Cloak of Saint Martin of Tours

Cloak of Saint Martin of Tours

St. Martin shares with the beggar his cloak. Höchster Castle. Frankfurt am Main

From his early youth, almost from his childhood, Martin had no choice. That is why, in a row he turned eighteen years old, Martin was in Gaul, where he had to perform military service as an officer in the cavalry imperial guard. It would be checking the posts posted at night around the military camp.

In the winter of 338, the military unit, in which Martin served, stood near the Gallic city of Amiens. It was terribly cold, and one day, while driving through the city gates, Martin met a half-naked beggar, almost completely stiff with cold. Those passing by did not pay any attention to him. Martin did not have anything with him, but his heart sank from compassion for this poor poor man. And then he, without hesitation, threw off his warm cloak and, cutting it into two halves, gave one to the beggar, and himself wrapped himself in the remaining half.
After this night, Martin was a phenomenon in the dream of Jesus Christ, clothed in half of his cloak, and the Savior said: “Martin clothed me with this cloak.”
When Martin woke up, he, as his biographer Sulpicius Severus, struck by such a marvelous vision, immediately took holy baptism.
After baptism, Martin left military service, which was completely alien to his pious inclinations. Becoming a civilian, he devoted himself entirely to the spiritual guidance of the Il Aria of the Pictavian, a famous theologian and bishop of Poitiers. Hilarius received the young man with a heartfelt affection and after a short test of his character dedicated him to exorcists.
Father Martin was not able to convert to Christianity, but after making a difficult journey to his homeland, he managed to persuade his mother to be baptized. While in Milan, he was persecuted by the Arians. Finally, Bishop Auxentius expelled Martin from Milan, after which he lived for some time an anchorite anchorite on one small island near Genoa. Then he, together with the returning from the East, Hilarius of Pictavi, again moved to Gaul.
In Gaul in the year 360 Martin retired in the Liguge desert, eight kilometers from Poitiers, where a small monastery soon arose around him. This monastery was the first in the territory of present-day France. In it, Martin served the Lord for ten years.
This is explained by the fact that the eastern traditions were organic for the then Gaul, for Christian enlightenment she received from Irenaeus of Lyons, who was a pupil of Polycarp of Smyrna, who in turn was directly associated with the Apostle John the Theologian, the head of the Church of the Maloasians.
In combination with the courageous and majestic appearance of the former military man, he especially had people with him. Becoming a bishop, Martin began with even greater energy to take care of the sick, the poor, the hungry, and he received for this nickname Martin the Most Merciful. At the same time, he was engaged in the conversion of pagans to Christianity.

Cloak of Saint Martin of Tours

Reliquary in the form of the head of St. Martina Toursky. Manufactured in Avignon. The end of the XIV century.

After taking up the episcopal chair, Martin Tursky almost simultaneously founded the famous monastic monastery in Marmoutier, three kilometers from the Tour. There were established the usual rules for Eastern monasticism: community of property, unconditional obedience, a single meal of food throughout the day, rough and simple clothes.
It should be noted that later many of the bishops who had worked gloriously in the field of the spread of Christian enlightenment among the Celts of the Gentiles came from Marmoutier. In fact, this monastery became the center of Christian propaganda in Gaul.
The scale of his popularity is evidenced by the fact that for the funeral of St. Martin of Tours, which took place on November 11, there were about two thousand monks (while in the Marmuthier the number of brethren did not exceed eighty people).
It can be safely asserted that no saint used such posthumous fame in the Christian West, as Martin Tursky. None of the more ancient martyrs can even be compared with him in this respect.
In conclusion of the story about Saint Martin of Tours and his cloak, I would like to note that for this sacred relic the French kings built a special building in Paris. Cloak in medieval Latin, as we have said, was called “sarra”, so the structure was called “cappella”. In addition to the cloak of Saint Martin of Tours, other symbols of royalty, the state seal and the royal archives were kept in the Paris chapel. Then, by analogy with the Paris chapel, this word began to denote other structures associated with the veneration of the holy relics.
In the end, the word “cappella” began to designate a chapel that is part of another building or built separately. In this case, the chapels often had an altar, that is, they were full-fledged churches, but more private ones (for example, house churches).
Also chapels began to be called rooms in the side naves of temples, intended for the storage of holy relics and relics.
Then the meaning of the word “cappella” was transferred to the choir singing in the chapel during the divine service. The musical term “a capella” means singing without a musical accompaniment, that is, as a church choir sings.
With the word “cappella” is associated and another Latin word “cappellanus”. So initially called the priest, who was in charge of storing the cloak of Saint Martin of Tours. Then all the priests who served in the chapels began to be called.

Cloak of Saint Martin of Tours

And here is another example of the etymological influence of Saint Martin and his cloak. Of course, it is very controversial, but you can not not mention it. It is assumed that the word “sarra” or “sare” (French cloak, cape) goes back to the history of the Capetiens, the French royal dynasty, whose representatives ruled from 987 to 1328. It was this dynasty – the third one after the Merovingians and the Carolingians – that gave the Valois and Bourbon dynasties as side branches.
The founder of the dynasty was Count of Paris Hugues Capet (Hugues Capet). Where did the earl get this nickname, it is not known exactly, but according to one version, this word is due to the fact that Hugo and his descendants had the right to appoint priests who kept a valuable relic – the cloak of St. Martin.