Lives of the Saints
MARTINIANUS was born at Caesarea in Palestine, during the reign of Constantius. At
eighteen years of age he retired to a mountain near that city called, The place of the
Ark, where he lived for twenty-five years among many holy solitaries in the practice of
all virtues, and was endowed with the gift of miracles. A wicked strumpet of
Caesarea, called Zoe, hearing his sanctity much extolled, at the instigation of the
devil undertook to pervert him. She feigned herself a poor woman, wandering in the
desert late at night, and ready to perish. By this pretext she prevailed on Martinianus
to let her remain that night in his cell. Towards morning she threw aside her rags, put
on her best attire, and going in to Martinianus, told him she was a lady of the city,
possessed of a large estate and plentiful fortune, all which she came to offer him
with herself. She also instanced, in the examples of the saints of the Old Testament,
who were rich and engaged in the conjugal state, to induce him to abandon his
purpose. The hermit, who should have imitated the chaste Joseph in his right, was
permitted, in punishment perhaps of some secret presumption, to listen to her
enchanting tongue, and to consent in his heart to her proposal. But as it was near the
time that he expected certain persons to call on him to receive his blessing and
instructions, he told her he would go and meet them on the road and dismiss them.
He went out with this intent, but being touched with remorse, he returned speedily to
his cell, where, making a great fire, he thrust his feet into it. The pain this
occasioned was so great, that he could not forbear crying out aloud. The woman at
the noise ran in and found him lying on the ground, bathed in tears, and his feet half
burned. On seeing her he said: "Ah! if I cannot bear this weak fire, how can I endure
that of hell." This example excited Zoe to sentiments of grief and repentance, and
she conjured him to put her in a way of securing her salvation. He sent her to
Bethlehem, to the monastery of St. Paula, in which she lived in continual penance,
and lying on the bare floor, with no other sustenance than bread and water.
Martinianus, as soon as his legs were healed, which was not till seven months after,
not being able all that time to rise from the ground, retired to a rock surrounded with
water on every side, to be secure from the approach of danger and all occasions of
sin. He lived here exposed always to the open air, and without ever seeing any
human creature, except a boatman, who brought him twice a year a biscuit and fresh
water, and twigs wherewith to make baskets. Six years after this, he saw a vessel
split and wrecked at the bottom of his rock. All on board perished, except one girl,
who, floating on a plank, cried out for succor. Martinianus could not refuse to go down
and save her life, but fearing the danger of living on the same mountain with her till
the boatman should come, as was expected in two months, resolved to leave her
there to subsist on his provisions till that time, and she chose to end her days on this
rock in imitation of his penitential life. He, trusting himself to the waves and
Providence, to shun all danger of sin, swam to the mainland, and traveled through
many deserts to Athens, where he made a happy end towards the year 400, being
about fifty years old. His name, though not mentioned in the Roman Martyrology,
occurs in the Greek Arenas, and was in great veneration in the East, particularly at
Constantinople, in the famous church near Santa Sophia. See his acts in the
Bollandist, and in most compilers on the lives of the saints. Also Jos. Assemani in
Cal. Univ. ad 13 Feb t. 6, p. 145
[1] Bulter's Lives of the Saints – February 13.
St Martinian  Hermit at Athens
A.D. 400