MARCELLUS, bishop of Ancyra (d. c. 374)

A supporter of the HOMOOUSION concept and contender against the Arians at the in 325. Nonetheless, he was deposed for heterodoxy in his of the Arian Asterius, probably in 336. He taught that the Son was merely a manifestation of the Father, with no independent personality. When the works of creation and redemption were completed, the Son would be subsumed again in the Father. This doctrine, for which Marcellus incurred the enduring wrath of the Eusebians, combined elements of the teachings of both Paul of Samosata and Sabellius.

Marcellus was restored to his see in 337 at the of CONSTANTINE, but removed again in 339. The evidence suggests that he did not regain the see thereafter, despite the fact that in a council of Western bishops held in Rome in late 340 or in 341, Marcellus was accepted as lawful bishop of Ancyra; and again at another council in 342 or 343 in Sardica, the Western bishops asserted the orthodoxy of Marcellus. However, the Eastern bishops, who had walked out of the council, convened in nearby Philippopolis and renewed their anathema and his supporters.


  • Cross, F. L., ed. “Marcellus.” In ODCC. London, 1957.
  • Foulkes, E. S. “Marcellus (4).” In DCB, Vol. 3, pp. 808-813. New York, 1974.
  • Frend, W. H. C. The Rise of Christianity. Philadelphia, 1984.