San Martino di Tours

Santo, vescovo (Sabaria, Pannonia, 316 o 317 - Candes, Touraine, 397). Dopo aver prestato servizio nell'esercito romano in cui suo padre era ufficiale, ricevette il battesimo a 18 anni ad Amiens; abbandonato l'esercito, si ritir˛ in un eremo sull'isola Gallinara, si fece monaco e nel 371 fu consacrato vescovo di Tours.

╚ celebrato come il fondatore del monachesimo occidentale. Fond˛ a LigugÚ il primo monastero d'Occidente e poi quello di Marmoutier (Maius Monasterium) verso il 375. Il suo mantello, da lui diviso con un povero, fu una reliquia tenuta in grande onore nel regno dei Franchi.

A Martino, il santo pi¨ popolare della Francia medievale e uno dei pi¨ popolari d'Europa, sono connesse molte tradizioni (preparazione di cibi speciali, accensione di fuochi, questua rituale), legate anche alla posizione della sua festa, l'11 novembre, alla chiusura dei raccolti.

Isola Gallinara di Ermia Sozomeno

Ecclesiastical History III,14

Although the Thracians, the Illyrians, and the other European nations were still inexperienced in monastic communities, yet they were not altogether lacking in men devoted to philosophy. Of these, Martin, the descendant of a noble family of Saboria in Pannonia, was the most illustrious. He was originally a noted warrior, and the commander of armies; but, accounting the service of God to be a more honorable profession, he embraced a life of philosophy, and lived, in the first place, in Illyria. Here he zealously defended the orthodox doctrines against the attacks of the Arian bishops, and after being plotted against and frequently beaten by the people, he was driven from the country.

He then went to Milan, and dwelt alone. He was soon, however, obliged to quit his place of retreat on account of the machinations of Auxentius, bishop of that region, who did not hold soundly to the Nicene faith; and he went to an island called Gallenaria, where he remained for some time, satisfying himself with roots of plants. Gallenaria is a small and uninhabited island lying in the Tyrrhenian Sea.

Martin was afterwards appointed bishop of the church of Tarracinae (Tours). He was so richly endowed with miraculous gifts that he restored a dead man to life, and performed other signs as wonderful as those wrought by the apostles. We have heard that Hilary, a man divine in his life and conversation, lived about the same time, and in the same country; like Martin, he was obliged to flee from his place of abode, on account of his zeal in defense of the faith.

(Ecclesiastical History - from a.d. 323 to a.d. 425 - translated from the Greek. Revised by Chester D. Hartranft, Hartford Theological Seminary - www.ccel.org) - Questo Martino Ŕ il futuro San Martino di Tours.