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Saint Martin of Tours

Bishop and Confessor.

Martin (according to the account written of his life by his friend Saint Sulpicius Severus, from which is taken most of what is herein given for his feast) was born at Sabaria, in Pannonia. When he was ten years old he became a catechumen, in spite of his father and mother, who were heathens. Now his father was an officer in the army, who had risen from the ranks; and therefore Martin, at the age of fifteen, was forced into the army against his will, and served as a soldier first under Constantius and then under Julian. Once at the gate of Amiens a poor man asked him for an alms for Christ's Name's sake, and since he had nothing to his hand but his arms and his clothes, he gave him half of his cloak. In the night following he dreamt that Christ appeared to him clad in the half of his cloak, and saying to the Angels who bore him company: While Martin was yet a catechumen he clad me in this garment. Whereupon Martin made haste to be baptized.

He was eighteen years of age when he thus put on Christ, and thereafter he gave up the life of a soldier, and betook himself to Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers, by whom he was placed in the order of acolytes. Being afterwards made Bishop of Tours, and that much against his will, (for he was taken by force and consecrated,) he gave himself to his office with diligence. But for his episcopal residence, he built at Tours a monastery wherein he lived in holiness, in company of four-score monks. Famous for holy works and many miracles, he at last fell sick of a grievous fever at Candes, a remote village in his diocese, and besought God in constant prayer to set him free from the prison of his dying body. But when his disciples expostulated with him, he changed his prayer and said: Lord, if I be still needful to thy people, I refuse not to labour!

When his disciples saw him, in the height of the fever, lying upon his back and praying, they entreated him to turn over and take a little rest upon his side, as much as the violence of his sickness would allow him. But Martin answered them: Suffer me to look heavenward rather than earthward, that my spirit may see the way whereby it is so soon going to the Lord. At the moment of death he saw the enemy of mankind, and cried out: Why hast thou come hither, O beast of blood? In me thou shalt find nothing of thine! With these words on his lips, he gave up his soul to God, being aged eighty years. He is said to have been received by a company of Angels, whereof many men afterwards testified that they heard them singing, among the which was Saint Severinus, Bishop of Cologne. His blessed death took place on November 8th, but his feast is kept on November 11th, being the day of his burial at Tours. Whereto, it is said, two thousand monks and nuns came to honour him, being his disciples in the many religious houses he had founded.


O LORD GOD, who seest that we put not our trust in anything that we do: mercifully grant; that, by the intercession of blessed Martin thy Confessor and Bishop, we may be defended against all adversity. Through the same our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Spirit ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

The Anglican Breviary, Frank Gavin Liturgical Foundation, Inc., New York, 1955, pages 1556-1558

Additional Information:

The Anglican Breviary is available at the Anglican Breviary website.

The Ordo Kalendar may be purchased from the Anglican Parishes Association.