Gregory the Great vs. Martin of Tours

With another weekend rife with Lent Madness Withdrawal (LMW) behind us, we turn our attention to the final three first round match-ups. Now, to our credit, we did try to help everyone get through the weekend with a Group Hug. But today it’s back to business with Gregory the Great (who defeated Gregory of Nyssa in an earlier play-in round) taking on Martin of Tours. As two bishops square off for the first time in Lent Madness 2013, we’re left to wonder which one will leave the arena with a cracked crozier?

After today, the remaining first round battles pit Therese of Lisieux against Martha of Bethany and Edward Thomas Demby versus Dorothy Day. On Thursday the Round of the Saintly Sixteen kicks off with two modern martyrs: Jonathan Daniels vs. Janani Luwum. But in the meantime, hang onto your hats, miters, or any preferred headgear of your choice!

Gregory the GreatGregory the Great

Long before he was known as “Gregory the Great,” he was just another boy born to an elite Roman family. His father owned estates in Sicily and the family home was a mansion on Caelian Hill. However, the mighty empire was in decline by his birth in 540. As a boy Gregory lived through repeated invasions by the Goths and Franks and a devastating plague. While his experiences are not recorded, it would be unlikely that he was unaffected by the uncertainties of civil society and his place in it.

Highly skilled in grammar and rhetoric and possessing a noble pedigree, he was destined for a prestigious career in public life. Indeed at age 30 he became a prefect of the city of Rome, but after much soul-searching and prayer he left his post to become a monk. He devoted himself to the ascetic life and turned his vast Sicilian estates into monasteries and his family home in Rome into one as well.

Gregory lived happily as a monk for several years until he was forced by the sitting pope — much against his will — to be ordained as one of the seven deacons of Rome. Because of the vast instability of Rome and his skills as a civil leader, he was swiftly dispatched to Constantinople to serve as the ambassador to the Byzantine court in order to plead for Rome’s need of protection from the Lombards. His mission was pretty much a failure, but he became very popular with aristocratic Greek ladies of a certain age. After six years he was recalled to Rome and so began a period of writing, studying, and preaching.

His contentment at returning to the monastic life was not to be, however. In 490 after a terrible year of floods, plague, and pestilence, Gregory was elected pope. The story that upon the confirmation of his election to the episcopate he ran away and hid in the forest for three days is considered apocryphal, but it does shed light on his frame of mind. Nevertheless, he did his duty.

He is known as the liturgical innovator of the 6th-century whose contributions to the order of worship endure to the present day. The form of music known as western plainchant is attributed to Gregory. (Though naming it after him a couple of hundred years after he died was a marketing move to capitalize on his venerated name in order to standardize liturgical practice across the Frankish empire under Charlemagne).

Hundreds of his sermons, letters, commentaries as well as his dialogues and his still well-regarded “The Rule for Pastors,” remain. A remarkable thing.

As pope he was a staunch advocate for the health and well-being of the poor and those displaced by war. He gave lavishly from his own substance and and became a gadfly to wealthy Romans by inducing them to give generously as well.

Gregory the Great’s compassion for the plight of young Anglo-Saxon slaves  (Non Angli, sed angeli —  “They are not Angles, but angels”) he encountered at the Roman Forum so moved him that, later as pope, he sent St. Augustine to England as a missionary. But for his compassion, we might still be worshiping gods with names like Woden and Tiw.

Shortly after his death in 604, he was canonized by popular acclaim, and John Calvin called him “the last good pope.” Gregory the Great skillfully navigated a complex landscape between the ancient and the medieval church and the wider world. Quite a skillset for a man who talked to doves.

Collect for Gregory the Great
Almighty and merciful God, you raised up Gregory of Rome to be a servant of the servants of God, and inspired him to send missionaries to preach the Gospel to the English people: Preserve in your Church the catholic and apostolic faith they taught, that your people, being fruitful in every good work, may receive the crown of glory that never fades away; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Heidi Shott

Höchster_Schloß_Tor_St_MartinMartin of Tours

Martin of Tours was born in 330 in Hungary. He spent much of his childhood in Italy where he was reared by pagan parents. His father, a soldier, enlisted Martin into the army when he was 15.

Surely he had some Christian leanings, for one winter day he saw a beggar at the gate in Amiens (France). Martin, who had no money to give the ill-clad man, offered, instead, a portion of his cloak. The accompanying photo shows this famous event, in which Martin cut his cloak in half so that he could share it with the beggar.

That night, as the story goes, Martin had a dream in which he saw Christ wearing a coat — in fact, the same cloak that Martin had given the beggar just hours before. This is when Martin knew he had to devote his life to serving Christ. He resolved to get baptized and become a Christian. At the conclusion of his next military campaign, Martin petitioned for release from the army with the famous words, “Hitherto I have faithfully served Caesar. Let me know serve Christ.” At the time Martin was accused of desertion and being a coward. He was subsequently imprisoned but soon released.

Martin became a disciple of Hilary of Poitiers, who was a chief opponent of an unorthodox believe called Arianism. These Christians denied the full deity of Christ, which Martin defended with such vigor and skill that he began to make a name for himself. Surviving persecution in Italy, he fled to France where he founded a monastery that was so successful it remained open until the French Revolution. Martin was eventually named bishop of Tours, a notoriously pagan diocese. However his compassionate personality, skill in dealing with people, and devotion to his mission, prevailed.

Today Martin is the patron saint of soldiers and his shrine in France has become a famous stopping point for pilgrims on the road to Santiago de Compostela.

Collect for Martin of Tours
Lord God of hosts, you clothed your servant Martin the soldier with the spirit of sacrifice, and set him as a bishop in your Church to be a defender of the catholic faith: Give us grace to follow in his holy steps, that at the last we may be found clothed with righteousness in the dwellings of peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Chris Yaw


Gregory the Great vs. Martin of Tours

  • Gregory the Great (61%, 2,358 Votes)
  • Martin of Tours (39%, 1,531 Votes)

Total Voters: 3,885

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165 Comments to "Gregory the Great vs. Martin of Tours"

  1. March 4, 2013 - 8:01 am | Permalink

    The Archbishops John and Thomas encourage you to catch up on what is happening in Lent Madness this week:

    • Kay Rossiter's Gravatar Kay Rossiter
      March 4, 2013 - 12:37 pm | Permalink

      I think there may be some technical issues with the clairvoyatron: it sounded like the archbishop was saying Gregory has a better Buick. If so, I am voting for Martin.

  2. Don Clark's Gravatar Don Clark
    March 4, 2013 - 8:05 am | Permalink

    Have to go with the Patron Saint of singers!

    • March 4, 2013 - 11:34 am | Permalink

      Yes, I also had to vote for the patron of singers, but I also admire Martin of Tours. What a hard choice!

  3. Natalie's Gravatar Natalie
    March 4, 2013 - 8:07 am | Permalink

    I have voted for Martin – but I am sure that will be the kiss of death to his campaign. I haven’t backed a winner yet this Lent! (I guess that’s what happens when your favourite saint is currently wearing the Golden Halo.)

    • RobertC's Gravatar RobertC
      March 5, 2013 - 8:40 pm | Permalink

      I voted for one winner, but that was a mistake. I was thinking about CESAR Romero.

