Erik Nitsche: Saint Martin of Tours
Artist: Erik Nitsche
St. Martin of Tours a Bishop, was born at Sabaria in German about 316 AD. He died at Candes, Touraine, most probably in 397. When he was young, his father, a military tribune, was transferred to Pavia in Italy, Martin accompanied him. When Martin reached adolescence, in accordance with the recruiting laws, he enrolled in the Roman army.
After Martin finish his military duties he embraced the monastic life which he adopted in Gallinaria. Soon a many monks joined him. This group formed the celebrated Benedictine Abbey of Ligugé. Martin remained about ten years in the monastery, but often left it to preach the Gospel in the central and western parts of Gaul, where the rural inhabitants continued idolatrous practices. The memory of Martin's journeys survives today in numerous local legends of which Martin is the hero.
In spite of the opposition of a few ecclesiastical dignitaries, popular acclamation constrained Martin to become Bishop of the Church of Tours. He was consecrated on 4 July. He did not, however, change his way of life. He left the distractions of the large city and lived in a small cell a short distance from Tours. This formed a new monastery, which surpassed that of Ligugé and continues today as Marmoutier.
This painting originally appeared on the Fleetwood® First Day Cover for Germany.
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