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Saint Martin of Tours - November 11

Irapuato
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Saint Martin of Tours (Latin: Sanctus Martinus Turonensis; 316 or 336 – 8 November 397) was the third bishop of Tours. He has become one of the most familiar and recognizable Christian saints in …More
Saint Martin of Tours (Latin: Sanctus Martinus Turonensis; 316 or 336 – 8 November 397) was the third bishop of Tours. He has become one of the most familiar and recognizable Christian saints in Western tradition.
A native of Pannonia, he converted to Christianity at a young age. He served in the Roman cavalry in Gaul, but left military service at some point prior to 361, when he embraced Trinitarianism and became a disciple of Hilary of Poitiers, establishing the monastery at Ligugé. He was consecrated as Bishop of Caesarodunum (Tours) in 371. As bishop, he was active in the suppression of the remnants of Gallo-Roman religion, but he opposed the violent persecution of the Priscillianist sect of ascetics.
His life was recorded by a contemporary hagiographer, Sulpicius Severus. Some of the accounts of his travels may have been interpolated into his vita to validate early sites of his cult. He is best known for the account of his using his military sword to cut his cloak in two, to give half to a beggar clad only in rags in the depth of winter.
His shrine in Tours became a famous stopping-point for pilgrims on the road to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. His cult was revived in French nationalism during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870/1, and as a consequence he was seen as a patron saint of France during the French Third Republic.
Martin was born in AD 316 or 336[3] in Savaria in the Diocese of Pannonia (now Szombathely, Hungary). His father was a senior officer (tribune) in the Roman army. A few years after Martin's birth his father was given veteran status and was allocated land on which to retire at Ticinum (now Pavia), in northern Italy, where Martin grew up.
At the age of ten he attended the Christian church against the wishes of his parents and became a catechumen. Christianity had been made a legal religion (in 313) in the Roman Empire. It had many more adherents in the Eastern Empire, whence it had sprung, and was concentrated in cities, brought along the trade routes by converted Jews and Greeks (the term 'pagan' literally means 'country-dweller'). Christianity was far from accepted amongst the higher echelons of society; among members of the army the worship of Mithras would have been stronger. Although the conversion of the Emperor Constantine and the subsequent programme of church-building gave a greater impetus to the spread of the religion, it was still a minority faith.
As the son of a veteran officer, Martin at fifteen was required to join a cavalry ala. At the age of 18 around 334 or 354, he was stationed at Ambianensium civitas or Samarobriva in Gaul (now Amiens, France). It is likely that he joined the Equites catafractarii Ambianenses, a heavy cavalry unit listed in the Notitia Dignitatum. As the unit was stationed at Milan and is also recorded at Trier, it is likely to have been part of the elite cavalry bodyguard of the Emperor, which accompanied him on his travels around the Empire.
According to his biographer, Sulpicius Severus, he served in the military for only another two years, though it has been argued that these two years, "are in fact not nearly enough to bring the account to the time when he would leave, that is, during his encounter with Caesar Julian (the one who has gone down in history as Julian the Apostate) Martin would have been 45 years old when Julian acceded to the throne, and at the usual end of a military contract. Jacques Fontaine[year needed] thinks that the biographer was somewhat embarrassed about referring to [Martin's] long stint in the army, [because of the perennially tenuous relation between the Christian conscience and war]." Richard A. Fletcher says that Martin served for five years before obtaining a discharge, two of them after his baptism in 354.
Regardless of whether or not he remained in the army, Sulpicius Severus reports that just before a battle in the Gallic provinces at Borbetomagus (now Worms, Germany), Martin determined that his switch of allegiance to a new commanding officer (away from antichristian Julian and unto Christ), along with reluctance to receive Julian's pay just as Martin was retiring, prohibited his taking the money and continuing to submit to the authority of the former now, telling him, "I am the soldier of Christ: it is not lawful for me to fight."He was charged with cowardice and jailed, but in response to the charge, he volunteered to go unarmed to the front of the troops. His superiors planned to take him up on the offer, but before they could, the invaders sued for peace, the battle never occurred, and Martin was released from military service.
