Saint Martin

Martin, Saint, c.316–397, bishop of Tours. Born a heathen in Pannonia (in modern Hungary), the son of a soldier, he became a convert and refused to fight Christians. He went (c.360) to St. Hilary of Poitiers and built himself a hermitage. In 371 he was acclaimed bishop, against his will. He continued to live as a monk in the monastery of Marmoutiers, near Tours, which became the training ground for Celtic missions. He was a staunch Catholic, but his zeal for orthodoxy did not prevent his withholding communion from those bishops who connived at the ruthless slaughter of the Priscillianist heretics. St. Martin was universally loved, and his cloak is a symbol of heroic charity (see chapel). His principal shrine was at Tours. Feast: Nov. 11 (known in England as Martinmas). St. Martin's summer is an English counterpart of the American Indian summer; it occurs in mid-November around the time of Martinmas.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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