Martin of Tours

Martin of Tours
Saint Martin of Tours

Statue of Saint Martin cutting his cloak in two. Höchster Schloss, Höchst.
Bishop and Confessor
Born 316 AD
Savaria, Pannonia (modern-day Hungary)
Died November 8, 397(397-11-08)
Candes, Gaul (modern-day France)
Honored in Roman Catholic Church
Eastern Orthodox Churches
Anglican Communion
Lutheran Church
Canonized Pre-Congregation
Feast October 11 (Eastern Orthodox Church)
November 11 (Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Churches, Anglican Communion)
Attributes man on horseback sharing his cloak with me; man cutting cloak in half; globe of fire; goose

against poverty; against alcoholism; Bahrija, Malta; beggars; Beli Manastir;Archdiocese of Bratislava; Buenos Aires; Burgenland; cavalry; Church Lads' and Church Girls' Brigade; Dieburg; Edingen equestrians; Foiano della Chiana; TV Commercials France; geese;

horses; hotel-keepers; innkeepers; Kortrijk; diocese of Mainz; Montemagno; Olpe;Orense; Pietrasanta; Pontifical Swiss Guards; quartermasters; reformed alcoholics; riders; diocese of Rottenburg-Stuttgart; soldiers; tailors; Utrecht; vintners; Virje; wine growers; wine makers; Wissmannsdorf[1]

Martin of Tours (Latin: Sanctus Martinus Turonensis; 316 – November 8, 397) was a Bishop of Tours whose shrine became a famous stopping-point for pilgrims on the road to Santiago de Compostela. Around his name much legendary material accrued, and he has become one of the most familiar and recognizable Christian saints. He is considered a spiritual bridge across Europe, given his association with both France and Hungary.[2]

His life was recorded by a contemporary, the 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 a patron saint of soldiers and horses.


Early life

Martin of Tours's Fountain, behind the Visitors Center - Szombathely

Martin was born at Savaria, Pannonia (now Szombathely, Hungary). His father was a senior officer (tribune) in the Imperial Horse Guard, a unit of the Roman army, and was later stationed at Ticinum (now Pavia), in northern Italy, where Martin grew up.

At the age of ten, he went to the Christian church against the wishes of his parents, and became a catechumen or candidate for baptism. At this time, Christianity had been made a legal religion (in 312), but it was by no means the dominant religion everywhere 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 still far from accepted amongst the higher echelons of society, and in the army, the cult 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. When Martin was fifteen, as the son of a veteran officer, he was required to join a cavalry ala himself, and thus, around 334, was stationed at Ambianensium civitas or Samarobriva in Gaul (now Amiens, France). It is therefore likely that he joined the Equites catafractarii Ambianenses, a heavy cavalry unit listed in the Notitia Dignitatum.

Episode of the cloak

The Charity of St. Martin, by Jean Fouquet

While Martin was still a soldier in the Roman army and deployed in Gaul (modern day France), he experienced the vision that 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 own military cloak in half and shared it with the beggar. That night, Martin dreamed of Jesus wearing the half-cloak he had given away. He heard Jesus say to the angels: "Here is Martin, the Roman soldier who is not baptized; he has clad me." (Sulpicius, ch 2). In another story, when Martin woke, his cloak was restored, and the miraculous cloak was preserved among the relic collection of the Merovingian kings of the Franks.

St Martin and the Beggar, by El Greco, ca. 1597-99 (National Gallery of Art, Washington)

Small temporary churches were built for the relic and people began to refer to them by the word for little cloak "capella" that these churches housed. Eventually small churches lost their association with the cloak and all small churches began to be referred to as Chapels[3] .

The dream confirmed Martin in his piety, and he was baptized at the age of 18.[4] He served in the military for another two years until, just before a battle with the Gauls at Borbetomagus (now Worms, Germany) in 336, Martin determined that his faith prohibited him from fighting, saying, "I am a soldier of Christ. I cannot 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.[5]

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, opposing the Arianism of the Imperial Court. When Hilary was forced into exile from Pictavium (now Poitiers), Martin returned to Italy, converting an Alpine brigand on the way, according to his biographer Sulpicius Severus, and confronting the Devil himself. Returning from Illyria, he was confronted by the Arian, archbishop of Milan Auxentius, who expelled him from the city. According to the early sources, he 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.

