Caecilian is the name of several saints.
1. Jerome says that Cyprian was converted "sua-dente presbytero Caecilio," etc., a statement that has probably influenced most editors to substitute Caecilius for Caecilianus in the texts of the Life of Cyprian, by his own deacon, Pontius. Caecilianus is, doubtless, correct. He was cetate as well as honore presbyter, and Cyprian, as a deacon, probably lived with him, reverencing him greatly "as the father of his new life." He appears afterwards as venerabilis sacerdos (Bolland, Acta Sanctorum, Jun. 1, p. 264), and was inserted as Sanctus Ccecilius in the Roman martyrology (June 3) by Gregory XIII (see Morcelli, Afr. Christiana, ii, 76).
2. An ecclesiastic who was first archdeacon, then (A.D. 311) bishop, of Carthage. When archdeacon, he resolutely supported his bishop, Mensurius (q.v.), in opposing the fanatical craving for martyrdom. When nominated as his successor this was remembered against him, and a party, headed by a wealthy but superstitious lady, Lucilla, prepared to fill the vacant see. Csecilian's party hastened matters; the election took place, and Caecilialn was consecrated by Felix, bishop of Aptunga. Secundus, primate of Numidia and bishop of Tigisis, was shortly invited to Carthage by the opposing party. He came, attended by seventy bishops, and cited Caecilian before them. Caecilian declined to appear, but professed his willingness to satisfy them on all personal matters, and offered to lay down his episcopal office and submit to re-ordination at their hands. Secundus and the Numidian bishops answered by excommunicating him, and ordaining Majorinus, a member of Lucilla's household, as bishop. In the resultant schism, Constantine took sides with the Caecilianists, and a council was called in the Lateran, Rome, A.D. 313. The personal charges against Caecilian were examined and dismissed, and his party proclaimed the representatives of the orthodox Catholic. Caecilian proposed a compromise, but his advances were rejected. A council was called at Aries, A.D. 314, which confirmed the validity of the ordination of Caecilian. This was endorsed by Constantine, Milan, A.D. 316. Cecilian lived until about A.D. 345.
3. A martyr with others at Csesaraugusta (Saragossa), under Datianus, the praeses of Spain. His natalis was April 16 (see Usuard, Mart.).
4. A martyr at Carthage with Dativus A.D. 304. SEE CECILIA, 2, above.