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Religious figures biography (1)


Martinus, bishop of Tours,

Martinus, bishop of Tours, hence designated Turonensis, was born in Pannonia, about the year 316, was educated at Pavia, and in the early part of his life served as a soldier, first under Constantine, afterwards under Julian. While yet in the army he embraced the true faith; and after he had obtained his discharge, attached himself closely to Hilarius of Poitiers, by whose advice he returned to his native country, for the purpose of converting his kindred. During the sway of Constantine he was exposed to bitter persecution from the Arians, whose doctrines he steadfastly assailed; but after this storm had in some measure passed away from the church, he returned to Gaul; and about 360 again sought the society of Hilarius, and founded a monastery. From thence he was reluctantly dragged in 371, to occupy the see of Tours, and speedily attained such celebrity on account of his sanctity and power of working miracles, that, to avoid the multitudes attracted by his fame, he sought refuge in a neighbouring monastery; and over this he presided until his death, which took place in his eightieth year, towards the very close of the fourth century. We possess a life of the saint written by Sulpicius Severus, filled with the most puerile fables, from which we gather that he was a man totally devoid of mental culture, whose wild fanaticism and austerities seriously affected his reason; and that, although an object of awe and reverence to the crowd, sober-minded persons considered his sordid apparel, dishevelled hair, and beggarly aspect, as unbecoming in a Christian dignitary. Under the name of Martinus we possess a very short Confessio Fidei de Sancta Trinitate the authenticity of which is doubtful. It will be found in almost all the large collections of fathers and councils, and under its best form in Galland, vol. vii. p. 599; Proleg. c. xviii. p. xxvi. (Schenemann, Biblioth. Patr. Lat. vol. i. 19.)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Oct 2006 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

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