Attacking pagans and Arianism

With the return of Hilary to his see in 361, Martin joined him and established a monastery nearby, at the site that developed into the Benedictine Ligugé Abbey, the first in Gaul; it became a center for the evangelization of the country districts. He traveled 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." (Catholic Encyclopedia).

St Martin as a bishop: modern icon in the chapel of the Eastern Orthodox Monastery of the Theotokos and St Martin, Cantauque, Provence

In 371, Martin was acclaimed bishop of Tours, where he impressed the city with his demeanor, and by the enthusiasm with which he had pagan temples, altars and sculptures destroyed. It may indicate the depth of the Druidic folk religion compared to the veneer of Roman classical culture in the area, that "when 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".[6] Sulpicius affirms that he withdrew from the press of attention in the city to live in Marmoutier (Majus Monasterium), the monastery he founded, which faces Tours from the opposite shore of the Loire (river). Martin introduced a rudimentary parish system.

Martin's order at Marmoutier

The Abbey of Marmoutier was a monastery just outside today's city of Tours in Indre-et-Loire, France. It was founded by St. Martin around 372, after he had been made Bishop of Tours in 371. The saint founded the monastery to escape attention and live a life of monasticism. Martin was not just the source of status for the abbey, but he was also responsible for drafting the blueprint for Marmoutier’s institutional inviolability by appointing the abbot, Walbert. Walbert’s story demonstrated while Martin was Bishop of Tours, Marmoutier possessed its own abbot, which meant the abbey should remain “outside the dominion of every bishop except as it is necessary for the ordaining of canons.” The best way to protect the abbey’s autonomy was to give it its own abbot. The abbey was destroyed and ransacked by Normans in 853. The abbey continued to grow, and in 1096, Pope Urban II consecrated a new chapel. In 1162, Pope Alexander III consecrated the Chapel of Saint Benoit. Huguenot Protestants pillaged the abbey a second time at the onset of the French Wars of Religion. The abbey recovered, but was disestablished in 1799 during the French Revolution.[7]

Mercy to the Priscillianists

His role in the matter of the followers of Priscillian was especially remarkable. The First Council of Saragossa had condemned Priscillian and his supporters as heretics. Priscillian and his supporters had fled, and some bishops of Hispania, led by Bishop Ithacius, brought charges before Emperor Magnus Maximus. Although greatly opposed to the Priscillianists, Martin hurried to the Imperial court of Trier on an errand of mercy to remove them from the secular jurisdiction of the emperor. At first, Maximus acceded to his entreaty, but, when Martin had departed, yielded to the solicitations of Ithacius and ordered Priscillian and his followers to be beheaded (385), the first Christians executed for heresy. Deeply grieved, Martin refused to communicate with Ithacius, until pressured by the Emperor.

St Martin leaves the life of chivalry and renounces the army (fresco by Simone Martini)

Martin died at in Candes-Saint-Martin, Gaul (central France) in 397.

The shrine and the devotion

The veneration of Martin was hugely 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 hagiotoponyms[8] commemorating Martin,[9] but Fortunat declared, "Partout où le Christ est connu, Martin est honoré."[10] 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,[11] was no longer sufficient for the crowd of pilgrims it was already drawing. Perpetuus built a more suitably grand basilica, 38 m long and 18 m wide, with 120 columns.[12] His 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 great new basilica;[13] 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, and perhaps, Werner Jacobsen suggests,[14] also to pilgrims encamped in the atrium of the basilica, which, contrary to the usual arrangement, was sited behind the church, close to the tomb in the apse, which may have been visible through a fenestrella in the apse wall.