  4. March 4, 2013 - 8:09 am | Permalink

    Going with Gregory the Great, not only for his influence on the English church, but also for his being a deacon before being made Pope. Can you say “aspirations above my station”?

  5. Steve P's Gravatar Steve P
    March 4, 2013 - 8:24 am | Permalink

    Gregory the Great is the “Michonne of Church Corruption.” He was the “OG” of awesome bishops. Not even close. Gregory!

  6. Evelyn Lawyer's Gravatar Evelyn Lawyer
    March 4, 2013 - 8:27 am | Permalink

    Can’t decide. Martin also influenced the English church. Queen Bertha, the wife of Ethelbert came to Canterbury before Augustine and prayed daily for the conversion of all England. She was educated at St. Martins . Berthas many offspring spread Christianity throughout England. I will have to think about this and vote later in the day. By the way, lets put Bertha on for next year….

  7. Nancy Evans's Gravatar Nancy Evans
    March 4, 2013 - 8:28 am | Permalink

    This one seems like a no brainier. Gregory I think should get this one hands down. Who was Martins anyway? His history seems so very scant.

  8. linda of new orleans's Gravatar linda of new orleans
    March 4, 2013 - 8:32 am | Permalink

    what time do these match ups come out-midnight? because greg is way ahead of my guy martin. i go to a church named for martin of tours and don’t like seeing him lose so badly. i mean gregory is waaaay ahead and it’s only 7:30am in new orleans. give martin a chance-he did give half his coat to a beggar.

    • Peggy's Gravatar Peggy
      March 4, 2013 - 9:36 am | Permalink

      They appear at roughly 8 am EST.

    • alex's Gravatar alex
      March 4, 2013 - 1:40 pm | Permalink

      i would totally agree with you, i attend Saint Martin of Tours i think the best Saint by far 🙂

  9. Cheribum's Gravatar Cheribum
    March 4, 2013 - 8:32 am | Permalink

    He assumes the name Great after he ran away and hid for three days in the woods? Vote for the soldiers. Martin.

    • March 4, 2013 - 8:46 am | Permalink

      Hey, Jesus went into the desert for 40 days . . . give the guy a few days to pray and consider his options! Besides, he didn’t call himself “the Great” . . .

      • Beth's Gravatar Beth
        March 4, 2013 - 11:37 am | Permalink

        what she said.

  10. Mary Alice's Gravatar Mary Alice
    March 4, 2013 - 8:38 am | Permalink

    The story of Martin is special to me as a hospital chaplain. Martin’s cloak (cappella) was kept in a chapel and the keeper of this relic is where the word “chaplain” comes from. To this day a chaplain is the keeper of spirituality for a specific community such as a hospital, armed forces or school.

    • JaneC's Gravatar JaneC
      March 4, 2013 - 9:12 am | Permalink

      Thank you for that wonderful information.

    • Mark D.'s Gravatar Mark D.
      March 4, 2013 - 11:21 am | Permalink

      Cool! Thanks!

  11. Maggie Feczko's Gravatar Maggie Feczko
    March 4, 2013 - 8:40 am | Permalink

    Having compassion for Anglo-Saxon slaves and sending Augustine to England, tipped my vote to Gregory.

  12. Millie Ericson's Gravatar Millie Ericson
    March 4, 2013 - 8:40 am | Permalink

    Well, I imagine I just threw my vote away by voting for Martin of Tours but I had to go with the soldier I’ve sung about all my life. “I sing a song of the saints of God…and one was a soldier!” However, I do admire Gregory’s service and compassion, especially for the Angles; and for sending St. Augustine to England! It will be ok which ever one wins today!

  13. Ann's Gravatar Ann
    March 4, 2013 - 8:40 am | Permalink

    Gregory the Great: Born in 540, pope by 490! That’s quite an accomplishment, and for that alone, if nothing else, he gets my vote!

    • Conny Santana's Gravatar Conny Santana
      March 4, 2013 - 5:41 pm | Permalink

      I wondered if anyone else would note that one. Ha!! My vote though was for the saintly soldier, Martin.

      • Liz V.'s Gravatar Liz V.
        March 4, 2013 - 5:47 pm | Permalink

        I noticed the discrepancy right away. I’ve been reading through the comments to see if anyone else noticed. I was getting discouraged. Thanks, Ann and Conny, for making me feel not such a lonely nerd. 🙂

        • Sharon L.'s Gravatar Sharon L.
          March 4, 2013 - 6:19 pm | Permalink


  14. Laurie Atwater's Gravatar Laurie Atwater
    March 4, 2013 - 8:43 am | Permalink

    My home parish is St. Martin of Tours. There is so much more to Martin than is told in this precis, I hope they are holding out for round two. And tons of kitsch, too, as has any pilgrimage site. Holy compassion and radical hospitality. They made him a bishop against his will, too. Martin for me. Want to get to the goose story!

    • Susan Chacon's Gravatar Susan Chacon
      March 4, 2013 - 3:19 pm | Permalink

      The promise of good kitsch and a goose story propel me into the camp of the underdog. Thanks Laurie!

  15. March 4, 2013 - 8:44 am | Permalink

    Being a disciple of Hilary, who was the patron of my home parish, my vote goes to Martin. Besides, Gregory already goes by “the Great,” what more does the guy want?!

  16. March 4, 2013 - 8:49 am | Permalink

    Mtr Shott – I lust after the chant style dubbed “Gregorian”. It feeds millions of every week. As a former commercial music composer, I applaud you for publicizing the fact that Greg – however noble he surely was, never heightened a single neume. Wouldn’t have known one if it walked up and bit him on the … ankle.

    Rule #4 for ad agencies: when in doubt, make up something, add memorable music and attach a Celebrity name to it. (They do it cause it works.)

    Still voted for G the G. (The chant thing wasn’t his fault.)

  17. Janet's Gravatar Janet
    March 4, 2013 - 8:55 am | Permalink

    Gotta go with the Pope – maybe if Gregory trounces Martin it will inspie the cardinals to elect a leader not a clone of all the other popes – sigh. 🙂

  18. Carol Sullivan's Gravatar Carol Sullivan
    March 4, 2013 - 9:03 am | Permalink

    This is hard. Both were “Great”, even if only one is so remembered. I was only vaguely aware of these two before today – thank you for the education. Think I have to vote for Martin – it’s easier to be great when you come from wealth and priviledge. Martin overcame his lack of money and connections.

  19. Brigid Courtney's Gravatar Brigid Courtney
    March 4, 2013 - 9:05 am | Permalink

    I love chant, and this is not an easy choice, I guess few of them are, but there is something very dear about Martin, I guess it’s the cloak thing, so I voted for him.

  20. Ann Case's Gravatar Ann Case
    March 4, 2013 - 9:06 am | Permalink

    I voted for Martin and am a total peacenik. Let’s keep soldiers safe and eventually put them out of work! –

  21. Lisa Green's Gravatar Lisa Green
    March 4, 2013 - 9:07 am | Permalink

    Dissing last year’s Golden Halo winner in a sermon that set her up for 1500 years of slander: not so great. Martin gets my vote.

    • Diana Wilcox's Gravatar Diana Wilcox
      March 4, 2013 - 9:38 am | Permalink

      Amen Sister! I felt the same way.