Monk and hermit
Martin declared his vocation, and made his way to the city of Caesarodunum (now Tours), where he became a disciple of Hilary of Poitiers, a chief proponent of Trinitarian Christianity. He opposed the Arianism of the Imperial Court. When Hilary was forced into exile from Pictavium (now Poitiers), Martin returned to Italy. According to Sulpicius Severus, he converted an Alpine brigand on the way, and confronted the Devil himself. Having heard in a dream a summons to revisit his home, Martin crossed the Alps, and from Milan went over to Pannonia. There he converted his mother and some other persons; his father he could not win. While in Illyricum he took sides against the Arians with so much zeal that he was publicly scourged and forced to leave. Returning from Illyria, he was confronted by the Arian archbishop of Milan Auxentius, who expelled him from the city. According to the early sources, Martin decided to seek shelter on the island then called Gallinaria, now Isola d'Albenga, in the Ligurian Sea, where he lived the solitary life of a hermit. Not entirely alone, since the chronicles indicate that he would have been in the company of a priest, a man of great virtues, and for a period with Hilary of Poitiers; on this island, where the wild hens lived, it ate on hellebore, a plant that it did not know was poisonous. A legend tells that being on the verge of death for having eaten this herb, he prayed and was miraculously cured.
With the return of Hilary to his see in 361, Martin joined him and established a hermitage nearby, which soon attracted converts and followers. The crypt under the parish church (not the current Abbey Chapel) reveals traces of a Roman villa, probably part of the bath complex, which had been abandoned before Martin established himself there. This site was developed into the Benedictine Ligugé Abbey, the oldest monastery known in Europe. It became a centre for the evangelisation of the country districts. He travelled and preached through western Gaul: "The memory of these apostolic journeyings survives to our day in the numerous local legends of which Martin is the hero and which indicate roughly the routes that he followed."
Bishop
In AD 371 Martin was acclaimed bishop of Tours, where he impressed the city with his demeanour. He had been drawn to Tours by a ruse — he was urged to come to minister to someone sick — and was brought to the church, where he reluctantly allowed himself to be consecrated bishop. According to one version, he was so unwilling to be made bishop that he hid in a barn full of geese, but their cackling at his intrusion gave him away to the crowd; that may account for complaints by a few that his appearance was too disheveled to be commensurate with a bishopric, but the critics were hugely outnumbered.
As bishop, Martin set to enthusiastically ordering the destruction of pagan temples, altars and sculptures:
"[W]hen in a certain village he had demolished a very ancient temple, and had set about cutting down a pine-tree, which stood close to the temple, the chief priest of that place, and a crowd of other heathens began to oppose him; and these people, though, under the influence of the Lord, they had been quiet while the temple was being overthrown, could not patiently allow the tree to be cut down".
Sulpicius affirms that Martin withdrew from the city to live in Marmoutier (Majus Monasterium), the monastery he founded, which faces Tours from the opposite shore of the Loire. Recent excavations under the abbey church have revealed the traces of a Roman posting station, beside the main Roman road along the north bank of the Loire, which seems to have been the original dwelling for the community; the "caves" on the site are post-Roman and are probably the result of quarrying the coteau for the Romanesque abbey buildings. "Here Martin and some of the monks who followed him built cells of wood; others lived in caves dug out of the rock" (Sulpicius Severus).
Martin introduced a rudimentary parish system. Once a year the bishop visited each of his parishes, traveling on foot, or by donkey or boat. He continued to set up monastic communities, and extended the bounds of his episcopate from Touraine to such distant points as Chartres, Paris, Autun, and Vienne.