During the Middle Ages, the relic of St. Martin’s cloak, (cappa Sancti Martini), conserved at the Marmoutier Abbey, near to Tours, one of the most sacred relics of the Frankish kings, would be carried everywhere the king went, even into battle, 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.[15] 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.[16] One of the many services a chaplain can provide is spiritual and pastoral support for military service personnel by performing religious services at sea or in the battlefield.[17]

Reliquary for the head of St. Martin, silver and copper, part gilt, from the church at Soudeilles, late 14th century (Louvre)

St. Martin's popularity can be partially attributed to his adoption by successive royal houses of France. Clovis (Cholodovech), 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. As a result, Clovis was able to move his capital to Paris, and he is considered to be the 'Founder of France'. 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 wonderful work in gold and gems for the tomb-shrine.[18] The later bishop, Gregory of Tours, made it his business to write and see distributed an influential Life filled with miraculous events of the saint's career. Martin's cultus survived the passage of power to their successors, the Carolingian dynasty.

The Abbey of Saint-Martin 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, the great English scholar and educator Alcuin. At this time the Abbot was able to 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 which made manuscripts far more legible. The basilica was destroyed by fire on several occasions, and it and the monastery were sacked by Norman Vikings in 996.

Rebuilt beginning in 1014, by Hervé de Buzançais, treasurer of Saint Martin, both to accommodate the crowds of pilgrims and to attract them, the shrine of St. Martin of Tours became a major stopping-point on pilgrimages; Gothic vaults replaced the Romanesque ones and in 1453 the remains of Saint Martin were transferred to a magnificent new reliquary offered by Charles VII of France and Agnes Sorel. The basilica was sacked by Huguenots in 1562, during the French Wars of Religion, then during the French Revolution, deconsecrated, used as a stable, then utterly demolished, its dressed stones sold in 1802 when two streets were opened on the site, to ensure it would not be rebuilt.

Basilica of St. Martin, Tours

In 1860, excavations of Leo Dupont (1797–1876) established the dimensions of its former site and recovered some fragments of architecture. The project for a new basilica took shape in the resurgence of conservative Catholic piety after the radical Paris Commune of 1871. The architect selected was Victor Laloux; the style eschewed Gothic for a mix of Romanesque and Byzantine.[19] The new Basilique Saint-Martin on a portion of its former site that was repurchased from the owners, was consecrated 4 July 1925.[20]

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

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. Martin’s renewed popularity was in large part due to his promotion as a military saint during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1871. During the military and political crisis of the Franco-Prussian war, the Napoleon III’s second empire collapsed. After the surrender of Napoleon to the Prussians after the Battle of Sedan in September 1870, a provisional government of national defense was established and France’s Third Republic was proclaimed. Paris was evacuated due to the advancing enemy and for a brief time, Tours (September–December 1870) became the effective capital of France. St Martin was promoted by the clerical right as the protector of the nation against the German threat. Conservatives associated the dramatic collapse of Napoleon III’s regime as a sign of divine retribution on the irreligious emperor. Priests interpreted it as punishment for a nation led astray due to years of anti-clericalism. They preached repentance and a return to religion for political stability. The ruined towers of the royal basilica of St. Martin at Tours came to symbolize the decline of traditional Catholic France.[21]

With the government's move to Tours during the Franco-Prussian War, 1870, a great number of pilgrims were attracted to St. Martin’s tomb, which was covered by a temporary chapel that Monsignor Guibert (archbishop of Tours, 1857-1871) built. The popular devotion to St. Martin was also associated with the nationalistic devotion to the Sacred Heart. The Flag of Sacre-Coeur, borne by Ultramontane Catholic Pontifical Zouaves who fought at Patay, had been first placed overnight in St. Martin’s Tomb before being taken into battle on October 9, 1870. The banner read "Heart of Jesus Save France" and on the reverse side Carmelite Nuns of Tours embroidered "Saint Martin Protect France".[22] The French army was victorious in Patay, which led many among the faithful to believe that the victory was due to divine favor. Popular hymns of the 1870s developed the theme of national protection under the cover of Martin's cloak, the "first flag of France".[21]

The popularity of devotion to St Martin among men is significant because historical evidence shows that "feminization" had affected French Catholicism in the nineteenth century. During the nineteenth century Frenchmen influenced by secularism, agnosticism, and anti-clericalism deserted the church in great numbers. Martin was a man's saint and the devotion to him was an exception to this trend. For men serving in the military, Martin of Tours was presented by the Catholic Right as the masculine model of principled behavior. He was a brave fighter, knew his obligation to the poor, shared his goods, performed his required military service, followed legitimate orders, and respected secular authority.[23]

