Key to Umbria: Gualdo Tadino

Blessed Martius (8th or 24th October)

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The Blessed Martius was born in ca. 1210 in Pieve di Compresseto, near Gualdo Tadino.  Together with his brother, Sylvester, and other friends (including Leonard and Philip) he joined the new Franciscan community at the Eremo di SS Stefano e Lorenzo (probably in ca. 1235). 

This was an urban hermitage in the Valdigorgo, near the first walled settlement of Gualdo.  This settlement, which had been built in ca. 1208, burned down in ca. 1237 and was rebuilt on the present site.  The friars therefore decided to return SS Stefano e Lorenzo to the Commune (its original owner) and to move elsewhere.  (It is not clear where they lived before ca. 1288, when the construction of the convent of San Francesco in the rebuilt settlement seems to have been started).

Blessed Martius, who decided not to move with the friars, asked the Commune to allow him to stay at the Eremo di SS Stefano e Lorenzo with a few of his companions.  They probably became Franciscan tertiaries, following the example of St Francis by living in perfect poverty.  Blessed martius became completely blind  before his death in 1301, at the age of 91.  He was buried in the church of the hermitage, which was known as the Eremo di San Marzio from at least 1290. 

When the Erermo di San Marzio collapsed in ca. 1600, the relics of the Blessed Martius were moved to the nearby tiny church of Sant’ Anna and then (when this church also collapsed in 1608) to San Rocco.  In 1766, at which time San Rocco was administered by the commendatory abbot of San Donato, this abbot opposed a request by the friars of San Francesco to move the relics to their church.  They thwarted his intention to translate them to San Donato by taking them to their church without waiting for authorisation.

Most of the relics were translated to the Altare del Rosario of San Benedetto in 1907, while the tibia was translated to the Chiesa dell' Assunzione di Maria Vergine, Pieve di Compresseto (where it can be seen under the high altar).  Blessed Martius was proclaimed a patron of Pieve di Compresseto in 1995.  The cult has never received papal confirmation.