Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 658
Macrobius, a presbyter from Africa and an author of the treatise "To confessors and virgins", becomes a Donatist bishop of Rome, ca AD 350-375. Account in the "Lives of Illustrious Men" by Gennadius of Marseille, writing in Marseille (Gaul), ca AD 490.
MACROBIUS presbyter, et ipse, ut ex scriptis Optati cognovi, Donatianorum postea in urbe Roma occultus episcopus fuit. Scripsit, cum adhuc in ecclesia Dei presbyter esset, Ad confessores et virgines librum moralis quidem sed valde necessariae doctrinae et praecipue ad custodiendum castitatem aptissimis valde sententiis communitum. Claruit inter nostros primum Africae et inter suos, id est, Donatianos sive Montenses, postea Romae.
(ed. E. Cushing Richardson 1896)
Macrobius the presbyter and afterwards, as I have learned from the writings of Optatus, secret bishop of the Donatists in the city of Rome. He wrote, having been up to this time a presbyter in the church of God, a work To confessors and virgins, indeed a work of ethics, but also of very doctrinal value, and fortified with sentiments well fitted for the preservation of chastity. He was distinguished first among our [brothers] in Africa and afterwards among his own, that is the Donatists or Montenses, and later at Rome.
(trans. by E. Cushing Richardson, changed by J. Szafranowski)


It is still uncertain if Gennadius took by mistake two Macrobiuses as one, or if indeed the later Donatist bishop of Rome was earlier an author of the "To confessors and virgins". Unfortunately, this work did not survive to our times; it was also proven that this work cannot be identified with Cyprian's De singularitate clericorum, as suggested by Harnack. One thing is certain: the Macrobius (or Macrobiuses) described by Gennadius cannot be mistaken with Macrobius, bishop of Hippona, known to us from Augustinus' letters (Epp. 106-108), and with another namesake of his, the famous author of Saturnalia.

Place of event:

  • Rome
  • Latin North Africa
  • Rome

About the source:

Author: Gennadius of Marseille
Title: De viris illustribus, Lives of Illustrious Men, De viris inlustribus, On the lives of famous men On the Lives of Famous Men On the Lives of Famous Men
Origin: Marseille (Gaul)
Denomination: Catholic/Nicene/Chalcedonian
The "Lives of Illustrious Men" by Gennadius of Marseille is the continuation of Jerome`s work bearing the same title. It contains 99 additional additional entries on different famous ecclesiestatics. It was written in the end of 5th century. At one point Gennadius writes that the death of presbyter and monk Theodore (Theodulus) of Coelesyria  occured `three years ago, in the reign of Zeno` (died AD 491). Gennadius also knows that pope Gelasius died (AD 496) and Julianus Pomerius is considered alive (d. AD 498). Therefore, Gennadius composed majority of his work most probably in the first half of the 490s.
E. Cushing Richardson ed., Hieronymus liber De viris inlustribus; Gennadius liber De viris inlustribus, Leipzig 1896, 57-97.


Religious grouping (other than Catholic/Nicene/Chalcedonian) - Donatist
Change of denomination
Further ecclesiastical career - Bishop
Described by a title - Presbyter/πρεσβύτερος
Writing activity
Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: J. Szafranowski, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER658,