    • Barbara's Gravatar Barbara
      March 4, 2013 - 11:03 am | Permalink

      “Slander”? Why? Prostitutes are people, too; most are so poor they can’t earn a living any other way.

      I would think MM would have been happy to be a role model for people so scorned by society for so long, even if it weren’t the truth in her case….

      • Diana Wilcox's Gravatar Diana Wilcox
        March 4, 2013 - 11:51 am | Permalink

        While I like your take on it Barbara, the unfortunate reality is that this more modern understanding of women who do this line of work is not what most people came to feel about Mary Magdalene – and, she wasn’t a prostitute. Because of GtheG, she was denigrated for more than a century. Even today, ask people about her and they will usually respond that she was a prostitute (and not with a sense of it being all they could do in poverty). Will they tell you that she was the Apostle to the Apostles? Not likely. The church, and most especially GtheG, failed her.

        • Barbara's Gravatar Barbara
          March 4, 2013 - 12:52 pm | Permalink

          Well, let’s not forget that Jesus himself kept company with prostitutes himself. Apparently he didn’t think it was slanderous or problematic; he came into the world to save sinners, he said – and we all surely are that. If people still don’t get this after 2,000 years, I can’t see how we can put the blame on a 5th-century bishop! Clearly, it’s something in the human heart that is the problem.

          Anyway: I dispute the idea that MM has been denigrated! To the contrary: she’s been revered. She’s always been the second-most-important woman in Christianity; churches and schools are named after her. She’s had a cult since very early on, and she’s had a feast day – and has been called “Apostle to the Apostles” – since at least medieval times. I think Chrysostom wrote something to this effect, too.

          If the Church was trying to denigrate her, it totally blew it, from my point of view. People love her, and always have….

  22. Eileen's Gravatar Eileen
    March 4, 2013 - 9:08 am | Permalink

    Gregory may have sent Augustine to Canterbury, but the ensuing encounter with the already existent Christian community began us on the road to Whitby and the silencing of Celtic Christianity. Not the British invasion I want to celebrate. Go Martin.

  23. John Clemens's Gravatar John Clemens
    March 4, 2013 - 9:10 am | Permalink

    Had so much trouble deciding this one it boiled (arbitrarily) down to the mystical. “Angles are Angels” or “successfully arguing the divinity of Christ against the Arians. I had to pick door number 2, Martin. With all due respect to Gregory.

  24. March 4, 2013 - 9:18 am | Permalink

    I serve at St. Martins in the Fields. What more can I say?

  25. Nancy's Gravatar Nancy
    March 4, 2013 - 9:18 am | Permalink

    Oh dear. I voted for Gregory – Calvin’s comment was influential for me along with the obvious purity of heart. And I like to see somebody put his money where his mouth is. But I didn’t realize it was so lopsided. Other people! Give Martin a look! This ought to be close.

  26. Fiona's Gravatar Fiona
    March 4, 2013 - 9:20 am | Permalink

    As a chaplain I have to go with Martin. Also, slightly dismayed that Gregory is credited with mission to the English having chosen Augustine of Canterbury for the mission to the English who tried to turn back whilst the Celtic saints were already working their way south. As Joseph Lightfoot, Bishop of Durham put it, “Augustine was the Apostle of Kent, but Aidan was the Apostle of the English.”

  27. Tarheel's Gravatar Tarheel
    March 4, 2013 - 9:20 am | Permalink

    A ‘thumbs up ‘ from John Calvin, now that is a decent endorsement. GG gave away his wealth, had great compassion for the A-S slaves and poor, throw in the chants and GG has my vote.

  28. Russ's Gravatar Russ
    March 4, 2013 - 9:22 am | Permalink

    If it were not for soldiers who (attempt to) keep the peace, many peaceniks would become victims, if not worse.

    Pray the soldier remains safe to keep others safe.

    • Harlie Youngblood's Gravatar Harlie Youngblood
      March 4, 2013 - 4:17 pm | Permalink

      Actually, Martin the Patron of Soldiers was a pacifist. He asked to be discharged from the army because he believed his commitment to Christ forbade combat.
      “I am a soldier of Christ.” he said. “I cannot fight.”
      He was accused of cowardice. In response he offered to walk unarmed in front of the army as it advanced to do battle with the oncoming enemy.
      The authorities intended to take him up on his offer, but then the opposing army sued
      for peace and the battle never took place.
      Pacifism was the standard in the Church during the first three centuries of it’s
      existence. With the legalization of the Faith this doctrine of nonviolence began to fade for most Christians. Martin is an example of those who held onto the Apostolic Truth.

      • Phil Harrington's Gravatar Phil Harrington
        March 4, 2013 - 5:03 pm | Permalink

        Amen! I believe the Martin description provided is inadequate. Martin left the army defiantly, he didn’t ask to be relieved. “I am now a soldier of Christ. I can no longer fight for Ceasar.”
        The treaty to end WWI was purposefully signed on Martin’s Day (Nov. 11) in hope’s of boosting the notion that we as a human race should all now follow Martin’s lead. Martin then, based on his effect on our calendar, completely blows Gregory out of the water!

  29. Aleathia (Dolores) Nicholson's Gravatar Aleathia (Dolores) Nicholson
    March 4, 2013 - 9:22 am | Permalink

    Underdog! Underdog! Martin for sharing the cloak and yes, I know he will probably lose, as get throroughly trounced, but hey…..ya win some, ya lose some. The brave soldiersnfighting for our freedom today are largely unsung but heroic nonetheless, as was he. Underdogs are winners because they are remembered by those who benefit from their bravery and devotion to God the Creator.

  30. Becky Searles's Gravatar Becky Searles
    March 4, 2013 - 9:23 am | Permalink

    I am a member of St. Martin of Tours. How could I vote for anyone else?!!!!!

  31. Mary W.'s Gravatar Mary W.
    March 4, 2013 - 9:27 am | Permalink

    Went with Gregory, because he still answered the call of God multiple times despite his reluctance to do so. Besides, the CB writeup was better.

    I still give props to Martin though.

  32. Mary's Gravatar Mary
    March 4, 2013 - 9:30 am | Permalink

    My brother recently retired after 30 years in the US Army. Who else would I vote for but his patron saint and protector?

  33. Aleathia (Dolores) Nicholson's Gravatar Aleathia (Dolores) Nicholson
    March 4, 2013 - 9:32 am | Permalink

    Well, lack of proofreading due to caffeine deprivation will tell…..:as to the word “throroughly”, change it to “thoroughly”.. and do delete the “n” between soldiers and fighting, if you will, and I hope you will. Get you cupa’ joe and make sure you’re using your 2012 GOLDEN HALO winner Mary Mags cup and recording winners on your official 2013 wall thing…need coffee NOW!

    • Ginny Rodriguez's Gravatar Ginny Rodriguez
      March 4, 2013 - 11:37 pm | Permalink

      Aleathia, you just reminded me that I Need cocoa—in my LM 2013 mug, of course! For courage!

  34. Gwin Hanahan's Gravatar Gwin Hanahan
    March 4, 2013 - 9:32 am | Permalink

    For Gregory’s compassion to Anglo-Saxon slaves, for Gregory’s sending St. Augustine to England, let us thank God for Gregory the Great. And for Gregory’s liturgical innovations which brought
    so many of us fortunate seminarians to the classroom of a liturgical master (and Flentrope master as well), let us give thanks.

