The Hungarian Institute in Paris commemorated the 1700th anniversary of the birth of Saint Marin with the book launch of La Vie de saint Martin by Sulpice Severe at the distinguished Les Editions du Cerf, prefaced by Marianne Saghy, associate professor in the Department of Medieval Studies at CEU, and postfaced by Gilles Berceville O.P. of the Institut Catholique de Paris on October 18.
The authors and distinguished speakers, including Mgr. Bernard Nicolas Aubertin, the archbishop of Tours, Raphaelle Ziade, curator of the Icon Collection at the Petit Palais, Paris, and Edina Bozoky of the Université de Poitiers, discussed the meaning of Martin’s action and of the figure of Saint Martin today. Judit Rajk of the Liszt Academy of Music sang Ambrosian, Gregorian and contemporary pseudo-gregorian chants.
Saghy handed over the Hungarian translation of Pierre Riche’s Education and culture in the Barbarian West (5-8th century) to the author, who celebrated his 95th birthday earlier in October. Riche, the doyen of French medieval scholars, an expert on Pope Sylvester II who sent the Holy Crown to Hungary, was very pleased to see his opus magnum translated into the language of King Saint Stephen (Oktatás és művelődés a barbár Nyugaton, 6-8.század, translated by Aniko Adam and Marianne Saghy, Szent Istvan Tarsulat, Budapest, 2016).
Among the audience were Hungarian Ambassador to France Gyorgy Karolyi, the Cultural Secretary of the Hungarian Embassy, politologist Gergely Fejerdy, and a number of distinguished historians, such as Marie-Élisabeth Ducreux, president of the Scientifique International de l’universite de Prague, Bruno Judic of the Universite de Tours, as well as the founder of the European Center of Saint Martin of Tours, Antoine Selosse, who challenges the success of the Camino with his European Itinerary of Saint Martin of Tours leading from Szombathely to Tours via Slovenia, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands and attracting pilgrims from all over the world.
The scholarly debate accompanied by beautiful medieval music was a great success, thanks to the generous hospitality to Janos Havasi, director of the Hungarian Institute in Paris.
Saint Martin, the wonderworking bishop of Tours was born in Savaria (Szombathely) in Pannonie in 316 (?). Martin – soldier, hermit, bishop – is an iconic figure and the most popular saint of Late Antique and early medieval Christianity: his tomb attracted thousands of pilgrims in Tours so much so that the city was called Martinopolis; his hagiographical biography and his collection of miracles were the most read books in the Middle Ages after the Bible; his celebrated soldiers’ cloak (cappa) shared with a beggar has become the symbol of mercifulness, and the little building where it was housed gave its name to chapel (capella) and to the French royal dynasty (Capet).