Saint Martin of Tours Medal

The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod posted this article on their Facebook page:

Today we mark St. Martin of Tours Day – Nov. 11. Traditionally the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod uses this day to announce the St. Martin of Tours Medal awards for the next year. Congratulations to the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod chaplains who will be receiving the St. Martin of Tours award for 2023:

Chaplain Jason Bredeson – U.S. Air Force Reserve

Chaplain Jason Dart – U.S. Navy Reserve

Chaplain Gregory Lutz – Canadian Army

Chaplain Douglas Ochner – U.S. Army

Chaplain Jeffrey Williams – Civil Air Patrol

Here is some Background:

The Bronze St. Martin of Tours Award

An award in the name of St. Martin of Tours is particularly appropriate for Lutheran chaplains. As a young man, Martin of Tours, who was born in 315 AD, served as an officer in the Roman Army. According to tradition, one day he encountered a poor beggar shivering from the cold. Martin drew his sword, cut his military cape in two and covered the beggar with one half. That night, according to the tradition, Christ appeared to Martin in a dream, wearing the half of the cape he had given to the beggar. The vision led to Martin’s conversion and baptism.

Martin eventually became a cleric, founded a monastery and, over the years, his piety and devotion to Christ became so well known that he was installed as the Bishop of Tours, France, by popular demand. Following his death, the remaining half of Martin’s cape became an object of veneration. French kings had the cape carried into battle and prepared a tent-like portable shrine for it. In Latin, the shrine was called a “capella.” The priest who was given responsibility for the “capa” and the “capella” was called the “capellanus.” It is through the derivation of these terms that we now have the English words for “chapel” and “chaplain.” Consequently, since Medieval days, Martin of Tours has been identified with those who serve as military chaplains.

For Lutheran chaplains, however, Martin of Tours has an additional, significant connection. On November 10, 1483, Hans and Margarethe Luther, of Eisleben, Germany, welcomed the birth of a new baby boy. Following the custom of the times, they had their infant baptized the following day. Since November 11 was the date the Christian Church traditionally remembered and honored St. Martin of Tours, the baby was named Martin Luther.

It is most appropriate, therefore, to give tribute to Lutheran pastors who have given so many years of dedicated service to military personnel with an award whose name recalls these two historic defenders of the Christian faith.