    • Robin's Gravatar Robin
      March 4, 2013 - 3:21 pm | Permalink

      Is that “Flentrop”, as in organ? My favorite organ builder!

      • Gwin Hanahan's Gravatar Gwin Hanahan
        March 4, 2013 - 6:31 pm | Permalink

        Hi, Robin. Yes, I am referring to the Flentrop organ. Glad someone knew what it meant. It is indeed a beautiful instrument.

  35. Scott Elliott's Gravatar Scott Elliott
    March 4, 2013 - 9:32 am | Permalink

    SEC: there’s a typo: Gregory was elected Pope is 590, not 490. Feel free to delete this once the correction is made

    • March 4, 2013 - 9:50 am | Permalink

      Thanks for the catch. (Get crackin’ SEC – though I believe they are flying the friendly skies back home this morning.) While they’re at it, there’s a double “and” in the 7th graf. Double whoops. Everybody needs an editor.

      • Verdery's Gravatar Verdery
        March 4, 2013 - 10:52 am | Permalink

        Or coffee–see Aleathia (Dolores) Nicholson’s second post.

      • Phyllis's Gravatar Phyllis
        March 4, 2013 - 11:03 am | Permalink

        Well, if we are wearing our “proof-reader” mitres today — 3rd paragraph Martin bio should read “… let me NOW serve Christ”(emphasis mine). Saw the others, thought I was being picky for a Monday morning, and was going to let them slide by. But…

        Had to go with Gregory — I keep hoping the music angle will win one of these times….

  36. March 4, 2013 - 9:32 am | Permalink

    Because of Martin’s importance in the development of monasticism and his link with Celtic Christianity, overlooked in the biography, I’m voting for the Bishop of Tours.

  37. Deby Daly's Gravatar Deby Daly
    March 4, 2013 - 9:35 am | Permalink

    I cannot vote for the man who declared Mary Magdalene a prostitute. Go Martin!

  38. Scott Elliott's Gravatar Scott Elliott
    March 4, 2013 - 9:35 am | Permalink

    My church is named after Gregory. ‘Nuff said.

  39. March 4, 2013 - 9:44 am | Permalink

    As a former Army Chaplain, I have a connection with Martin of Tours. This link,, offers a brief summation of how the word and concept of chaplain is derived from Martin of Tours. Today I vote for Martin. However, my respect for Gregory is as great as his accomplishments. Lent Madness would be welll served no matter which bishop moves on to the Saintly Sixteen.

  40. Joy's Gravatar Joy
    March 4, 2013 - 9:45 am | Permalink

    Went with Gregory. Just too much accomplished during his leadership to ignore. Feeding the poor, defending against pagan attacks, ordering of the church’s liturgy, chant, and of course sending Augustine to England. There’s a reason he’s called “great”.

  41. Diana Wilcox's Gravatar Diana Wilcox
    March 4, 2013 - 9:46 am | Permalink

    As Lisa Green said above, Gregory’s sermon in 591 that tarnished poor Mary Magdalene’s reputation. Nobody who disses our Golden Halo champion will get my vote. Go for Martin folks!

  42. Skip's Gravatar Skip
    March 4, 2013 - 9:47 am | Permalink

    Love the information of Martin of Tours, educational and informative, but with an endorsement from John Calvin how can you not vote for Gregory the Great.

  43. Jo Meachem's Gravatar Jo Meachem
    March 4, 2013 - 9:51 am | Permalink

    I was quite prepared to vote anyone who could be named Pope 50 years before he was even born… but I lived a number of years in a small town in Germany, and St. Martin’s Day was the feast day i most looked forward to, with its reenactment of the cloak sharing event, and a parade of colorful paper labterns through the town, and a bit of “trick or treating” for the youngest – St. Martin it is!

    • Jo Meachem's Gravatar Jo Meachem
      March 4, 2013 - 9:52 am | Permalink

      I can hardly wait until *I* learn to type…

  44. Bill's Gravatar Bill
    March 4, 2013 - 9:53 am | Permalink

    If you like a monarchic church you can vote for Gregory I. Sure, he sent Augustine to England and he converted the pagans and brought them into the Church, but Henry VIII and Elizabeth I made that Church English, and aren’t we glad for that! Gregory was among those who purged Rome of paganism, including the buildings pagans had used. Luckily the Pantheon escaped. The next successor to Peter had the good sense to convert it to a church dedicated to Mary and so it survived and is still a church, although Saint Pauls within the Walls (J.P. Morgan helped pay for it) is a legacy of Augustine’s English venture. I rather prefer Martin..

  45. Barbara Cohn's Gravatar Barbara Cohn
    March 4, 2013 - 9:54 am | Permalink

    Voted for Martin. One correction though. Hilary was from Poitiers not Pointiers. I have family in Poitiers, France. Got to give the town its celebrity….

  46. Mark's Gravatar Mark
    March 4, 2013 - 9:57 am | Permalink

    The musician and liturgist in me has to go with Gregory

  47. The Holy Fool's Gravatar The Holy Fool
    March 4, 2013 - 10:02 am | Permalink

    Wow, you really know how to “Pick UM”….Tough choice. The Holy fool goes with
    Gregory the Great….(Reminds me a lot of me.) Is there a difference between a sitting, and standing pope? This Lent madness is an EDUCATION SENSATION.

  48. George Werner's Gravatar George Werner
    March 4, 2013 - 10:08 am | Permalink

    As a Disciple of the modern day Gregory Straub, he of the startling dress, How could I vote for someone else?

  49. Jeff Ross's Gravatar Jeff Ross
    March 4, 2013 - 10:11 am | Permalink

    I admire Gregory for many things, but he made Mary Magdalene out to be a prostitute and most people still don’t have the story straight–so I have to go with Martin!

  50. carla's Gravatar carla
    March 4, 2013 - 10:11 am | Permalink

    Given my newness to the Episcopal world…why is John Calvin’s such a ringing endorsement? Gregory did use his office for good…that seems to be well documented.. Martin’s work as a chaplain is most admirable. I grew up near St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church. My son is a retired soldier. Greatness was thrust upon Gregory. The College of Cardinals desperately needs Gregory’s inspiration. AHHHHHH!!!!!

  51. Barbara's Gravatar Barbara
    March 4, 2013 - 10:12 am | Permalink

    For those who love it, Gregory’s not the only one with chant creds. The office hymn “Iste Confessor” was written in honor of Martin of Tours. I voted for him today.

    I’ll be quite happy, though, if Gregory move on to the next round; I sure like what I’ve read here! I definitely identify with his being powerfully drawn to the monastic life of prayer and study, and admire his dedication to the poor and displaced. And of course, I love that his reaction to being elected Pope was to run off into the woods; that seems completely reasonable, to me….

  52. Jim's Gravatar Jim
    March 4, 2013 - 10:17 am | Permalink

    Running off and hiding in the woods for three days and then have “the great” attached to your name just does not seem to fit. However being the patron saint to soldiers while also having a pet goose will get you my vote. In what looks like a losing cause my vote goes to Martin.

  53. Larry's Gravatar Larry
    March 4, 2013 - 10:19 am | Permalink

    Going with Martin due to the damage Gregory did to the reputation of Mary Magdalene.

