Martin I, pope and martyr - April 13th
St Martin I (d. 655, Chersonesus Taurica or ‘Cherson/Kherson’, Ukraine) (Relics: Rome, Italy)
Pope Martin I was exiled to Crimea in 654 AD by Emperor Constans II. The pope ardently opposed the heresy of Monothelitism and the emperor’s attempt to halt debates over it. As a result, he suffered exile and death in Crimea.
First Class Relics
San Martino ai Monti
(Saint Martin at the Hills)
Viale Monte Oppio 28
*This church is south of the Basilica of St Mary Major.
*The greater part of the remains of St Martin I were transferred from Crimea to this church in Rome. They now rest in the confessio below the main altar. This confessio also houses the relics of many other saints taken from the Catacombs of Priscilla.
*A tradition claims that the pope, St Sylvester I (d. 335), and many other bishops met here to prepare for the Council of Nicaea. They then reconvened at this same church after the Council to announce the newly formulated Nicene Creed. Constantine was in attendance for this. The large painting on the left side of the nave created in 1640 recalls one of these meetings. However, this tradition is often tied to the ‘Symmachian Forgeries’ thus throwing some doubt on its credibility. Nevertheless, it does seem probable that some agreement was achieved between Constantine and St Sylvester I that allowed for the success of the Council of Nicaea.