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Head reliquary of St. Martin of Tours.

Head reliquary of St. Martin of Tours.

Marie-Lan Nguyen/Wikimedia Commons.
Definition: Martin of Tours came from Pannonia (now, Hungary) [see Pannonia in this Map of the eastern provinces of the Roman Empire] where he served as a soldier. He became a monk and a bishop in Tours, a city of Gaul and now France. Martin, the patron saint of France, is hailed as the founder of monasticism in Gaul.

Martin was born to pagan parents, but became Christian when he was about 10. He was born about 316 A.D. and died in A.D. 397 on November 11 (possibly November 8). Sulpicius Severus was a disciple and biographer of Martin of Tours, the author of the Vita Martini.

As a soldier in the army of Julian the Apostate, Martin asked to be discharged for his faith. Martin became a missionary in Pannonia and Illyricum, where he opposed Arianism, and accordingly, was forced out by the Arians. He went to Italy and then Gaul founding the first monastery there.

Martin was made bishop in A.D. 371.

Sources: Encyclopedia Britannica and Encyclopedia of the Middle Ages.

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Martin of Tours was one of the first Christians to be made a saint (canonized) without having been martyred.

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