30 June - Martial of Limoges or Saint Martial, also called the Apostle of the Gauls or the Apostle of Aquitaine, is according to tradition the first bishop of Limoges. Founder of the Church of Aquitaine, he is the eponymous patron saint of many towns, villages and places of Catholic worship, the most famous of which is the Abbey of Saint-Martial de Limoges. His cult also remains very popular in Limousin.
It is known that the first bishop was buried in the cemetery located near via Agrippa. On his tomb was built in the early Middle Ages an abbey, a stopover on the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela. In the 1960s, excavations were carried out in Limoges on the site of the former Saint-Martial Abbey, during the digging of an underground car park under the Place de la République. In the remains of a crypt, a tomb attributed to the saint was discovered, as well as a mosaic of the High Empire testifying to the importance of the person buried.
This is how Adémar de Chabannes, a monk of the Saint-Martial abbey, tells his story in "Vita prolixior": On his way to Augustoritum, he crossed Ahun where he gave back his sight to pagan priests who had molested him, it was then that the demon came out of a statue of Jupiter which broke. Martial healed a paralytic who had asked him for help. Christ appeared to Martial, ordering him to leave the city of Ahun to continue his mission: "Don't be afraid to go down to Limoges, where I will glorify you and be with you always." Arriving in the capital of Les Lémovices, Martial cured a demented man in the presence of his hostess Suzanne and his daughter Valerie. But two pagan priests, André and Aurélien, imprisoned the three companions; the two Gallo-Romans were struck by lightning which killed them. Martial resurrected them, then immediately afterwards the two pagans confessed all their sins. After the miracle of Saint Valerie - see below - Martial resurrected his executioner and Hildebert, son of the Count of Poitiers, who had drowned in the Vienne. The three evangelizers set out to convert the rest of Aquitaine, they arrived in Bordeaux where Martial healed Sigisbert, Count of the city, who was paralyzed. The city was then the victim of a fire, but Martial extinguished the fire with his staff. He then left for Poitiers where Christ appeared to him, announcing the martyrdom of St. Peter and St. Paul; some time later, he reappeared to him, telling him that he would soon die. Martial returned to Limoges and chose Aurelian, the former pagan priest, as his successor; the evangelizer died during a mass attended by many faithful who saw the soul of the apostle rise to heaven. The first bishop of Limoges was buried outside the city; in the course of the funeral procession a paralytic was healed, the first of a long procession of sick people who would come to ask for their cure at the tomb of Saint Martial.