Opposition from Anticlericals

During the 1870s, the procession to St. Martin’s tomb at Tours became an impressive display of ecclesiastical and military cooperation. Army officers in full uniform acted as military escorts, symbolically protecting the clergy and clearing the path for them. Anti-clerics viewed the holding of public religious processions as a violation of civic space. In 1878, M. Rivière, the provisional mayor of Tours with anticlerical support banned the November procession in honor of St. Martin. To anti-clerics, religion was supposed to be a private matter and religious devotions were to be practiced at home or church. With the resignation of President Patrice de Mac-Mahon, the first president of the Third Republic, came Republican Jules Grevy, who created a new anticlerical offensive on a national level. On the opposite side of the spectrum, Bishop Louis-Édouard-François-Desiré Pie of Poitiers united conservatives and devised a massive demonstration for the November 1879 procession. Pie’s ultimate hope was that St Martin would stop the “chariot” of modern society and create a France where the religious and secular sectors merged.

The struggle between the two can be seen with the struggle between conservatives and anti-clerics over the church’s power in the army. From 1874, military chaplains were allowed in the army in times of peace, but anti-clerics viewed the chaplains as sinister monarchists and counter-revolutionaries. Conservatives responded by creating the short lived Legion de Saint Maurice in 1878 and the society, Notre Dame de Soldats to provided unpaid voluntary chaplains with financial resources. Ultimately, the anticlerical Duvaux Bill of 1880 reduced the number of chaplains in the French army. Anticlerical legislators wanted commanders, not chaplains, to provide troops with moral support and to supervise their formation in the established faith of patriotic Republicanism.[24]

St. Martin as a French Republican patron

St. Martin has long been associated with France’s royal heritage. However, during the episcopate of Monsignor René François Renou (Archbishop of Tours, 1896–1913) St. Martin began to be regarded as a specifically "republican" patron. He served as a chaplain to the 88e Régiment des mobils d'Indre-et-Loire during the Franco-Prussian war and was known as the army bishop. Renou was a strong supporter of St. Martin and believed that the national destiny of France and all its victories are attributed to him. He linked the military to the cloak of St. Martin, which was the “first flag of France” to the French tricolor, “the symbol of the union of the old and new.” This flag symbolism connected the devotion to St. Martin with the Third Republic. However, the tensions of the Dreyfus Affair renewed anti-clericalism in France and drove a wedge between the Church and the Republic. By 1905, under Rene Waldeck-Rousseau and Emile Combes combined with deteriorating relations with the Vatican, church and state was separated.[25]

St. Martin’s popularity was renewed with the First World War. Anticlericalism declined, as priests served in the French forces as chaplains, with the result that over five thousand of them were killed. In 1916, Assumptionists organized a national pilgrimage to Tours that attracted people from all of France. The devotion to St. Martin was further amplified in the dioceses of France, where special prayers were offered to the patron saint. When the armistice fell on the Saint Martin’s Day, 11 November 1918, the French people saw it was a sign of his intercession in the affairs of France.[26]


The early life of Saint Martin that was written by Sulpicius Severus who knew him personally,[27] while it expresses the intimate closeness the 4th century Christian felt with the Devil in all his disguises, is at the same time filled with accounts of miracles so extravagant as apparently to challenge disbelief. 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, indeed "threads from Martin's garment, or such as had been plucked from the sackcloth which he wore, wrought frequent miracles upon those who were sick."

The first occasion on which Martin restored the dead to life was that of the catechumen who lived with him in his cell near Poitiers. He returned from a three-day absence to find

The body being laid out in public was being honored by the last sad offices on the part of the mourning brethren, when Martin hurries up to them with tears and lamentations. But then laying hold; as it were, of the Holy Spirit, with the whole powers of his mind, he orders the others to quit the cell in which the body was lying; and bolting the door, he stretches himself at full length on the dead limbs of the departed brother. Having given himself for some time to earnest prayer, and perceiving by means of the Spirit of God that power was present, he then rose up for a little, and gazing on the countenance of the deceased, he waited without misgiving for the result of his prayer and of the mercy of the Lord. And scarcely had the space of two hours elapsed, when he saw the dead man begin to move a little in all his members, and to tremble with his eyes opened for the practice of sight. Then indeed, turning to the Lord with a loud voice and giving thanks, he filled the cell with his ejaculations (Sulpicius Severus, Vita).

