St Martins

Grade 2 listed ( 8 Bells)

 

Consecration: 1170 A.D. Feast Day: November 11th

 

Saint Martin of Tours.

 

Born in the year 316 into a military family in Sabaria, now Szombathey in Hungary. While he was still very young his family moved to Pavia in Northern Italy, where there was a thriving Christian Community in one in one of the large town villas. Sulpicius Severus, a contemporary who wrote The Life of St. Martin' tells us that, 'when Martin was of the age of ten years, he betook himself, against the wishes of his parents, to the church and begged that he might be taught the Christian faith.' His parents forced him into a career in the army and so his baptism didn't come until 334 when he was 28 and had been a soldier for almost ten years.

 

Eight years previously, while on duty in Amiens, France, Martin met a cold beggar and shared his cloak with him. A dream helped Martin see that it was Christ he had met in that poor man. Martin was determined to lead the life of a hermit at Poitiers, France, with his mentor Bishop Hilary. Soon the Bishop appointed Martin as a travelling exorcist. While in that role in Milan, he read about the life of St. Anthony of Egypt, the Desert Father. Martin then sought a very simple life style near Tours, but when the Bishop of that area died, the Christian Community in Tours wanted a 'father in God'; someone who would lead them back to the early spirit of Christianity. Martin was their sole choice. He didn't feel happy living in the Bishop's residence so he moved to the caves at Marmoutier. He spent half the year there praying, reading and building a spiritual community, which would later be copied by the Celtic saints. The other half of the year was spent visiting his parishes. He died on November 11th, 397. His body was taken to Tours and his shrine was erected there.