medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
Martinian(us) the Hermit (d. ca. 420, supposedly). Given the existence of other saints of this name (M. of the Roman martyrs Processus and Martinian; M. of the Seven Sleepers of Ephesus; M. of Milan; M. of Belozero) some onomastic specification is advisable. As often, the specifications vary: today's Martinian is also known as Martinian of Caesarea, Martinian of Palestine, and Martinian the Righteous. According to his legendary pre-metaphrastic Bios (BHG 1177) and its tenth-century expansion by St. Symeon the Metaphrast (BHG 1178-1179), when he was a young man Martinian became an hermit on an elevation in the vicinity of his native Caesarea in Palestine. When he had been there for twenty-five years a harlot named Zoe attempted to seduce him. But Martinian went into his cell, where he had a fire burning, stepped barefoot into the flames, and endured the pain for as long as he could as a way of reminding him of the much greater torments of hell should he succumb. Thus fortified spiritually (though his feet required seven months to heal), he converted the temptress and sent her to spend her days very ascetically in St. Paula's monastery near Bethlehem. Later Martinian moved to an island off the coast of Palestine, where he received supplies periodically from a passing sailor, recompensing the latter with baskets that he wove.
Still according to these texts, when a shipwrecked woman named Photeine came ashore on the island, Martinian left the place to her. Setting off on two dolphins, he began a peripatetic existence that ended when, dying, he arrived in Athens. There he entered a church and -- much to the displeasure of these who were in it and who took Martinian for a fool -- called for the bishop. The latter worthy came promptly, received the dying saint, blessed him, and was divinely inspired to know about all the events of his past self-martyrdom. These the bishop publicly revealed, making Martinian's exemplary life a matter of general knowledge.
Opinions differ as to whether there were ever an actual hermit saint Martinian to whose name this edifying but not altogether credible narrative became attached.
Some medieval images of Martinian the Hermit:
Martinian the Hermit in prayer as depicted in the later tenth- or very early eleventh-century so-called Menologion of Basil II (Città del Vaticano, BAV, cod. Vat. gr. 1613, p. 395):
Martinian the Hermit as depicted in the earlier eleventh-century mosaics (restored between 1953 and 1962) in the katholikon of the monastery of Hosios Loukas near Distomo in Phokis:
Martinian the Hermit as depicted in the late thirteenth-century frescoes (ca. 1295) by Eutychios and Michael Astrapas in the church of the Peribleptos (now Sv. Kliment Ohridski) in Ohrid:
Martinian the Hermit in prayer as depicted in a calendar scene in the earlier fourteenth-century frescoes (between 1313 and 1318; conservation work in 1968) by Michael Astrapas and Eutychios in the church of St. George at Staro Nagoričane in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia:
Martinian the Hermit as depicted in the earlier sixteenth-century frescoes (1546/47) by George / Tzortzis the Cretan in the Dionysiou monastery on Mt. Athos:
(matter from an earlier post revised)
On 02/13/15, Matt Heintzelman wrote:
> “Once a profligate woman made a wager with some dissolute people that she could seduce St Martinian, the fame of whose virtuous life had spread throughout all the city. She came to him one night pretending that she had lost her way in the storm, and asking for shelter. The saint let her enter, unable to turn her away in such a storm. He went into his room and locked the door. The wicked guest changed into beautiful clothes and began to tempt the ascetic.” (http://oca.org/saints/all-lives/2015/02/13)
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