Did you know Martin was papal? And a papal mystery solved …

I’ve looked through the list of popes a handful of times, but I never once noticed Pope Martin! There have been at least five of them! (I only saw references to I and V so there might have been more …)*

Pope St. Martin I seems to be the most famous — he “suffered exile and humiliation for his defense of orthodoxy in a dispute over the relationship between Christ’s human and divine natures” — and his feast day is April 13. I can’t remember now how I stumbled upon this info today, but I like it. (Incidentally, he was named successor to Pope Theodore I — also a name I didn’t remember as being papal!) (Oh I remember how I came across it — he was pope during the First Lateran Council, when he defined the three-pronged dogma of Mary’s virginity — “before, during, and after Jesus’ birth”) (“during” of course referring to the miraculous nature of his birth as “light passes through glass without harming the glass” and Mary remained “intact,” which we talked more about here).

I’ve always liked the name Martin (St. Martin de Porres is a favorite of mine), but knowing that it’s papal makes it extra sparkly to me!

*ETA: Okay I looked up a listing of the popes and found “A complete list of every single pope in the last 2000 years, in chronological order. Links to a biographical essay on each” on New Advent. I did a quick search for “Martin,” to see how many there are, and found … three: Martin I, Martin IV, and Martin V. What happened to II and III? Strangely, when I googled “Pope Martin II,” I discovered that Pope Marinus I was also known as Pope Martin II, and Pope Marinus II was also known as Pope Martin III. Not to fear — Encyclopedia Britannica explains:

Martin (II),  nonexistent pope. In the 13th century the papal chancery misread the names of the two popes Marinus as Martin, and as a result of this error Simon de Brie in 1281 assumed the name of Pope Martin IV instead of Martin II. The enumeration has not been corrected, and thus there exist no Martin II and Martin III.”

And now we all know a little more Church history. 😉

I could do lots of posts on interesting papal names, and I will! In the meantime — which are your favorites?


10 thoughts on “Did you know Martin was papal? And a papal mystery solved …

  1. I never associated Martin with the popes either. St. Martin of Tours and St. Martin de Porres are already great reasons to love the name.
    I love Leo and Gregory! Great popes and great names! I also love St. Clement, though his name would be harder to get away with on a boy today. A friend of mine has a Clementine, though, and that name is definitely on the rise.


    • I love those too, all great names. St. Clement’s is my parish (Hofbauer, not Pope) so I’ve considered it! I did know one man with the name, an elderly artist — it definitely fit him. I could see it! It would be a bold choice for sure …


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