In one instance, the pagans agreed to fell their sacred fir tree, if Martin would stand directly in its path. He did so, and it miraculously missed him. Sulpicius, a classically educated aristocrat, related this anecdote with dramatic details, as a set piece. Sulpicius could not have failed to know the incident the Roman poet Horace recalls in several Odes, of his narrow escape from a falling tree.
Martin was so dedicated to the freeing of prisoners that when authorities, even emperors, heard he was coming, they refused to see him because they knew he would request mercy for someone and they would be unable to refuse.
On behalf of the Priscillianists
The churches of other parts of Gaul and in Spain were being disturbed by the Priscillianists, an ascetic sect, named after its leader, Priscillian. The First Council of Saragossa had forbidden several of Priscillian's practices (albeit without mentioning Priscillian by name), but Priscillian was elected bishop of Avila shortly thereafter. Ithacius of Ossonoba appealed to the emperor Gratian, who issued a rescript against Priscillian and his followers. After failing to obtain the support of Ambrose of Milan and Pope Damasus I, Priscillian appealed to Magnus Maximus, who had usurped the throne from Gratian.
Although greatly opposed to the Priscillianists, Martin traveled to the Imperial court of Trier to remove them from the secular jurisdiction of the emperor. With Ambrose, Martin rejected Bishop Ithacius's principle of putting heretics to death—as well as the intrusion of the emperor into such matters. He prevailed upon the emperor to spare the life of the heretic Priscillian. At first, Maximus acceded to his entreaty, but, when Martin had departed, yielded to Ithacius and ordered Priscillian and his followers to be beheaded (385). Martin then pleaded for a cessation of the persecution of Priscillian's followers in Spain.[12] Deeply grieved, Martin refused to communicate with Ithacius, until pressured by the Emperor.
Martin died in Candes-Saint-Martin, Gaul (central France) in 397.
Abbey of Marmoutier
The Abbey of Marmoutier was a monastery just outside today's city of Tours in Indre-et-Loire, France established by Martin around 372. The saint founded the monastery to escape attention and live life as a monastic. The Abbey at Tours was one of the most prominent and influential establishments in medieval France. Charlemagne awarded the position of Abbot to his friend and adviser Alcuin. At this time the Abbot could travel between Tours and the court at Trier in Germany and always stay overnight at one of his own properties. It was at Tours that Alcuin's scriptorium (a room in monasteries devoted to the copying of manuscripts by monastic scribes) developed Caroline minuscule, the clear round hand that made manuscripts far more legible.
In later times the abbey was destroyed by fire on several occasions and ransacked by Norman Vikings in 853 and in 903. It burned again in 994, and was rebuilt by Hervé de Buzançais, treasurer of Saint Martin, an effort that took 20 years to complete. Expanded to accommodate the crowds of pilgrims and to attract them, the shrine of St. Martin of Tours became a major stopping-point on pilgrimages. In 1453 the remains of Saint Martin were transferred to a magnificent new reliquary donated by Charles VII of France and Agnes Sorel.
During the French Wars of Religion, the basilica was sacked by the Protestant Huguenots in 1562. It was disestablished during the French Revolution.[16] It was deconsecrated, used as a stable, then utterly demolished. Its dressed stones were sold in 1802 after two streets were built across the site, to ensure the abbey would not be reconstructed.
Legend of Martin's cloak
While Martin was a soldier in the Roman army and stationed in Gaul (modern-day France), he experienced a vision, which became the most-repeated story about his life. One day as he was approaching the gates of the city of Amiens, he met a scantily clad beggar. He impulsively cut his military cloak in half to share with the man. That night, Martin dreamed of Jesus wearing the half-cloak he had given away. He heard Jesus say to the angels: "Martin, who is still but a catechumen, clothed me with this robe." (Sulpicius, ch 2). In another version, when Martin woke, he found his cloak restored to wholeness. The dream confirmed Martin in his piety, and he was baptised at the age of 18.
