Life of Saint Martial
Martial of Limoges or St Martial (3rd century), also called « the apostle of the Gauls » or « the apostle of Aquitaine », was the first bishop of Limoges.
Founder of the Church of Aquitaine and celebrated on June 30th, he is the eponymous saint patron of numerous cities, villages and catholic places of worship, the best known of which was the Abbey of St Martial in Limoges.
His help was invoked in Limoges during the 994 ostensions when the inhabitants were suffering from ergot poisoning Thanks to the exertions of preacher Adhémar de Chabannes the title of apostle was conferred upon him by Pope John XIX during the Limoges Church Councils of 1029 and1031. This was at the origin of a great influx of pilgrims which enriched the abbey and the city of Limoges.
Though the church had generally fought against this decision from the 17th century onwards, it was maintained by the Sacred Congregation of the Rites and confirmed by Pope Pius IX (decree of 18 May 1845), then finally abandoned by the Church at the beginning of the 20th century.
Yet the cult of St Martial as apostle lasted until the 1850’s in the liturgy of the Limousin Church . It is still very popular in Limousin.