast of St. Marcellus who was elected Pope just at the time when Diocletian had spent somewhat his first violence against the Church. In Rome he reorganized the Catholic hierarchy disrupted by the persecution. Before the reform of the Roman Calendar this was the feast of St. Marcellus, pope and martyr.
Diocletian's terrible persecution had taken its toll. It was reported that within a period of thirty days, sixteen thousand Christians were martyred. The Church in Rome was left scattered and disorganized, and the Holy See remained vacant for over two years. It wasn't until the ascension of Emperor Maxentius and his policy of toleration that a pope could be chosen. Marcellus, a Roman priest during the reign of Marcellinus, was elected.
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