Tuesday, November 12, 2013
St. Martin I
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SemiDouble (1955 Calendar): November 12

Today the Church celebrates the holy life of Pope St. Martin I.  Born in Umbria, St. Martin would become the head of the Catholic Church from July 21, 649, until his death in 655.

He was born near Todi, Umbria, in a place now named after him (i.e. Pian di San Martino). St. Martin acted as the papal apocrisiarius or legate at Constantinople and was held in high repute for his learning and virtue. He succeeded Pope Theodore I in July 649. He was the only pope during the Byzantine Papacy whose election was not approved by a iussio from Constantinople.

St. Martin I conduced the Lateran Council which condemned the patriarch of Constantinople for Monothelitism, which heretically claimed that Christ had no human will. This put the holy saint in opposition to Emperor Constans II who had him arrested and tortured. Paul, Patriarch of Constantinople, repented of his stance which saved Martin from execution, but the pope died in the Crimean Peninsula soon after from damage done during his imprisonment.  He is considered the last martyred pope.

Traditional Matins Reading:

Martin was born at Todi in Umbria. Upon ascending the pontifical throne, he strove by letters and embassies to recall Paul, Patriarch of Constantinople from his wicked heresy to the true Catholic faith. But, supported by the heretical emperor Constans, Paul was so carried away as to exile the legates of the Apostolic See to various islands. The Pope, indignant at this outrage, summoned a council of one hundred and five bishops at Rome, in which he condemned Paul.

Upon this Constans sent the exarch Olympius into Italy, with orders either to kill Pope Martin or else to bring him to the emperor. Olympius, on reaching Rome, charged a lictor to assassinate the Pope as he was celebrating Mass in St. Mary's at the Crib. But the man, attempting to do so, was suddenly struck blind.

From that time many ca­lamities befel the emperor Constans, which however made him no better; and he sent Theodore Calliopus to Rome to seize the Pope. By his deceitful dealing Martin was arrested and led prisoner to Constantinople. Thence he was banished into the Chersonesus; where, on the eve of the Ides of November, he died worn out by his sufferings for the Catholic faith, and not without the glory of miracles. His body was afterwards translated to Rome, and placed in the church dedicated to Saints Sylvester and Martin. He governed the church six years, one month, and twenty-six days. He held two ordinations in the month of December, and ordained eleven priests, five deacons, and thirty-three bishops for divers places.  

Prayer:

O Eternal Shepherd, who appointed blessed Martin shepherd of the whole Church, let the prayers of this martyr and supreme pontiff move You to look with favor upon Your flock and to keep it under Your continual protection. Through our Lord...


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