In one instance, the pagans agreed to fell their sacred fir tree, if Martin would stand directly in the path of its fall. He did so, and it miraculously missed him very narrowly. 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.[28]


Monument to Saint Martin of Tours in Odolanów, Poland

From the late 4th century to the late Middle Ages, much of Western Europe, including Great Britain, engaged in a period of fasting beginning on the day after St. Martin's Day, November 11. This fast period lasted 40 days, and was, therefore, called Quadragesima Sancti Martini, which means in Latin "the forty days of St. Martin." At St. Martin's eve and on the feast day, people ate and drank very heartily for a last time before they started to fast. This fasting time was later called "Advent" by the Church.

On St. Martin's Day, children in Flanders, the southern and north-western parts of the Netherlands, the Catholic areas of Germany and Austria participate in paper lantern processions. Often, a man dressed as St. Martin rides on a horse in front of the procession. The children sing songs about St. Martin and about their lanterns. The food traditionally eaten on the day is goose. According to legend, Martin was reluctant to become bishop, which is why he hid in a stable filled with geese. The noise made by the geese betrayed his location to the people who were looking for him.

Statue of Saint Martin in the grounds of Saint Martin de Tours Roman Catholic Church in Saint Martinville, Louisiana

In Malta, children are sometimes given a bag full of nuts, hazelnuts, oranges and tangerines. In old days, nuts were then used by the children in their games. The parish of Baħrija is dedicated to Saint Martin and on his feast a fair with agricultural produce and animals is organized.

Also, in the east part of the Belgian province of East-Flanders (Aalst) and the west part of West Flanders (Ypres), children receive presents from St. Martin on November 11, instead of from Saint Nicholas on December 6 or Santa Claus on December 25. There are also lantern processions, for which children make lanterns out of beets.

In recent years, the lantern processions have become widespread, even in Protestant areas of Germany and the Netherlands, despite the fact that most Protestant churches do not recognize Saints as a distinct class of believers from the laity.

In Portugal, where the saint's day is celebrated across the country, it is common for families and friends to gather around the fire in reunions called "magustos", where they typically eat roasted chestnuts and drink wine, "jeropiga" (drink made of grape must and firewater) and "aguapé" (a sort of weak and watered-down wine). According to the most widespread variation of the cloak story, Saint Martin cut off half of his cloak in order to offer it to a beggar and along the way he gave the remaining part to a second beggar. As he faced a long ride in a freezing weather, the dark clouds cleared away and the sun shone so intensely that the frost melted away. As this evolution was extremely odd for the time of the year (early November), it is credited to God's intervention. The phenomena of a sunny break to the chilly weather on Saint Martin's Day (11 November), which curiously enough still occurs today is called "Verão de São Martinho" (Saint Martin's Summer) in honor of the cloak legend.

Rogal świętomarciński, baked for St. Martin's Day in Poznań

Many churches in Europe are named after Saint Martinus, also known as Saint Martin of Tours. The church of St Martin-in-the-fields at Trafalgar Square in the centre of London is dedicated to St Martin. Saint Martin's Cathedral, in Ypres, is also dedicated to him. St. Martin is the patron saint of Szombathely, Hungary with a church dedicated to him, and also the patron saint of Buenos Aires. In the Netherlands he is the patron of the cathedral and city of Utrecht. He is also the patron of the city of Groningen, and it's Martini tower and Martinikerk (Martin's Church) were named after him, the city is often named the Martini-city. He is also the parton of the church and town of Bocaue.[29]

St. Martin is the patron saint of the Polish towns of Bydgoszcz and Opatów. His day is also celebrated with a procession and festivities in the city of Poznań, where he gives his name to the main street (Święty Marcin, from a church in his honor originally built there in the 13th century), and where a special type of crescent cake (rogal świętomarciński) is baked for the occasion. (November 11 is also Polish Independence Day, and is therefore a public holiday.)

