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Martin of Tours, Saint

charity medieval cloak frequently

One of the most popular and frequently represented *saints in medieval art, Martinbecame bishop of Tours . His biography was written by his friend Sulpicius Severus, later elaborated in the sixth century by the historian Gregory of Tours, and again in the * Golden Legend of Jacobus de Voragine. Famed for his piety, charity, and zealous missionary work, Martin and episodes from his life appear in art as early as the fifth century and throughout the medieval period, especially in the vast number of churches dedicated to him in France and England. Among the most popular subjects are the episode when Martin, as a soldier in the Roman army, divided his cloak with a freezing beggar (later *Christ appeared to him in a dream wearing that half of the cloak, inspiring Martin’s conversion); the miraculous appearance of a ball of fire (symbolic of his burning charity) descending on his head when he was celebrating Mass dressed in a smock (he had given his chasuble to a beggar he had met while en route to church); his being knighted by Constantius II; his renunciation of military life when he stood on   a battlefield unarmed and holding only a *cross, plus various other *miracles, acts of charity, and healing scenes. He is also frequently depicted on horseback.
Martyrdom [next] [back] Martin, Archer (John Porter)

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