Today the Church celebrates the memorial of St. Martin of Tours, bishop. St. Martin is the first bishop and confessor honored by the Church in the West. He was a principal apostle of Gaul, where his feast was celebrated as a holyday of obligation with an octave and popular celebrations.
At the age of ten, he went to the church against the wishes of his parents and became a catechumen or candidate for baptism. At this time, Christianity had been made a legal religion (in 316), but it was by no means the dominant religion of the Roman Empire. It had many more adherents in the Eastern Empire, whence it had sprung, and was concentrated in cities, brought along the trade routes by converted Jews and Greeks (the term 'pagan' literally means 'country-dweller'). Christianity was still far from accepted amongst the higher echelons of society, and in the army the cult of Mithras would have been stronger. Although the conversion of theEmperor Constantine, and the subsequent program of church-building, gave a greater impetus to the spread of the religion, it was still a minority faith. When Martin was fifteen, as the son of a veteran officer, he was required to join a cavalry himself and thus, around 334, was stationed at Ambianensium civitas or Samarobriva in Gaul now Amiens, France.
While Martin was still a soldier at Amiens he experienced the vision that became the most-repeated story about his life. He was at the gates of the city of Amiens with his soldiers when he met a scantily dressed beggar. He impulsively cut his own militarycloak in half and shared it with the beggar. That night he dreamed of Jesus wearing the half-cloak Martin had given away. He heard Jesus say to the angels: "Here is Martin, the Roman soldier who is not baptised; he has clad me. (courtesy of wikipedia)