In Latin America, he has a strong popular following and is frequently referred to as San Martín Caballero, in reference to his common depiction on horseback. Mexican folklore believes him to be a particularly helpful saint toward business owners

Stained glass in St. Martin of Tours Church in Vegreville, Alberta, Canada

San Martín de Loba is the name of a municipality in the Bolívar Department of Colombia. Saint Martin, as San Martín de Loba, is the patron saint of Vasquez, a small village in Colombia.

Though no mention of St. Martin's connection with viticulture is made by Gregory of Tours or other early hagiographers, he is now credited with a prominent role in spreading wine-making throughout the Touraine region and facilitated the planting of many vines. The Greek myth that Aristaeus first discovered the concept of pruning the vines after watching a goat eat some of the foliage has been applied to Martin.[30] He is also credited with introducing the Chenin Blanc grape varietal, from which most of the white wine of western Touraine and Anjou is made.

Martin Luther was named after St. Martin, as he was baptized on November 11 (St. Martin's Day), 1483. Many Lutheran congregations are named after St. Martin which is unusual (for Lutherans) because he is a saint who does not appear in the Bible. (Lutherans regularly name congregations after the evangelists and other saints who appear in the Bible but are hesitant to name congregations after post-Biblical saints.)

Martin of Tours is the patron saint of the U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps, which has a medal in his name[31] and also the Church Lads' and Church Girls' Brigade.

Martinitoren The 97 meter high church tower (Martini Tower] in Groningen, the Netherlands.


  1. ^ Patron Saints Index: Saint Martin of Tours
  2. ^ Lanzi, Fernando (2004). Saints and Their Symbols: Recognizing Saints in Art and in Popular. Liturgical Press. p. 104. ISBN 0814629709. Retrieved 2008-07-19. 
  3. ^ MacCulloch, Daimaid (2009). A History of Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years. Penguin Group. ISBN 1-101-18945-2. 
  4. ^ Patron Saints Index: Saint Martin of Tours
  5. ^ Kurlansky, Mark (2006). Nonviolence: twenty-five lessons from the history of a dangerous idea. Pp 26-27.
  6. ^ Sulpicius, Vita ch. xiii
  7. ^ Farmer, Sharon (1991). Communities of St. Martin: Legend and Ritual in Medieval Tours. Pp. 78-96.
  8. ^ A hagiotoponym is a place-name that commemorates a saint.
  9. ^ Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie and A. Zysberg, "Géographie des hagiotoponymes en France", Annales E.S.C. (1983), map p. 1331.
  10. ^ "Wherever Christ is known, Martin is honoured"; quoted by Louis Réau, Iconographie de I'art chretien, p. 902.
  11. ^ "Hic aedificavit basilicam parvulam super corpus beati Martini, in qua et ipse sepultus est" (Gregory, Libri historiarum 10.31, quoted in Werner Jacobsen, "Saints' Tombs in Frankish Church Architecture" Speculum 72.4 (October 1997:1107-1143) p. 1108.
  12. ^ The details are in Gregory, Libri historiarum 2.14
  13. ^ May Viellard-Troiëkouroff, "La basilique de Saint-Martin de Tours de Perpetuus (470) d'après les fouilles archéologiques", Actes du 22e Congrès international d'histoire d'art 1966. (Budapest 1972), vol. 2:839-46); Charles Lelong, La basilique de Saint-Martin de Tours (Chambray-lès-Tours 1986).
  14. ^ Jacobsen 1997:1108f.
  15. ^ J.-P. Brunterch, in Un village au temps de Charlemagne, pp. 90-93, noted in François-Olivier Touati, Maladie et société au Moyen âge (Paris/Brussels, 1998) p. 216 note 100.
  16. ^ Ducange, Glossarium, s.v "Capella)", noted in Encyclopaedia Britannica 1911, s.v. "Chapel".
  17. ^ Dreher, Rod (2003). "National Review". Pp 30.
  18. ^ Vita Eligii: "miro opificio exaure et gemmis contextuit sepulchrum:; quoted in Jacobsen 1997:1109 note 11.
  19. ^ Pilgrimage basilicas in comparable Romanesque-Byzantine taste being erected during the same period are the Basilique du Sacré-Cœur, Paris, and in Lyon the basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière.
  20. ^ "Historique" (in French). "Basilique Saint-Martin" (official website). Retrieved 2008-09-16. 
  21. ^ a b Brennan, Brian (1997). "The Revival of the Cult of Martin of Tours in the Third Republic", Church History pp489-491.
  22. ^ Brennan, Brian (1997). "The Revival of the Cult of Martin of Tours in the Third Republic". Pp 499.
  23. ^ Brennan, Brian (1997). “The Revival of the Cult of Martin of Tours in the Third Republic”. Pp 491-492.
  24. ^ Brennan, Brian (1997). “The Revival of the Cult of Martin of Tours in the Third Republic”. Pp 495-496.
  25. ^ Brennan, Brian (1997). “The Revival of the Cult of Martin of Tours in the Third Republic”. Pp 497-499.
  26. ^ Brennan, Brian (1997). “The Revival of the Cult of Martin of Tours in the Third Republic”. Pp 499-501.
  27. ^ Life of St. Martin: Contents at
  28. ^ Odes ii.13 and .17 and iii.4
  29. ^ [1]
  30. ^ For instance in Hugh Johnson, Vintage: The Story of Wine 1989, p 97.
  31. ^ Quartermaster Corps: The Order of Saint Martin

