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Saint Pope Martin I

Saint Pope Martin I
  • Century: 7th Century
  • Patronage: -
  • Feast Day: April 13th

Pope Martin I was Pope from July 21, 649 to September 16, 655.  He was born near Todi, Umbria, in the place now named after him, Pian di San Martino.  He succeeded Pope Theodore I.  He was the only Pope during the Byzantine Papacy whose election was not approved by an “Iussio” from Constantinople.  He also was abducted by Emperor Constans II, and died in the Crimean Peninsula.  He is considered a martyr for this reason.  He had previously acted as Papal Apocrisiarius or Legate, at Constantinople.  He also was help in high esteem for his learning and virtue.  

One of his first official acts was to summon the Lateran Council of 649 to deal with the Monothelites, whom the Church considered heretical.  The Council met in the Church of St. John Lateran, and was attended by 105 Bishops.  In more than twenty canons, they condemned Monothelitism, its authors, and the writings by which Monothelitism had been promulgated.  In this condemnation – individuals were singled out for their errors.  Pope Martin was very energetic in publishing the decrees of the Lateran Council of 649 in an Encyclical, and Constans replied by sending his Governor in Italy to arrest the Pope should he persist in this line of conduct and send Martin as a Prisoner to Rome of Constantinople.  

These orders were found impossible to carry out for a considerable amount of time, but finally, Martin was arrested in the Lateran on June 17, 653, along with Maximus the Confessor.  He was hurried out Rome and was taken to Constantinople.  After suffering an exhausting imprisonment and many alleged public indignities, he was ultimately banished to Chersonesos, a present day city in southern Ukraine.  He arrived there on May 15, 655 and died on September 16th of that same year.  

Practical Take Away

Pope Martin I was our 74th Pope.  One of his first official acts was to summon the Lateran Council of 649 to deal with the Monothelites, whom the Church considered heretical.  The Council met in the Church of St. John Lateran, and was attended by 105 Bishops.  In more than twenty canons, they condemned Monothelitism, its authors, and the writings by which Monothelitism had been promulgated.  He also was help in high esteem for his learning and virtue. He was captured and imprisoned, and he died on September 16, 655 while in exile.