Commemorated on February 13
Saint Martin the
Merciful was from the time of his youth distinguished by his benevolent
heart and great pity for the poor. At age 20, before even he had accepted
Baptism, he began to give away all his subsistence to the needy, and soon he
himself remained with but only one set of clothes and a knife.
It was winter, and
bitterly cold, and he saw a beggar begging alms at the city gates, but no one
gave him anything but instead just passed right by. Saint Martin was deeply
distressed at seeing this. Finally he took his tunic off himself, cut it in
half with his knife and gave the beggar the one half, while the other half he
used to cover his own nakedness. Many scoffed at the saint, seeing how he was
dressed. At night, shivering in the cold, he saw in a dream our Lord Jesus
Christ Himself, dressed in half of the tunic – that very one he had given to
the beggar. The Lord said to the Angels while pointing to this tattered cloth:
"Martin even before his Baptism hath covered Me with this cloth, and I
shalt clothe him in glory, and at death I shalt call him into My Kingdom".
Having awakened, the saint immediately went and was baptised. The rest of his
life he spent incessantly working at charity, and he was vouchsafed the gift of
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.