Martin (St) of Tours

Martin (St.) Of Tours, a prelate of the Roman Catholic Church, was born in Pannonia about the year 316. He was educated at Pavia, and, at the desire of his father, who was a military man, entered the army under Constantine I, who was then emperor. When eighteen years old he became a convert to Christianity, was baptized, and a few years afterwards went to Gaul, and there became a pupil and follower of St. Hilarius (q.v.) Pictaviensis. He quitted the army, and zealously devoted himself to the interests of orthodox Christianity. On a visit to Lombardy, wishing to see his parents again, who were Arians, Martin reproved the inhabitants for their views. They took his liberty unkindly; he was imprisoned and flogged by order of the magistrates of Milan. He then retired to a neighboring village with a few adherents, but being again persecuted by Auxentius, the Arian bishop of Milan, he attempted to return to Gaul. That country, however, was also a prey to religious dissensions; Hilarius himself had been banished to Poitiers, and Martin therefore retired to the island of Gallinaria, in the Tyrean Sea. When St. Hilarius was restored to his Church in 360, Martin hastened back to him, and with his assent retired to the wilds in the neighborhood of Poitiers, at the place now called Liguge. Here he was soon joined by others. and thus arose the convent of Liguge, probably the oldest monastic establishment of France. About 370, Lidoire, bishop or archbishop of Tours, died, and the clergy of that diocese insisted upon Martin's acceptance of the vacant see. He was finally persuaded to accept the office, but he governed the diocese like a convent, and always lived himself in the simple way to which he was accustomed at Liguge. He erected a convent which became the celebrated monastery of Marmoutiers, near Tours. Under his active and vigilant care the diocese attained great prosperity, while he himself became renowned for his talents and his virtues, not only in the neighboring parts, but even throughout Gaul When Maximus, after the murder of Gratian, caused all the bishops of Gaul who had supported his rival to be deposed or imprisoned, Martin was sent by them to the court at Treves to protest against this violence, and succeeded so well that the emperor released all the prisoners. On another occasion, when the Spanish bishops Idacius and Ithacius besought Maximus to surrender Priscillian and his followers to the civil authorities, to be executed as heretics, Martin protested against such sanguinary orthodoxy, and when, notwithstanding his protests, Priscillian was executed by order of the emperor, Martin refused to hold any intercourse with those who had advocated that measure. This conduct displeased the emperor, and when Martin, some time after, had occasion to ask the pardoning of Narces and Leocadius, accused of rebellion, he granted it only on the condition that Martin would become reconciled with Ithacius. Martin submitted, but left Treves at once, and it is said expressed himself sorry for having purchased the pardon of Narces and Leocadius at that price. He died at Candes about 396. His life by his contemporary, Sulpicius Severus, is a very curious specimen of the Christian literature of the age, and, in the profusion of miraculous legends with which it abounds, might take its place among the lives of the mediueval or modern Roman Church. The only extant literary relic of Martin is a short Confession of Faith on the Holy Trinity, which is published by Galland, Bibl. Patr. 7:559. He is the first who, without sufflering death for the truth, has been honored in the Latin Church as a confessor of the faith. The festival of his birth is celebrated on the 11th of November. In Scotland this day still marks the winter-term, which is called Martinmas (q.v.). In Germany, also, his memory continues to our day among the populace in the celebration of the Martinalia. See Gregorius Turon, Hist. Francor. lib. 10; Gervaise, Vie de Saint Martin (1699); Dupuy, Histoire de Saint Martin (1852); Jean Maan, Metropol. Turonensis; Hist. Litto de la France, 1:417; Galliac Christ. vol. xiv, col. 6; Schaff, Ch. Hist. 2:203 sq.; Gieseler, Eccles. Hist. 1:278; Montalembert, Monks of the West, vol. 1, bk. 3; Mrs. Jameson, Sacred and Legendarly Art, p. 720; Hoefer, Nouv. Biog. Generale, 34:14; Herzog, Real-Encyklop. 9:126 sq. (J. H. W.)

Definition of mart

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