  54. Suzanne Foucault's Gravatar Suzanne Foucault
    March 4, 2013 - 10:26 am | Permalink

    We need a patron saint of soldiers – on all sides of the war.

    • Patsy Duncan's Gravatar Patsy Duncan
      March 4, 2013 - 8:53 pm | Permalink

      Saint Barbara is patron saint of the Artillery!

  55. Brendan's Gravatar Brendan
    March 4, 2013 - 10:28 am | Permalink

    The detail that Gregory, through his generosity with his own material wealth, also inspired other wealthy Romans to do the same, is resonant for me. I serve as treasurer of a church-affiliated homeless shelter in Indianapolis, and from this experience have learned this valuable lesson: God bless checkbook philanthropists.

    Gregory, you’ve got my vote.

    • Anne Rein's Gravatar Anne Rein
      March 4, 2013 - 3:58 pm | Permalink

      I voted for Gregory the Great for a similar reason to yours, Brendan. Gregory the Great Fundraiser inspired others to give. As fundraising becomes a critical competency for some many church leaders–clergy and lay–it seemed like a good idea to celebrate his example.

      Regretfully, I voted before I read the comments. Knowing that Gregory defamed Mary Magdalene probably would have swayed me in the opposite direction.

  56. Jan's Gravatar Jan
    March 4, 2013 - 10:28 am | Permalink

    having lived in Tours for a year, obviously voted for Martin!

  57. Allison Askins's Gravatar Allison Askins
    March 4, 2013 - 10:42 am | Permalink

    Being on staff at St. Martin’s, I must go with Martin!

  58. RoodRunner's Gravatar RoodRunner
    March 4, 2013 - 10:54 am | Permalink

    Another totally unfair seeding. A Hungarian tour guide vs “The Great”? I feel there should be a first round policy that “Greats” may only be pitted against one another: Gregory the Great vs Charles the Great, or others with superlative titles, like Carnac the Magnificent. The time may be right to form a Super-PAC for contestents whose primary descriptors are their hometowns, who thus have a distinct campaign disadvantage: Joan of Arc, Gregory of Nyssa, Basil of Casarea, etc. In any case, though Gregory’s chants might sound great in a Cathedral they aren’t as great when you’re trying to struggle through the Great Litany in a church service in an elementary school cafeteria. But his campaign strategy has been good: commissioning Respighi to write him into his “Church Windows” tone poem was a stroke of genius, and wins him the day, as far as I’m concerned

  59. Sudie B's Gravatar Sudie B
    March 4, 2013 - 10:55 am | Permalink

    Well, I woke up fully intending to vote for Gregory the Great. I’m a musician and chant has played a very important role in my life. But I am also a chaplain, and having learned more about Martin, I’m not so sure about this decision…. Will ponder some more….

  60. Ann's Gravatar Ann
    March 4, 2013 - 10:58 am | Permalink

    This was a hard one for me. At first it seemed a no-brainer for Gregory. But what kept pulling me back was the story of the beggar and the cloak. In addition to promoting the faith, which both did, wasn’t Martin seeing Christ in all people? Isn’t that what we’re supposed to do? Despite resistance, the pendulum swung his way.

  61. Verdery's Gravatar Verdery
    March 4, 2013 - 11:02 am | Permalink

    Both are examples of concern for others, so that didn’t help. It was the “liturgical innovator” that swung me over to Gregory. But I *totally* agree with Anne Case: “Let’s keep soldiers safe and eventually put them out of work!”

  62. Kathy Daum's Gravatar Kathy Daum
    March 4, 2013 - 11:08 am | Permalink

    Enjoying Lenten Madness.

  63. Beth Ann's Gravatar Beth Ann
    March 4, 2013 - 11:21 am | Permalink

    I went with Martin I was totally swayed by the comments – the lasting damage done to our cherished Mary Magdalene, and the origin of the word “chaplain”. Thank you, Lent Madness comments participators.

    • Anne Rein's Gravatar Anne Rein
      March 4, 2013 - 3:59 pm | Permalink

      Amen to that!

  64. If Not Philander Then Gregory's Gravatar If Not Philander Then Gregory
    March 4, 2013 - 11:21 am | Permalink

    Good to see someone with a music connection still in the bracket.

    Please double Maple Anglican’s salary, or send an extra mug, or some such.

    • March 4, 2013 - 11:42 am | Permalink

      I just had to leave a post with the new name that Maple Anglican bestowed upon me. That bit with Damien reading his reproof to vote scammers in French totally killed me. Go Maple Anglican!

      • Peg's Gravatar Peg
        March 4, 2013 - 1:32 pm | Permalink

        Oui! Vive L’Anglican Mapleux!

        • Elizabeth's Gravatar Elizabeth
          March 4, 2013 - 7:17 pm | Permalink

          I agree about disagreeing. In those times, 7 demons could have been a headcold, the stomach flu, 2 in-grown toenails, warts on her ankle and elbow, and a case of poison ivy (or a rash from whatever demonic plants they have in Israel.)

        • Elizabeth's Gravatar Elizabeth
          March 4, 2013 - 7:22 pm | Permalink

          Excusez-moi, quel Franglais! Il s’appelle “L’Anglican d’Érable” parmi les françophones.

          • Peg's Gravatar Peg
            March 5, 2013 - 8:35 am | Permalink

            I was being, how you say it, silly. The Maple Anglican is oo-lah-lah!

      • Anne Lane Anne Lane"Awesomesauce" Witt
        March 4, 2013 - 1:38 pm | Permalink

        Like Heidi, I had to use the Archbishops’ nickname for me in a comment! Here’s hoping the Clairvoyatron doesn’t go down, leaving our dear Maple Anglican up a creek without a paddle. Maple is awesome!

  65. Mark D.'s Gravatar Mark D.
    March 4, 2013 - 11:25 am | Permalink

    Voted for Gregory, against my bracket again. Martin is SO COOL, but in this year of papal election I think GG gets the win…..

  66. Heather C's Gravatar Heather C
    March 4, 2013 - 11:29 am | Permalink

    Rats! – when will I learn to read comments before voting? Sorry Mary, I should have voted for Martin.

    • Anne Rein's Gravatar Anne Rein
      March 4, 2013 - 4:00 pm | Permalink

      Same here!

  67. Albert Krueger's Gravatar Albert Krueger
    March 4, 2013 - 11:38 am | Permalink

    I voted for Martin for two reasons: he is from Eastern Europe, and 2) The evil Gregory imposed Roman Catholicism on the innocent British Isles and set the stage for centuries of confusion, pain, and conflict.

  68. Cindy Selby's Gravatar Cindy Selby
    March 4, 2013 - 11:42 am | Permalink

    I voted for Gregory the Great, because he was born into a wealthy, privileged family, yet he had a heart for the poor and enslaved. He could have “had it all” — wealth, political power — but he chose monastic life instead.

  69. Megan's Gravatar Megan
    March 4, 2013 - 11:59 am | Permalink

    I wasn’t sure which way to vote, but after discovering that G the G helped contribute to the decline of the Celtic Church (because there were Christians in the British Isles before Augustine!), I have to go with Martin.

