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Saint Martin I

Pope and Martyr

Martin, concerning whose life we know much from the Pontifical Book and from his letters, was born at Todi in Tuscany. In those days it was customary, before the consecration of a Pope, to get the confirmation of the election from the Emperor; but when Martin was elected, he did not seek it, because this same, Constans II, had placed himself outside the Church through heresy. At the beginning of his Popedom, however, in the year 649, he was careful to send an embassage with letters to Paul, Patriarch of Constantinople, to call upon him to return to the truth of the Catholic Faith from the blasphemous heresy of the Monothelites. But Paul, backed up by the heretical Emperor, banished the Legates of the Apostolic See into divers places in the Islands. This evil deed moved the Pope to gather together at the Lateran a council of one hundred and five bishops, by whom Paul was condemned, and certain heretical edicts of the Emperor were censured.

Thereupon Constans sent his Chamberlain Olympius into Italy, as Exarch, straitly commanding him to bring to naught this resistance of Pope Martin to the Monothelites. But Olympius found no way to bring harm to Martin, and soon departed. Whereupon Constans sent the Exarch Theodore Calliopas to Rome, with command to lay hands on the Pope. By him Martin was treacherously taken to the Island of Naxos. Later he was brought to Constantinople, where he was kept in prison till he was sent to the Crimea.

There his sufferings for the Catholic Faith utterly broke him down; and he left this life in the eighth year of his pontificate, on September 16th, 655. November 12th is reputed to be the day of his translation, for his body was afterwards brought to Rome, and buried in the Church dedicated under the names of Saints Sylvester and Martin of Tours. He ruled the Church for six years, one month, and twenty-six days, and was the last of the Popes to be honoured with the Martyr's title. He held two ordinations in the month of December, wherein he made eleven priests, five deacons, and thirty-three bishops for divers places.


BE merciful to the people of thy flock, O Lord, eternal Shepherd and Bishop of the souls of men: and keep us in thy continual protection; at the intercession of thy blessed Martyr, the Holy Father Martin, whom thou didst raise up in thy Church to be thine under-shepherd. Through the same our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Spirit ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

The Anglican Breviary, Frank Gavin Liturgical Foundation, Inc., New York, 1955, pages 1560-1561

Additional Information:

The Anglican Breviary is available at the Anglican Breviary website.

The Ordo Kalendar may be purchased from the Anglican Parishes Association.