Tuesday, November 21, 2006

St. Martin of Tours

St. Martin of Tours--Nov. 11/24

Many people know the story of St. Martin--the dashing young Roman officer who cut half of his cloak off for a beggar and then saw a vision of Christ. But do you know the whole story? The rest of St. Martin's life is widely unkown.

St. Martin was Roman, the son of a tribune in the Imperial Horse Guard. He became interested in Christianity at a young age and began attending church at age ten although he was not baptized. When he was fifteen he himself became a cavalry officer. He was stationed in France where the famous event with the beggar took place. After his vision he was baptized and two years later left the army. He became a disciple of St. Hilary of Poitiers in Tours. However, St. Hilary was exiled because he opposed Arianism and St. Martin returned to Italy. He too suffered at the hands of the Arians and left to become a hermit. When St. Hilary returned to France St. Martin rejoined him, eventually founding a monastery. He traveled throughout what was then called Gaul, preaching. Finally, in 371 A.D. he was consecrated bishop of Tours. He preferred to live in his monastery, Marmoutier, but he was a diligent father to the church in Tours. He died in 391.

Icon of St. Martin
Life of St. Martin

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