  70. Lauren Stanley's Gravatar Lauren Stanley
    March 4, 2013 - 12:02 pm | Permalink

    Here I go against my grain to vote for Gregory, because he told Augustine to accept that which does not harm the faith. That has had a huge influence on my life as a missionary, as I move from culture to culture, trying to adapt to the way things are done in new places.

    • Relling's Gravatar Relling
      March 4, 2013 - 1:22 pm | Permalink

      Nice point

  71. March 4, 2013 - 12:22 pm | Permalink

    I’m voting for Gregory the Great today. There’s a lot to like about him (no offense, Martin), but I have to say it always irks me that he gets credit for the evangelization of Britain. The Celtic monks and missionaries were doing a great job (thank you very much) and connected with the indigenous culture much better than the Roman missionaries did. OK, that’s my little rant for the day.

  72. Mary Kay's Gravatar Mary Kay
    March 4, 2013 - 12:30 pm | Permalink

    Why do you say Martin must have had Christian leanings because he shared his coat with a beggar? Kindness is not owned by Christians… Surely there were those who were not Christian who were kind and generous to others, then as now.

    • Rachel Keeney's Gravatar Rachel Keeney
      March 4, 2013 - 3:24 pm | Permalink

      I think the point of the story is that Martin’s particular choice of kindness was inspired by the teaching of Christ, therefore Christian leaning.

      • Conny Santana's Gravatar Conny Santana
        March 4, 2013 - 6:06 pm | Permalink

        Actually I have always understood it as Martin selflessly gave half of his cloak to the beggar, period. It was afterwards that he dreams of Christ wearing the cloak that he becomes truly Christian. I forget who wrote that wonderful song, “I see Jesus in your eyes” but Martin definitely became one who could see Jesus in others.

  73. Anne of Memphis's Gravatar Anne of Memphis
    March 4, 2013 - 12:40 pm | Permalink

    Well, I’m voting this week for Gregory. I admire his compassion for the poor and the slaves, sending St. Augustine to England He was called “Great” for a reason. I do NOT, however, admire his treatment of Mary Magdalene. She was NOT a prostitute; get your story straight, Greg. He just didn’t like how close she was to Christ and the influence she had over Him and the early Church. That wasn’t a woman’s “place”. Heavens! It helps to read the comments before you vote. Duh!! As a cradle Episcopalian who’s always loved the Church, it’s incredible how much I’m learning through Lent Madness. It’s creative, fun, well-written, a real power-pack! I look forward to every day! And this is my first year; where has Lent Madness been all my life?

  74. Hugh Matheson's Gravatar Hugh Matheson
    March 4, 2013 - 12:41 pm | Permalink

    Gregory gets all too much publicity. He wasn’t that great. And he couldn’t tell the difference between a Saxon and an angel. Bloody uninformed about anywhere but Italy clerics anyways. Martin deserves this if only because his “Bon mot” actually makes sense. Besides he was Hungarian and moved to France, he must also be the patron saint of a whole generation of Hungarian émigrés, starting in about 1953. Go Martin.

  75. Anne's Gravatar Anne
    March 4, 2013 - 1:41 pm | Permalink

    Another difficult choice! Much as I appreciate Gregory for lending his name to plainsong, a musical genre that I love as a rather squeaky-voiced person, I am voting for the underdog Martin. Like St Francis of Assisi, he turned his back on military service to spread the Word in peaceful ways.

  76. Mollie Douglas Turner's Gravatar Mollie Douglas Turner
    March 4, 2013 - 1:45 pm | Permalink

    I had to go with Martin, after reading everybody’s comments–very helpful today. But it was tough: I began my exploration of my call to ordination at the Church of St. Gregory the Great in Athens, GA, with a man who remains one of my personal saints, Gene Britton…and the chant is truly heavenly (even in a school cafeteria, I think–though I’m not sure the Great Litany is actually Gregorian…). But the comments about Mary Magdalene’s being dissed, and the arrogance that latter-day Roman missionaries showed toward the tough-slogging Celtic church–those reminders were weighty. Plus I have good friends at St. Martin’s across town! Hurray for the underdog!

  77. Ephrem Hugh Bensusan's Gravatar Ephrem Hugh Bensusan
    March 4, 2013 - 1:57 pm | Permalink

    “Who was Martin anyway? His history seems so very scant.”


    Now, I will admit that the story of St. Martin presented is brief, but it does do an adequate job of recounting the major events in the life of our Saint (despite the error in re: date-of-birth). Certainly it provides enough data to answer the question “Who was Martin anyway?”

    “His history seems so very scant”? I’m sure that, in comparison to the hagiography by Sulpitius Severus, or even to the Wikipedia article, the Lent Madness entry is, by some definitions, very scant. And truly, Chris Yaw did not include pictures like the obscure stained glass window of St. Martin in that modest cathedral – where is it? Oh yes – Chartres. Or like that nearly unknown painting by El Greco that hangs in that quaint-and-off-the-beaten-track National Gallery in Washington, D.C. And yes, Chris wrote not a word about the development of what we know today as Advent out of the Fast after Martinmas.

    But still – seriously?

    • Laurie Atwater's Gravatar Laurie Atwater
      March 4, 2013 - 4:08 pm | Permalink

      Thank you, thank you!!!

  78. Claire Woodley's Gravatar Claire Woodley
    March 4, 2013 - 1:58 pm | Permalink

    Martin is such a timely saint for our days. With all the returning vets, carrying the load of war in their hearts and souls Martin is a real inspiration that God can and does do good in the most unlikely of circumstances. And, that the spiritual wounds that they have sustained can be healed. For my peeps at Camp Smith and in the Wounded Warrior project, here’s to Martin!

  79. Marguerite's Gravatar Marguerite
    March 4, 2013 - 2:03 pm | Permalink

    We always have croissants on the feast of St Martin. They are the exact shape of half of Martin’s cloak. You should join us next November 11.

  80. March 4, 2013 - 2:14 pm | Permalink

    As a Lutheran pastor, I recall that Martin Luther was baptized as a Catholic the day after his birth on the feast day of St. Martin of Tours. He was named after him in fact, just as Martin Luther King, Jr. was named after the Reformer. Add in my work as a volunteer chaplain (see the comments above about that title) with a law enforcement agency and my stint as a soldier…my choice was clear. Go, Martin!

  81. JaneC's Gravatar JaneC
    March 4, 2013 - 2:17 pm | Permalink

    Martin gets my vote, not the seemingly reluctant but, in the long run, showy Gregory who is taking credit for far too much. Dissing Mary Magdelene is not endearing. Martin’s cloak is what swayed me. When you run out of saints for lentmadness might I suggest a match between Joseph’s Coat of Many Colors and Martin’s Cloak? “Coat” could use Dolly Parton’s ” Coat of Many Colors” as it’s campaign song but I am not sure what “Cloak” would choose. Any suggestions?

  82. tracey's Gravatar tracey
    March 4, 2013 - 2:19 pm | Permalink

    Forgive me, SEC, for I have sinned and not voted in the past 4 elections….but I’m on it now! Go Martin!

  83. Bonnee's Gravatar Bonnee
    March 4, 2013 - 2:19 pm | Permalink

    FYI– I see that Women’s Rights National Historic Park in Seneca Falls has posted on FB news of an exhibit on Marianne–re: questions about her in the Damien/Perkins face-0ff.

