St. Martin: The patron saint of innkeepers and drunkards

St. Martin

The patron saint of innkeepers and drunkards, usually shown in art as a young mounted soldier dividing his cloak with a beggar. He was born of heathen parents but was converted in Rome, and became Bishop of Tours in 371, dying at Caudes forty years later.

His day is November 11, the day of the Roman Vinalia, or Feast of Bacchus; hence his purely accidental patronage (as above), and hence also the phrase Martin drunk.

The usual illustration of St. Martin is in allusion to the legend that when he was a military tribune stationed at Amiens, he once, in midwinter, divided his cloak with a naked beggar, who craved alms of him before the city gates. At night, the story says, Christ Himself appeared to the soldier, arrayed in this very garment.

No comments: