Wednesday, June 07, 2006
Martin was born in Tuscany, Italy. He grew up with a very good education and became a priest in Rome. In the year 649 he became pope. During that time people began arguing over the truths about Jesus and Pope Martin called a meeting of bishops. This meeting was named the Council of the Lateran. It clearly explained some of the beliefs and truths of the Catholic faith. Pope Martin knew the Council's explanations were true and it was his duty as pope to teach people the truth.
Some powerful Christians were not pleased about it. One such person was Emperor Constans II of Constantinople. He sent his soldiers to Rome to capture Martin and bring him to Constantinople. The soldiers kidnapped the Pope.
They took him right out of the Lateran Cathedral and smuggled him onto a ship. Pope Martin got sick, but they continued their journey. In October, 653, he was put in jail in Constantinople for three months. He was given only a little food and water each day. He wasn't even allowed to wash himself.
Pope Martin was put on trial and condemned to death. But then he was sent back to the same prison for three more months. Patriarch Paul of Constantinople pleaded for the pope's life. So instead of death, the pope was exiled and sent away from Italy. Pope Martin was put on a ship that took him across the Black Sea. In April, 654, it landed on the Russian peninsula called the Crimea.
Pope Martin was shocked at the suffering he was put through by those who were in charge of him. He wrote his own life story of those sad days. The pope said that he felt very sad to be forgotten by his relatives and members of the Church in Rome.
He knew they were afraid of the emperor. But at least, he said, they could have sent supplies of corn, oil and other basic needs. But they did not. They abandoned the pope because of fear.
The pope's exile lasted two years. He died around 656. Because of his terrible sufferings, he was proclaimed a martyr. He is the last of the popes so far to be considered a martyr. His feast day is April 13 th.