The part kept by himself became the famous relic preserved in the oratory of the Merovingian kings of the Franks at the Marmoutier Abbey near Tours.[4] During the Middle Ages, the supposed relic of St. Martin's miraculous cloak, (cappa Sancti Martini) was carried by the king even into battle, and used as a holy relic upon which oaths were sworn. The cloak is first attested in the royal treasury in 679, when it was conserved at the palatium of Luzarches, a royal villa that was later ceded to the monks of Saint-Denis by Charlemagne, in 798/99.
The priest who cared for the cloak in its reliquary was called a cappellanu, and ultimately all priests who served the military were called cappellani. The French translation is chapelains, from which the English word chaplain is derived.
A similar linguistic development took place for the term referring to the small temporary churches built for the relic. People called them a "capella", the word for a little cloak. Eventually, such small churches lost their association with the cloak, and all small churches began to be referred to as "chapels".
Hagiography
The early life of Saint Martin was written by Sulpicius Severus, who knew him personally. It expresses the intimate closeness the 4th-century Christian felt with the Devil in all his disguises, and has many accounts of miracles. Some follow familiar conventions— casting out devils, raising the paralytic and the dead. Others are more unusual: turning back the flames from a house while Martin was burning down the Roman temple it adjoined; deflecting the path of a felled sacred pine; the healing power of a letter written from Martin.
Veneration
The veneration of Martin was widely popular in the Middle Ages, above all in the region between the Loire and the Marne, where Le Roy Ladurie and Zysberg noted the densest accretion of place names commemorating Martin. Venantius Fortunatus had earlier declared, "Wherever Christ is known, Martin is honored."
When Bishop Perpetuus took office at Tours in 461, the little chapel over Martin's grave, built in the previous century by Martin's immediate successor, Bricius,was no longer sufficient for the crowd of pilgrims it was already drawing. Perpetuus built a larger basilica, 38 m long and 18 m wide, with 120 columns. Martin's body was taken from the simple chapel at his hermitage at Candes-St-Martin to Tours and his sarcophagus was reburied behind the high altar of the new basilica. A large block of marble above the tomb, the gift of bishop Euphronius of Autun (472-475), rendered it visible to the faithful gathered behind the high altar. Werner Jacobsen suggests it may also have been visible to pilgrims encamped in the atrium of the basilica. Contrary to the usual arrangement, the atrium was situated behind the church, close to the tomb in the apse, which may have been visible through a fenestrella in the apse wall.
St. Martin's popularity can be partially attributed to his adoption by successive royal houses of France. Clovis, King of the Salian Franks, one of many warring tribes in sixth-century France, promised his Christian wife Clotilda that he would be baptised if he was victorious over the Alemanni. He credited the intervention of St Martin with his success, and with several following triumphs, including the defeat of Alaric II. The popular devotion to St Martin continued to be closely identified with the Merovingian monarchy: in the early seventh century Dagobert I commissioned the goldsmith Saint Eligius to make a work in gold and gems for the tomb-shrine. The bishop Gregory of Tours wrote and distributed an influential Life filled with miraculous events of St. Martin's career. Martin's cultus survived the passage of power to the Merovingians' successors, the Carolingian dynasty.

Revival of the popular devotion to St. Martin in the Third Republic

Excavations and rediscovery of the tomb

In 1860 excavations by Leo Dupont (1797–1876) established the dimensions of the former abbey and recovered some fragments of architecture. The tomb of St. Martin was rediscovered on December 14, 1860, which aided in the nineteenth-century revival of the popular devotion to St. Martin.
Irapuato
charisma Thank you... I was in Szombathely with Caritas on a pilgrimage - and this year, in Amiens .
charisma
You are always welcome :-))
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St Martin pray for our Church
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Irapuato
Irapuato
charisma
@Irapuato, native of Pannonia means that he was born in HUNGARY (Szombathely, known as Savaria in Roman times).
God bless :-)
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