Faithful Friday: St. Martin of Tours

By Sarah Levesque (Rated G)

St. Martin of Tours was born in 316 in what is now Hungary. He became a Christian at the age of ten and was forced into the Roman army a few years later. However, believing firmly that Christians should not fight, Martin petitioned Emperor Julian the Apostate to be released, saying, “I am Christ’s soldier: I am not allowed to fight.” He proved that he was not a coward by suggesting he could go to war without any weapons, and they eventually let him go.

According to legend, Martin shared half his cloak with a beggar, then learned in a dream that the beggar was actually Jesus. 

Upon leaving the army, Martin went to Poitiers then became a missionary in the Balkans, fighting Arianism. He eventually returned to Poitiers and started the first monastery in Gaul. In 371, Martin became the Bishop of Tours, and founded another monastery in that area called Marmoutier. Because of these monasteries, Martin of Tours is known as “the father of monasticism” in Gaul. He continued his peaceable ways throughout his life, arguing against the execution of heretics in debates against other ecclesiastical leaders. Martin died in 397.

May we, like Martin of Tours, always stand against violence, despite all that opposes us.

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