St Martin the Confessor, Pope of Rome: Life and Canon


Commemorated on April 14/27

Saint Martin the Confessor, Pope of Rome, was a native of the Tuscany region of Italy. He received a fine education and entered into the clergy of the Roman Church. After the death of Pope Theodore I (642-649), Martin was chosen to succeed him.

At this time the peace of the Church was disturbed by the Monothelite heresy (the false doctrine that in Christ there is only one will. He has a divine, and a human will). The endless disputes of the Monothelites with the Orthodox took place in all levels of the population. Even the emperor Constans (641-668) and Patriarch Paul of Constantinople (641-654) were adherents of the Monothelite heresy. The emperor Constans II published the heretical “Pattern of Faith” (Typos), obligatory for all the population. In it all further disputes were forbidden.

The heretical “Pattern of Faith” was received at Rome in the year 649. Saint Martin, a firm supporter of Orthodoxy, convened the Lateran Council at Rome to condemn the Monothelite heresy. At the same time Saint Martin sent a letter to Patriarch Paul, persuading him to return to the Orthodox confession of faith. The enraged emperor ordered the military commander Olympius to bring Saint Martin to trial. But Olympius feared the clergy and the people of Rome who had descended upon the Council, and he sent a soldier to murder the holy hierarch. When the assassin approached Saint Martin, he was blinded. The terrified Olympius fled to Sicily and was soon killed in battle.

In 654 the emperor sent another military commander, Theodore, to Rome. He accused Saint Martin of being in secret correspondence with the enemies of the Empire, the Saracens, and of blaspheming the Most Holy Theotokos, and of uncanonically assuming the papal throne.

Despite the proofs offered by the Roman clergy and laity of Saint Martin’s innocence, the military commander Theodore with a detachment of soldiers seized Saint Martin by night and took him to Naxos, one of the Cyclades islands in the Aegean Sea. Saint Martin spent an entire year on this almost unpopulated island, suffering deprivation and abuse from the guards. Then they sent the exhausted confessor to Constantinople for trial.

They carried the sick man on a stretcher, but the judges callously ordered him to stand up and answer their questions. The soldiers propped up the saint, who was weakened by illness. False witnesses came forward slandering the saint and accusing him of treasonous relations with the Saracens. The biased judges did not even bother to hear the saint’s defense. In sorrow he said, “The Lord knows what a great kindness you would show me if you would deliver me quickly over to death.”

After such a trial they brought the saint out in tattered clothes to a jeering crowd. They shouted, “Anathema to Pope Martin!” But those who knew the holy Pope was suffering unjustly, withdrew in tears. Finally the sentence was announced: Saint Martin was to be deposed from his rank and executed. They bound the half-naked saint with chains and dragged him to prison, where they locked him up with thieves. These were more merciful to the saint than the heretics.

In the midst of all this the emperor went to the dying Patriarch Paul and told him of the trial of Saint Martin. He turned away from the emperor and said, “Woe is me! This is another reason for my judgment.” He asked that Saint Martin’s torments be stopped. The emperor again sent a notary and other persons to the saint in prison to interrogate him. The saint answered, “Even if they cripple me, I will not have relations with the Church of Constantinople while it remains in its evil doctrines.” The torturers were astonished at the confessor’s boldness, and they commuted his death sentence to exile at Cherson in the Crimea.

There the saint died, exhausted by sickness, hunger and deprivations on September 16, 655. He was buried outside the city in the Blachernae church of the Most Holy Theotokos, and later the relics of the holy confessor Martin were transferred to Rome.

The Monothelite heresy was condemned at the Sixth Ecumenical Council in 680.


Troparion, Tone 3: Thou didst strengthen the Church with true doctrine, / O wise hierarch Martin, / declaring the two natures of Christ, / putting heresy to shame. / Entreat the Lord to grant us His great mercy.

Kontakion, Tone 8: O High Priest and teacher of the mysteries, / thou didst pour forth streams of doctrine, / expounding the true doctrine of the two natures and wills of Christ. / Intercede for those who cry: “Rejoice, O blessed Father Martin.”

The Orthodox Church in America

20 апреля 2017 г.


Canon of the holy hierarch, the composition of Joseph, in Tone VIII.

Ode I, Irmos: Irmos: That which had been hewn down divided the undivided, * and land unseen was seen by the sun; * water engulfed the cruel enemy, * and Israel traversed the impassable, chanting a hymn: * Let us sing unto the Lord, * for gloriously hath He been glorified!

Holy Father, Martin the Confessor, pray to God for us.

Thou didst endure many sufferings for Christ God, O Martin, and now hast departed unto the life which is devoid of pain, having struggled well; wherefore, ease thou the cruel pangs of my soul, that, enlightened by thy supplications, I may chant unto thee.

Holy Father, Martin the Confessor, pray to God for us.

Thou didst teach that Christ is transcendent God, One of the adored Trinity, of two natures, two wills and two activities; and all who do not worship Him thus thou didst cast forth, O blessed and most sacred Martin.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

Adorned with true understanding and faith, O Martin, thou didst openly denounce those who were mindless and inclined to irrationality, reasoning that there is but one will in Christ; and, rejoicing, thou didst cry out: Let us chant unto the Lord, for gloriously hath He been glorified!

Now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

He Who is invisible in His divine nature became a visible Babe through thee, becoming man and truly possessing two wills and activities within one Hypostasis. Him do thou entreat, O most immaculate one, that He save all who hymn thee with love.

Ode III, Irmos: Thy fear, O Lord, do Thou plant * in the hearts of Thy servants * and be Thou the confirmation of us * who in truth call upon Thee.

Holy Father, Martin the Confessor, pray to God for us.

Full of divine zeal, O all-blessed Martin, thou didst convoke a council of priests confirming the doctrine of the Church.

Holy Father, Martin the Confessor, pray to God for us.

In the midst of the council thou didst anathematize Pyrrhus, Sergius, Theodore and Cyrus, and all heretics who uttered foolish things like them, O father.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

Exiled from Rome by force, like the sun thou didst make a circuit, shedding thy radiant beams and illumining all the Orthodox, O venerable one.

Now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

O all-holy maiden, in a manner past all telling thou hast given birth to Him. Who is equally worshipped and co-enthroned with the Father, and Who possesseth two activities and two wills.

Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

Sessional Hymn, Tone IV: Spec. Mel. “Having been lifted up …”: Adorned with sacred confessions, and having completed a martyric life, O wise Martin, hastening to the heavens thou hast been crowned by God with a never-fading wreath. Wherefore, we celebrate thy holy memory, crying aloud: Remember us, O sacred and blessed one, as thou standest before Christ!

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit; now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Theotokion, Tone IV: O Theotokosfleeing to thy divine protection after God, * I humbly fall down and beseech thee: * Have mercy, O most pure one, * for my sins have submerged my being, * and trembling O Sovereign Lady, I fear the torments to come, * O pure one, entreat thy Son, ** that I may be delivered from them.

Stavrotheotokion (replaces the Theotokion on Wednesdays and Fridays): She who in latter times gave birth to Thee in the flesh, * O Christ Who wast begotten of the beginningless Father, * when she saw Thee hanging upon the Cross, cried out: * “Woe is me, O Jesus most beloved! * How is it that Thou Who art worshipped as God by the angels, * art now crucified by iniquitous men? ** I hymn Thee, O Long-suffering One!”Continue reading