Saint Martinian the Hermit

detail of an 11th century mosiac of Saint Martinian the Hermit, Hosios Loukas Monastery, Boeotia, GreeceAlso known as

  • Martinian of Athens



Hermit from age 18. Miracle worker. There are a couple of stories attached to Martinian; in them the line between fact and a good story probably blurs a little.

Legend says that one day a miserable, bedraggled woman named Zoe showed at his door requesting a traveller‘s hospitality. He took her in, but her true colors soon showed as she cleaned up and showed herself to be a beautiful woman who tried to seduce Martinian. When he realized how tempted he was, he built a fire and put his feet in it; the pain, as you might imagine, was excruciating. Martinian said, “If I cannot stand this fire, how will I tolerate the fires of Hell?” He counseled her while she treated his wounds, converted her, and she became a nun in Bethlehem.

To save himself from his own weakness, the saint moved to a large rock surrounded on all sides by the sea. There he lived on bread and water brought to him by a Christian sailor who visited three times a year. After six years living exposed on the rock, he had a visitor – a young woman who washed up on the rock after her ship had gone down at sea. Before she could speak, he gave her all his provisions, promised to send his friend the sailor to rescue her when he returned, then threw himself into the sea. He washed up on shore, and two months later had the girl rescued. He then spent the rest of his days in Athens.





  • dolphin
  • man standing on a rock in the sea
Additional Information

MLA Citation

  • “Saint Martinian the Hermit“. CatholicSaints.Info. 21 May 2020. Web. 16 October 2021. <>