French canonist and historian; b. Saint-Clément (Allier), May 23, 1886; d. there, Sept. 7, 1945. He was the youngest of seven children in a rural family. After studying in Moulins at the minor seminary (1899–1903) and major seminary (1903–06) and at the university seminary in Lyons (1906–10), he was ordained (1910) and then served as curate in Saint-Cosne d'Allier parish in the Diocese of Moulins (1910–14) and as chaplain in the church of Saint-Louis des Francçis in Rome (1914–19). He gained the degrees of doctor in Canon Law (1914) and doctor of literature (Docteur ès Lettres, 1920). In 1919 he became a professor in the major seminary in Moulins. In 1921 he went to the University of Strasbourg as professor of Canon Law on the faculty of theology and acted as dean of this faculty (1923–45). In the latter capacity he reorganized the theology faculty when it was renewed after World War I and made numerous trips to Central Europe.
From 1928 to 1945 Martin was codirector of the 26-volume Histoire de l'Église depuis les origines jusqu'à nos jours, founded by Augustin fliche. He wrote the following books: Le gallicanisme et la Réforme catholique. Essai historique sur l'introduction en France des décrets du concile de Trent, 1563–1615 (1919); Le gallicanisme politique et le clergé de France (1929); Les origines du gallicanisme (2 v. 1939); Les negociations du nonce Silingardi … relatives à la publication du concile du Trent, 1599–1601 (1919), a collection of documents; Les cardinaux et la Curie (1930); and Les Congrégations romaines (1930). Martin's works on Gallicanism and its origins are regarded as the best on the subject.
Bibliography: a. fliche, "Mgr. Victor Martin," Revue d'histoire de l'Église de France 32 (1946) 221–225.