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Feast 11 november

Patron saint of France, soldiers, mendicants and innkeepers

Spring of St Martin in France (Manche)

Spring of St Martin in France (Manche)

He was born in 312 in Pannonie from pagan parents. He brought up in Pavie.


He was sent in garnison in Amiens by his father, old roman legionnaire. It was an evening of winter that he met on his path a poor chilled to the bone. He offered to him a half of his coat. Why the half and not all ?  Would it be a wobbly charity ? Not at all !


We must know that roman estate gave only the half of necessary sums at the purchase of soldier's arms and uniforms. St Martin couldn't only give the part of coat which he was proprietor, the other one beeing owned by the managership.


After this meeting, he dreamt that the poor man was Jésus-Christ. Then, in 339, he was baptized. He obviously refused to continue to fight and, for that, he was imprisoned. Accused of weakness, he proposed to place himself without arms between the two enemy camps. He finished his soldier's career when he was been free.


At his return in Pannonie, he converted his mother and circle. He went to preach against Arianisme (in french in the text) in Illyrie but he was banished of this country. He went to Italy and quarelled with Auxence, arien bishop of Milan who banished him.


Afterwards, he lived like a recluse some time on a small island near to Ligurie. Martin rejoined Hilaire de Poitiers when this one found again his see after the banishment imposed by Constance in 360.


Martin put up a monastery at Ligugé where some disciples went to rejoin him. That was the first hermitage founded in Gaul.


Martin went on Poitiers to preach. He was proclaimed bishop of Tours in 371 by the people, despite his opposition. He lived in a cell near to his cathedral for the first times, afterwards he settled at Marmoutier in a community constituted to eighty monks.


He also founded several other monasteries. In isolated regions, he fighted in order to pull down pagan temples and sacred trees.


Although he was opposed to the Priscillionistes' doctrine, he took their defence because they were condemned by the imperial estate. He wanted them to be juged by Church.


St Martin made numerous miracles like the recovery of a leper.


He died the 11 november 397 and his tomb was immediately been a destination to a pilgrimage very popular.


The "summer of St Martin" corresponds to a beautiful weather period which situates arround his feast.

History of Saint Martin
Saint Martin de Tours
Chef-reliquaire de saint Martin

Head reliquary of St. Martin

Gilt silver and copper, basse-taille enamel over silver (restored in the 20th century), made in Avignon (?), late 14th century. From the church of Soudeilles (Corrèze, France).