Martin de Tours
Martin was born in the year 316 in the Roman Province from Pannonia in the city from Sabaria, the current city of in modern Hungary, whose modern Hungarian name means “place of the Shabat” which implies a place where each Saturday one gathers to request and study the divine precepts. His/her father was military Tribun Empire, i.e. a senior officer in charge of the administration of the army, and it is not a chance if the name of Martin means “dedicated at Mars”, Mars being the god of the war in Rome.
It is not known if it is Roman or pannonien. Pannoniens are Illyriens which speak a language connected with the Albanian modern, but in Pannonia also live Celtic populations just like in Italy of north and Gaulle. He is not thus interdict to think that Martin could be of Celtic origin or that at least he spoke and understood the language of the Celts and thus that of the Gallic one, which would explain why its life was very whole related to Gaulle.
According to his father with the liking of the assignments in garrison towns, Martin passes his childhood to Pavia in Italy of north. It is the time of the development of the Chrétienté and the child was probably in contact with Christian .
At all events, towards the 10 years age the child wants to convert and it feels attracted by the service of God.
Life in the army
As wire of military magistrate, Martin is so to speak hereditarily related to the career of his father who entire is devoted to the worship of the emperor considered traditionally as an alive god. This father is without any doubt irritated to see his son turned towards a new faith: whereas the lawful age of enrôlement is 17 years, it forces his 15 year old son to enter the army. It is probable that Martin did not let himself convince that not to harm the social position of his/her parents so much his Christian vocation is powerful.
It served 25 years in the Roman army what is the legal duration.
Nevertheless it is not as a private only Martin enters the Roman army: as wire of veteran, it has the rank of Circitor with a double balance; the role of the circitor is that to carry out the night round and to inspect the guardrooms and the monitoring of night of the garrison; affected in Gaulle, perhaps for his knowledge of Gallic, it is at the time of one of these night rounds that one evening of winter 338 with Amiens it divides his coat with one disinherited stiff with cold because it does not have already any more a balance after having liberally distributed his money. It slices its coat or all at least the lining of its fur-lined coat and the following night the Christ appears to him in dream vêtu of this same side of coat. It is then 18 years old. The remainder of its coat, called " cape" will be placed later, with the veneration of faithful, in a part whose name is with the origne word: vault (Italian cappella, English chapel, German Kapelle). The cape of Saint Martin de Tours is also at the origin of the word " Capet" name of the dynasty of Kings de France: Capétiens francs.
It is also time when the great Germanic invasions prepare; the Barbares are with the doors of the empire; for a long time already the auxiliary militia of the legions are made up mercenaries of Germanic origin. In March 354, Martin takes part in the countryside on the the Rhine against the Alamans in Rauracum in current the the German Ruhr; its religious convictions prohibit to him to pour blood and he refuses to fight. To prove that it is not a coward and that it believes in the providence and divine protection, he proposes to be used as human shield. He was connected and exposed to the enemy but, for an unexplained reason, the Barbarians ask peace.
The following year it was made always baptize with Easter in garrison in Amiens; this time is a time of transition, the end of a reign and the beginning of another reign where all, even the soldiers, are penetrated by the novel ideas.
Soon Martin becomes member of the crack corps of the Alæ Scolares , a unit of elite of the imperial guard of which he was member during 20 years; there is no doubt that this promotion is due to the protection of his/her father. From now on it has a slave but it treats it like his own brother.
In 356, having been able to leave the army it goes to Poitiers to join Hilaire, bishop of the city since 350. It met Hilaire in one of its garrison towns. Hilaire has the same age that and belongs to him like him to the aristocracy, but he embraced the Christian faith tardily, and less is turned towards mortification and more intellectual; the man rained to him however and it thus decided to join him.
Its statute of former man of war prevents it from being priest and he refuses the function of Diacre which the bishop proposes to him. He thus becomes Exorciste what enables him to be confronted with concrete realities on the ground. This function of exorcist can indicate that Martin had gifts of healer.
