St Martin I, Pope & Martyr

Acts 6.1-7; Psalm 32; John 6.16-21

Martin (born between 590 and 600; died in 655) was born in Umbria of noble parents.  He was sent by Pope John IV to Dalmatia to relieve the suffering of the people there; Pope Theodore sent him as ambassador to Constantinople.  He was elected Pope in 649 as Theodore’s successor.   He was a deacon at the time and had himself consecrated without waiting for the imperial ratification of the election.  Martin then convoked a synod at the Lateran to condemn monothelitism (the belief that Jesus Christ did not have a human will).  Emperor Constans II tried unsuccessfully to have Martin arrested and brought to trial in Constantinople but in 653 Rome was invaded by Theodore Collipas who imprisoned the Pope and eventually brought him to Constantinople where he was charged with treason and condemned to death.  The Patriarch of Constantinople intervened on the Pope’s behalf and the sentence was commuted to imprisonment.  Sent to the Crimea in 655, Martin died of starvation after three months.  He is the last Pope to have been martyred.

Posted in Daily Reflection.