  84. Nancy Evans's Gravatar Nancy Evans
    March 4, 2013 - 2:35 pm | Permalink

    Yes seriously! We all cannot known everything. I for one am not we informed on saintly matters. That is one of the reasons I love LM! I am learning so very much! I read the bios and although informative Martin’s seemed lacking compared to Gregory.

    I’ll show more lacks od knowledge (and probably wisdom) what actually did Gregory say about Mary M?

    BTW can you rebuild a computer? I can.

    • JaneC's Gravatar JaneC
      March 4, 2013 - 2:38 pm | Permalink

      Then perhaps you are a saint!

      • Nancy Evans's Gravatar Nancy Evans
        March 4, 2013 - 2:43 pm | Permalink

        No not for being a techno-nut but perhaps one for being the mother of 3 teenage boy !!

    • Ephrem Hugh Bensusan's Gravatar Ephrem Hugh Bensusan
      March 4, 2013 - 8:42 pm | Permalink

      I agree, we can’t know everything, which is, indeed, why this is such a great exercise – so we can learn about those we don’t know. Perhaps I was a bit strident in my reply, but St. Martin has a fantastic story and influence that has been every bit as far-reaching as that of Pope St. Gregory in the Western Church, one that can’t simply be dismissed as if it were a “no brainer”.

      What Gregory actually said about St Mary Magdalene was: “She whom Luke calls the sinful woman, whom John calls Mary, we believe to be the Mary from whom seven devils were ejected according to Mark. And what did these seven devils signify, if not all the vices?”

      And yes, I have been building and rebuilding personal computers since there have been personal computers to build and rebuild. 🙂

  85. Jim's Gravatar Jim
    March 4, 2013 - 2:40 pm | Permalink

    Gregory called Mary a prostitute. In the other “madness” tournament played in March over the top “trash talk” like that gets you kicked out of the game. Good thing for Gregory and his fans that we are not playing by NCAA rules.

    • Barbara's Gravatar Barbara
      March 4, 2013 - 4:04 pm | Permalink

      Jesus seemed to approve of prostitutes a heck of a lot more than he approved of the priests and elders (remember, the prostitutes were going to enter the kingdom of God first!), so I’m not sure it’s “trash talk” at all….

      • Diana Wilcox's Gravatar Diana Wilcox
        March 4, 2013 - 4:29 pm | Permalink

        But, she wasn’t one.

        • Barbara's Gravatar Barbara
          March 4, 2013 - 5:12 pm | Permalink

          Well, nobody actually knows that; she could have been. The only thing we really know about her, pre-Jesus, is that she was from Magdala and had 7 demons that he cast out. But what difference would it really make?

          Gregory may have indeed been wrong about her being the same person as the other two Marys mentioned; it’s true that, for instance, the Orthodox have never believed that. I think she’s considered a “myrrh-bearer” in that tradition. But, it hasn’t changed anything; she’s been a saint for over a thousand years, and has been beloved throughout the church.

          If anything, it sounds like the modern world has more trouble with the “prostitute” thing….

          • Diana Wilcox's Gravatar Diana Wilcox
            March 4, 2013 - 6:26 pm | Permalink

            Okay, I’ll go with that… Peter the apostle was a prostitute. There – now let’s let that work in history for 1500 years, and hold him up as the model of sinfulness and redemption. Perhaps then I think I’ll feel that what was done to Mary is okey dokey. Besides, we don’t know that Peter, or our Lord too, wasn’t a prostitute, now do we? I mean, traveling along with 12 men all the time.

            Seriously though Barbara, we will have to agree to disagree on this one – truly an Anglican thing to do.

          • Elizabeth's Gravatar Elizabeth
            March 4, 2013 - 6:34 pm | Permalink

            I agree about disagreeing. In those times, 7 demons could have been a headcold, the stomach flu, 2 in-grown toenails, warts on her ankle and elbow, and a case of poison ivy (or a rash from whatever demonic plants they have in Israel.)

  86. Elizabeth's Gravatar Elizabeth
    March 4, 2013 - 3:32 pm | Permalink

    I, too, was hoping there was more to Martin’s biography, so I did a Google search. This was the most informative page I found: I understand why Chris might not have wanted have to deal with Martin’s effortsto bargain for the lives of condemned prisoners and Priscillianists, as the issues were political and complex, but I do think they were an important aspect of his ministry. I was moved enough by his compassion and sense of mercy for people of doctrinal differences (and for condemned persons in general), to give him my vote, despite my intense dislike of his destruction of temples and trees held sacred by the pagans (a very modern perspective, I know, that you can support one faith or candidate without denigrating or harming the other).

    If I had known about Gregory’s role in tainting Mary Magdalene’s biography, that would have done it for me, too.

  87. March 4, 2013 - 3:37 pm | Permalink

    Had to go with Gregory, since my monastic order is devoted to liturgical scholarship, magnifying the sacraments and living sacramental lives of service within and beyond the church.

    Meanwhile, I’m loving the archbishops’ commentary. Here’s hoping the Clairvoyatron isn’t a victim of sequestration!

  88. Peg's Gravatar Peg
    March 4, 2013 - 3:46 pm | Permalink

    The comments are making me rethink my early vote and hope Martin will rally and pull ahead. But I suspect Gregory will prevail, since Martin has almost no chants.

    • Anne Rein's Gravatar Anne Rein
      March 4, 2013 - 4:04 pm | Permalink

      “no chants” 🙂

  89. Lucia Ann McSpadden's Gravatar Lucia Ann McSpadden
    March 4, 2013 - 4:25 pm | Permalink

    I am learning so much — we Methodists don’t deal with saints very much. What is the Wounded Warrior project?
    This particular LM reminds me of the Sister Fidelma mysteries which opened my mind about the Celtic Church as well as the Council of Whitby.

  90. Lisa Green's Gravatar Lisa Green
    March 4, 2013 - 5:00 pm | Permalink

    I like Barbara’s idea that MM wouldn’t mind being misidentified as a prostitute in solidarity with the slandered, but what troubles me is how the Pope’s sermon undermined her power as a role model for female followers of Jesus. Gregory said, “We believe that this woman [MM] is Luke’s female sinner, the woman John calls Mary [who also anoints Jesus’ feet], and that Mary from whom Mark says seven demons were cast out.” He also identified the seven demons with “all the vices,” and said that MM previously used the ointment “to perfume her flesh in forbidden acts” . . . and by falling at Jesus’ feet, “turned the mass of her crimes to virtues, in order to serve God entirely in penance.” As Prostitute & Penitent, the Apostle to the Apostles is effectively tamed. The recent renovation of her image was threatening enough to a theologian I heard years ago that he reiterated Gregory’s “all the vices” line and said having seven demons cast out meant MM was on par with Hitler. The “mass of her crimes” indeed. For a cheeky spin on all this, check out

    • March 4, 2013 - 5:53 pm | Permalink

      What bothers me — well, one thing that bothers me — is how the church, and everyone in it, just bought Gregory’s story for so long . . . it’s like taking everything in the Bible literally. It just doesn’t make sense!

      • Barbara's Gravatar Barbara
        March 4, 2013 - 6:08 pm | Permalink

        But they didn’t. The Orthodox have never believed it, for instance – and this was long, long before the Great Schism….