Christendom is torn in its rows by currents of thoughts which are fought violently and physically until death; the ariens are the disciples of a priest, Arius which denies that Christ is God sons of God contrary to the trinitaires of the official church; at that time the ariens are very influential near a political power which seeks a new faith in a declining empire which feels its close end. Whereas Hilaire, a trinitaire, victim of its political enemies and religious tomb in disgrace and is exiled, Martin is informed “thinks about it” that it must join his parents in Illyrie in order to convert them. It succeeds in converting his mother but his/her father remains foreign with his Foi, this position can of the remainder be only tactical, the father trying to defend his privileged social status. In Illyrie it is the faith arienne which is the dominant faith and Martin who is enthusiastic representing faith trinitaire must undoubtedly have violent arguments with the ariens because he publicly is whipped then expelled. He flees and takes refuge with Milan but there too the ariens dominate and Martin is again driven out. He withdraws himself with companions in the deserted island of Gallinara not far from the port of Albenga and all nourish wild roots and grasses to exert their faith on the obvious model of Jean-Baptiste saint. Martin poisons himself with Hellébore and one needs of them little which it does not die. This episode would state once again that he was healer and would have perhaps tested on itself a remedy (the hellébore having medicinal virtues).
In 360, the trinitaires regain their political influence definitively and Hilaire finds its évêché. Martin is informed and returns itself from it to Poitiers. Martin is then 44 years old, it is installed on a Gallo-Roman field which Hilaire has and which this one yielded to him. Martin creates there small a Ermitage to 8 km of the city, it is Ligugé where it is joined by disciples. He creates here the first community of Moine S in Gaulle.
This first monastery is the place of the activity of evangelization of Martin saint during ten years. It achieves its first miracles and is thus made recognize by the small people like the saint man who it always wished to be.
Bishop of Turns
In 370 with Turns, the bishop in place comes to die; the inhabitants want to choose Martin but this one chose a way and does not aspire to being a bishop. The inhabitants thus remove it and proclaim it bishop the July 4th 371 without its assent; Martin subjects himself by thinking that it is without any doubt the divine will.
The other bishops hardly like it because it has a pitiful aspect which had with mortifications and to the excessive deprivations that it inflicts, it carries of clothing rustic and coarse, it is an example of holiness and true Christianity.
From now on it is bishop but it less does not continue to live as a saint man. It creates a new hermitage with 3 km in the North-East of the walls of the city: it is the origin of Marmoutier (Marmoutier means “large monastery” because into Gallic “large” says “mar” ) with for rule poverty, mortification and the Prière. The monks must dress themselves in coarse fabrics on the model of Saint Jean-Baptiste which was equipped with hair of camel. They copy Manuscrit S, fish in the the Loire; their life is very close to what one can read in the Évangile S on the life of the first apostles, until the caves which shelter in the slopes of the Loire of the dwellings Troglodyte S where take refuge the solitary monks.
The monastery is built out of wood; Martin lives in a wood hut in which it pushes back the “diabolic appearances and converses with the angels and the saints”: it is a made life of a virile courage and soldier that Martin imposes at his community.
All this world travels through the campaigns to foot, back of ass and by the the Loire; because Martin is always escorted of his monks and disciples, undoubtedly mainly for safety reasons because it does not fail to travel very far from Tours.
Elsewhere the authority of the bishop is limited to the enclosure of the city, with Martin it leaves the walls and penetrates deeply inside the grounds. Martin largely seems to have furrowed the territory of the Gaulle; where it could not go, it sent its Moine S.
At that time the campaigns are pagan, he thus traverses them making destroy temples and Idole S. He makes for example cut down a crowned pine; if it is Gallic, it is also in an obvious way the Gallic one which culturally killed the remainders of the Gallic civilization which remained at its time, it is the reproach there that one can make him, but it of it was undoubtedly not conscious.
He preaches and persuades the peasants, he forces for the example and feels reluctant to fight by the force. It is one time of monks and virgins, of insane of Christ. He says of a ewe mowed which she achieves the precept of the Gospel based on the division. He preaches by the word and by its force, he can speak with small and he uses with wonder psychology by his knowledge of daily realities and their transformation into images that the small people include/understand such as Christ made it. It replaces the pagan sanctuaries by churches and Ermitage S and extremely well including/understanding the man of the countryside and its needs, it gives itself the means of converting it per hour when the Christian faith is essentially confined behind the walls of the cities.
