Today is the feast of Pope St. Martin I, who refused a seventh-century government mandate–to remain silent on the issue of monothelitism, a heresy which denies Christ exercised both human and divine wills. Hard to appreciate perhaps, but back then theology could be a blood sport, and for such audacity he was dragged from the Lateran in Rome, shipped to Constantinople, and endured a piteous martyrdom at the order of the emperor, who most certainly exercised a single will. Martin died at last in what is now southern Ukraine–all but abandoned by his fellow churchmen, though today he is recognized as a saint by both the Roman and Orthodox Catholic churches.

His story is well worth reading, partly because it seems so timely, and because his humbling example is truly timeless. St. Martin, please pray for us, and for all who aspire to lead.

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