Catholic Saints

Saint Martin

  • Short, concise biography of Saint Martin
  • History, Life, Biography, Facts and Information about Saint Martin
  • Fast, concise facts and information about Saint Martin
  • What is Saint Martin the patron of?
  • Date of Death
  • How Saint Martin is represented in Christian Art
  • Feast Day

The Patron Saint Martin

What is the definition and the meaning of the Patron Saints and why were these people chosen to become patrons of causes, professions and countries?

The term 'Patron' is used in Christian religions, including the Roman Catholic religion, to describe holy and virtuous men and women who are considered to be a defender of a specific group of people or of a country.

There is a patron for virtually every cause, country, profession or special interest.

There are two categories of saints: martyrs and confessors.

Fast, concise facts and information about Saint Martin
The following provides fast and concise facts and information:

  • The patron of Vintners and Alcoholics
  • Memorial Day / Feast Day: November 12th formerly November 11th
  • Born: 316 in Savaria, Pannonia (modern Szombathely, Hungary)
  • Date of Death: Saint Martin died in A.D. 397
  • Cause of Death: Natural Causes

Who or what is Saint Martin the patron saint of?
Saint Martin is the patron of Vintners and Alcoholics. Meanings, definition and origins - a patron is considered to be a defender of a specific group of people or of a nation. There is a patron for virtually every cause, profession or special interest. Prayers are considered more likely to be answered by asking a patron for intercession on their behalf.

The Story and History of Saint Martin
The story and history of Saint Martin. Martin was born at Savaria, Pannonia (Hungary) in 316. He was the son of a tribune in the Roman army serving during the rule of the Roman Emperor Constantine I (311-337) who would become the first Christian Roman Emperor. His father was then stationed at Ticinum (Pavia, Italy), where Martin grew up. His father worshipped the pagan Roman Gods but Martin was curious about the new Christian religion, which had been legalised in 316. Martin converted to Christianity, as did his mother, but his father disapproved and remained a pagan. Martin followed his father's career and joined the Roman Army when he was fifteen years of age. Martin was stationed in Amiens, Gaul (modern France) in 334.  Martin is strongly associated with the Legend of the Cloak. The legend tells that Martin, the Roman soldier, cut his own military cloak in half and shared it with a scantily clad beggar. Martin was then baptised in the Christian faith and continuing serving as a Roman soldier until it became apparent that this career was at odds with the teachings of Christianity. He resigned his post and was imprisoned as a traitor and coward but later released. He then moved on and lived his life as a hermit. Martin then lived in the city of Tours, where he became a disciple of Hilary of Poitiers and together they established a monastery. In 371 Martin was appointed by the will of the people as the bishop of Tours.

Death of Saint Martin
There are two categories of saints: martyrs and confessors. A Christian martyr is regarded as one who is put to death for his Christian faith or convictions. Confessors are people who died natural deaths. Date of Death: Saint Martin died in A.D. 397. Cause of Death: Natural Causes. 

Why is Saint Martin the patron of Vintners and Alcoholics?
Why is Saint Martin is the patron of Vintners and Alcoholics? Saint Martin is the patron of vintners, and incidentally of drunkards, for two reasons. In the first place, when the emperor who had invited him to a banquet wished to do him a great honour by offering him the wine-cup before he drank himself, Saint Martin instantly handed it to a poor priest who was standing behind him; "thus showing that he accounted the least of the servants of God before the greatest rulers of the earth." Secondly, November 11th, or Martinmas Day, was originally the Vinalia, or Feast of Bacchus, among the Romans. When, therefore, the Christian Church merged Bacchus into St. Martin, those who were employed in the vineyards came to look upon the saint as their patron; while drunkards were recommended to invoke him to save them from their sin.

How Saint Martin is represented in Christian Art
It is helpful to be able to recognise Saint Martin in paintings, stained glass windows, illuminated manuscripts, architecture and other forms of Christian art. The artistic representations reflect the life or death of saints, or an aspect of life with which the person is most closely associated. Saint Martin is represented in Christian Art as a man on horseback cutting his cloak in half for a beggar.

Feast Day of Saint Martin
The Feast Day of Saint Martin is November 11th. The origin of Feast Days: most saints have specially designated feast days and are associated with a specific day of the year and these are referred to as the saint's feast day. The feast days first arose from the very early Christian custom of the annual commemoration of martyrs on the dates of their deaths at the same time celebrating their birth into heaven.

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