Marmoutier is used as training center for the evangelization and the spiritual colonization of the campaigns; it is essentially the first base of propagation of the Christianisme in Gaulle.
In 384, he pleads near Maxime so that Priscillien, heretic, and that the bishops of Spain made condemn for magic by the emperor, that is to say pardoned.
Did Martin thus have gifts of healer? If not how to explain all the miracles that one allots to him: it is said that it makes “spout out sources, that it cures the paralytic ones, had, the Lépreux, it ressuscite children, it makes speak the dumb men, he can even cure remotely, or via an object which he itself touched. He calms the furious animals and even hail. ”
Marmoutier counted 80 brothers living in community, resulting for the majority from the Aristocratie what made it possible Martin to enjoy a great influence and to make it receive by the emperors themselves. There exists from now on a " complicité" between the emperors and the bishops, between the capacity of the new faith and the political power. But that does not prevent Martin, with the table of the emperor, to serve in first the priest who accompanies it and to explain that priesthood is more eminent than imperial purple.
One day, indicator of the martins-fishermen to dispute fish, it explains to his disciples that the demons dispute same manner the hearts of the Christians. And the birds took the name of the bishop thus.
At the evening of its life, its presence is necessary to reconcile clerks with Candes, in the west of Turns; the urgency of the unit of the Church makes that in spite of its old age, it decides to go there low, where its intervention is crowned success. The following day, exhausted by this life of soldier of Christ, Martin dies in Candes on the Loire at the end of the autumn, the November 8th 397 on a bed of ash as died the saints men; disputed between Poitevins and Tourangeaux, its body is subtilized by the latter and quickly taken back by the river until Tours where it is buried the November 11th. In the passing of its body on the Loire between Poitiers and Tours, the flowers start to hatch in full November. This astonishing phenomenon will give rise to the expression " summer of the Martin" Saint; ! Its successor is Brice, one of his disciples.
Turns remained an important spiritual hearth. At the time Carolingian, Alcuin, adviser of Charlemagne, was named abbot of Saint Martin's day de Tours and Cormery. These abbeys were important hearths of the Carolingian Renaissance in the neighborhoods of year 800.
Today more than 236 communes bear its name to France and more: 4000 churches are placed under its term; its Christian name became the most frequent family name of France.
The Festival of the Saint Martin's day in Flanders
One celebrates in Flanders, the Saint Martin's day the evening of November 10th (as well as the evening of November 11th before the Second world war).
According to the legend, indeed, holy Martin carrying the fine words on the Flemish coasts, would have lost its ass left brouter elsewhere, whereas it tried évangéliser the fishermen of a small village, future Dunkirk. At the fallen night, the natives putting themselves at his research, with force lanterns, found it in the dunes, eating thistles and Oyat S.
To thank them, holy Martin transformed all small droppings of the ass into brioches to the particular form, which one calls Folard (Voolaeren, in Flemish), or craquandoules .
The children sing in French Flanders, this song, the evening of the Saint Martin's day:
- Boit wine
- In the street of the Capuchins
- It drank the drop
- It did not pay
- One put it at the door with a
- Coup of brush”
- Boit wine
while ravelling in the street, with a lantern in the shape of head, dug in a sugar beet. After the procession, one gives them a folard and an orange, and the contest of the most beautiful lantern is organized.
This way of celebrating the Saint Martin's day shows well that one sought to christianize former practices related to the pagan festival of Samain which survives under the name of Halloween the the United States. With the difference of Samain-Halloween which is a festival of the night and death, the Saint Martin's day is the festival of the life and the light.
A similar tradition also exists in Alsace and Germany in the Country of Bade like in the Netherlands.
Although of Christian inspiration, the Saint Martin's day in Flanders is a profane festival which, like Christmas, is celebrated in the schools Laïque S.
- the festival of the Saint Martin's day in Switzerland: it is about a gastronomical festival celebrated in Ajoie in the canton of the Jura.
- late Antiquity
Gallery of illustrations
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