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Monday, October 23, 2017
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Daily Saint


April 13: St. Martin

St. Martin was a priest of Rome who had a reputation for being well-educated and holy. He became pope in July, 649. When people were arguing over the truths about Jesus, Pope Martin called a meeting of bishops. This meeting was the Council of the Lateran. It explained clearly what we believe about certain truths. However, some Christians were not pleased about it. Pope Martin knew the Council's explanations were true. It was his duty as pope to teach people the truth.

Some powerful men did not appreciate Pope Martin's activities. One such person was Emperor Constans II of Constantinople. He sent his soldiers to Rome to capture Martin and bring him to Constantinople. The soldiers kidnapped the pope. They took him right out of the Lateran Cathedral and snuck him onto a ship. Pope Martin got sick, but they continued their journey. In October, 653, he was put in jail in Constantinople for three months. He was given only a little food and water each day. He wasn't even allowed to wash himself. Pope Martin was put on trial, publicly humiliated and condemned to death. But then he was sent back to the same prison for three more months. Patriarch Paul of Constantinople pleaded for the pope's life. So instead of death, the pope was sentenced to be exiled. Pope Martin was put on a ship that took him across the Black Sea. In April, 654, it landed on the Russian peninsula called the Crimea.

Pope Martin was shocked at the neglect he suffered from those who were in charge of his captivity. He wrote his own account of those sad days. The pope said that he felt very bad to be forgotten by his relatives and members of the Church in Rome. He knew they were afraid of the emperor. But at least, he said, they could have sent supplies of corn, oil and other basic needs. But they did not. They abandoned the pope because of fear.

The pope's exile lasted two years. He died around 656. Because of his terrible sufferings, he was proclaimed a martyr. He is the last of the popes so far to be considered a martyr.

Reflection: Can I appreciate the gifts of others and be thankful for them, or do I fall into the trap of envying them?