      • Barbara's Gravatar Barbara
        March 4, 2013 - 6:14 pm | Permalink

        (It does sound, to me, like a more recent development, actually, given everything else we know about MM and her high status in the church for such a long time. I’m putting my money on this getting going during the Renaissance, in fact, because of all the depictions of MM in art. In fact, I’m going to do some research and see what I can find out….)

        • William Loring's Gravatar William Loring
          March 4, 2013 - 10:50 pm | Permalink

          Sorry, Barb ara, but I’m afraid your research will show that GG die put that Prostitute thing out there (may not have started it, but certainly taught it). Of course he was trying to take that from Scripture, but a rather tendentious interpretation.

      • Barbara's Gravatar Barbara
        March 4, 2013 - 6:21 pm | Permalink

        (Anyway, I don’t think “Prostitute and Penitent” necessarily means she’s been “tamed” – since everybody in Christianity is a penitent. It does sound as if Gregory was freaked out by females, though, I’d agree….)

        • Diana Wilcox's Gravatar Diana Wilcox
          March 4, 2013 - 6:46 pm | Permalink

          As I said below, perhaps if we just said that Peter, or even Jesus, was a prostitute, and allow that to become the predominate view for a few hundred years, folks might understand. This isn’t about whether our brothers and sisters who must sell their bodies to live are bad, it is about the subjugation of a person (due to conventional notions of this work through the centuries), who was the one to whom Jesus chose to show himself first as our resurrected Savior. It was she who was the apostle to the apostles, the one to first tell of the good news. I can assure you that in GtheG’s time, and since, this did her a great disservice. Now, having won the Golden Halo, she is beaming in heaven, to be sure; but still, to deny the impact on her, and on women generally, as Lisa Green points out, is to deny the very need to not denigrate those who are prostitutes, and we all know that there is much work to be done on this. In other words, the argument that prostitutes should not be denigrated (to which I agree), means that in fact, they are denigrated and always have been, and therefore – GtheG did a great disservice to her, and knew what he was doing to her when he did it.

          • Diana Wilcox's Gravatar Diana Wilcox
            March 4, 2013 - 6:48 pm | Permalink

            Whoops, said it above in this thread, not below.

  91. Willie's Gravatar Willie
    March 4, 2013 - 5:11 pm | Permalink

    Voted for GG, but factoid about Martin: he is the patron saint of chaplains. His cape (“cappa”) was venerated as a relic and placed in a “capellan.” From which we get the word chaplain. The compassionate work of the chaplain is to share the cape of Christ’s love and care with all.

    • Ann's Gravatar Ann
      March 4, 2013 - 5:18 pm | Permalink

      Didn’t know about the cape and the patron saint-ness of chaplains, but I must have got the message, cuz I’m a hospital chaplain and Martin’s whom I voted for.

  92. Cyndi DeBock's Gravatar Cyndi DeBock
    March 4, 2013 - 5:32 pm | Permalink

    As one of the several patron saints of Alcoholics and recovering Alcoholics, etc., my vote today goes to Martin of Tours.

  93. Mark's Gravatar Mark
    March 4, 2013 - 5:56 pm | Permalink

    Shouldn’t Martin also be recognized as the patron saint of retailers? After all, he introduced the concept of 1/2 off clothing.

    • Diana Wilcox's Gravatar Diana Wilcox
      March 4, 2013 - 6:29 pm | Permalink

      Ooooh, that was painful! 😉

    • Harlie Youngblood's Gravatar Harlie Youngblood
      March 4, 2013 - 6:47 pm | Permalink


  94. Martha Watson's Gravatar Martha Watson
    March 4, 2013 - 6:10 pm | Permalink

    Hate voting for a pope, even the last good one, but I had to go for Gregory. Martin was undoubtedly a good guy, a very good guy, but Augustine to England, even with the repercussions for Celtic Christianity, is dear to my hear.

    • Jo Meachem's Gravatar Jo Meachem
      March 5, 2013 - 6:40 am | Permalink

      Is that a typo, or a deliberate pun? ;-D

  95. Nancy Evans's Gravatar Nancy Evans
    March 4, 2013 - 6:33 pm | Permalink

    OK it may not be complemtary to be referred to as a lady of the evening or even true but Rehab was an ancestor of Jesus. So is that not considered good company?

    • Emmetri Monica Beane's Gravatar Emmetri Monica Beane
      March 4, 2013 - 6:51 pm | Permalink

      Rahab? (I saw “Rehab” and immediately a continuous loop of Amy Winehouse started playing in my head. At least it wasn’t Taylor Swift.)

      • Susan Chacon's Gravatar Susan Chacon
        March 4, 2013 - 8:30 pm | Permalink

        No! No! No!

  96. Emmetri Monica Beane's Gravatar Emmetri Monica Beane
    March 4, 2013 - 6:48 pm | Permalink

    My area code is 540 and I am a vocational deacon. I voted for Gregory. (Deep down I hope I had more substantial reasons. I think I did.)

  97. Diana Wilcox's Gravatar Diana Wilcox
    March 4, 2013 - 7:16 pm | Permalink

    I just saw that GtheG will face off (if he holds on here) with Florence Li Tim-Oi, so he’s toast anyway. Well, so would Martin be, or so I would think. Moving along…and loving Lent Madness! Can’t wait for tomorrow’s matchup.

  98. Jason's Gravatar Jason
    March 4, 2013 - 8:58 pm | Permalink

    Haven’t we all at one time or another been popular with aristocratic Greek ladies of a certain age?

  99. Alan Medsker's Gravatar Alan Medsker
    March 4, 2013 - 10:18 pm | Permalink

    Gregory just seems to be the better choice for me today…

  100. William Loring's Gravatar William Loring
    March 4, 2013 - 11:01 pm | Permalink

    I’m a confrater of St. Gregory’s Abbey and normally would vote for Gregory (did in the nunup) but Martin has always (well the past 60 or so years) been someone I especially admired, and gets my vote today. Also when Augustine arrived in Canterbury and announced he was going to bring Christianity to England, Queen Bertha’s response was, “Wonderful, won’t you join me in my chapel for Evensong?” The Chapel was St. Martin’s. the oldest Christian church in England. Oh, and despite his stay in Constantinople Gregory seems to have been the first pope who couldn’t speak Greek — or at least not very well — a problem that Martin seems not to have shared.

  101. Becky's Gravatar Becky
    March 4, 2013 - 11:05 pm | Permalink

    I went to an art exhibit today titled “War & Healing”. Many of the artists were veterans of our most recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; some from “Iraq Veterans Against the War”. Soldiering is much on my mind today and so I vote for Martin.

  102. Ginny Rodriguez's Gravatar Ginny Rodriguez
    March 5, 2013 - 12:57 am | Permalink

    Remembering a film strip cum record player shown at All Saints School, San Diego, I vote for St. Martin. The pictures of St. Martin sharing his coat and telling his dream of seeing Christ’s face on the poor beggar were, and are, powerful reminders to care for one another for Jesus Christ’s sake. Also, it is not always easy to share. Martin must have been cold, too.

  103. Anne McCorkle Garrett's Gravatar Anne McCorkle Garrett
    March 5, 2013 - 7:23 am | Permalink

    No way can I vote for Pope Gregory, who conflated Mary Magdalene with the sinful woman, thereby sullying one of the foremost women of the Bible.

Comments are closed.