See also


  • Sulpicius Severus On the Life of St. Martin. Translation and Notes by Alexander Roberts. In A Select Library of Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, New York, 1894, available online
  • Clare Stancliffe, St Martin and his hagiographer: History and miracle in Sulpicius Severus (Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1983), pp. xvi+400 (Oxford Historical Monographs).
  • Mark Kurlansky (2006). Nonviolence: twenty-five lessons from the history of a dangerous idea. Modern Library chronicles book, Random House, Inc., New York. ISBN 0-679-64335-4.

External links

Preceded by
Bishop of Tours
Succeeded by

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  • Martin De Tours — « Saint Martin » redirige ici. Pour Les noms de lieu, voir Saint Martin. Pour Les personnes, voir Martin. Pour les articles homonymes, voir Sai …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Martin de tours — « Saint Martin » redirige ici. Pour Les noms de lieu, voir Saint Martin. Pour Les personnes, voir Martin. Pour les articles homonymes, voir Sai …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Martin von Tours —   [ tuːr], Bischof und Asket, Apostel Galliens, * Savaria (heute Szombathely, Ungarn) 316/317, ✝ Candes (heute Candes Saint Martin, Département Indre et Loire) 8. 11. 397; Sohn eines römischen Tribuns, kaiserlicher Gardist in Gallien; mit 18… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Martin von Tours — Martin von Tours, Heiliger, geb. um 316 in Sabaria am Fuße des heutigen Martinsberges (s. d.) in Pannonien (Ungarn), gest. um 400 in Tours, wurde in Pavia erzogen und schon in früher Jugend Christ. Von seinem Nater zum Militärdienst genötigt,… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Martin de Tours — « Saint Martin » redirige ici. Pour les noms de lieu, voir Saint Martin. Pour les personnes, voir Martin. Pour les articles homonymes, voir Saint Martin (homonymie) …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Martin von Tours — Der Heilige Martin am Basler Münster. Martin von Tours (Lateinisch Martinus, * um 316/317 in Savaria, römische Provinz Pannonien, heute Szombathely, Ungarn; † 8. November 397 in Candes bei …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Martín de Tours — San Martín de Tours San Martín y el mendigo, pintado por El Greco en 1597 Nacimiento 316 Panonia (actual Hungría) …   Wikipedia Español

  • MARTIN DE TOURS (saint) — MARTIN DE TOURS saint (316? 397) Peut être au hasard d’une garnison de son père, qui était tribun militaire, Martin naît à Sabaria, en Pannonie (Szombathely, en Hongrie). Il passe sa jeunesse à Pavie, en Italie. Déjà, il pense à devenir moine,… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Martin of Tours, Saint — • Fairly lengthy biographical article on this bishop, who died in around 397 Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006 …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Martin of Tours — (c. 335– c. 400)    Saint, Order Founder and Bishop.    Martin was born in Sabaria in what is now Hungary, to a pagan family. He joined the Roman army at the age of fifteen and it is during this period that he is said to have divided his cloak… …   Who’s Who in Christianity

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