May 30, St John (Jan) Sarkander

May 30
Optional memorial
In the Archdiocese of Katowice – Obligatory memorial
In the Diocese of Bielsko-Żywiec: patron of the diocese – Obligatory memorial

John was born in 1576 in Skoczów, the then Duchy of Cieszyn. As a priest he worked at various locations in Moravia, such as Holešov, where he was a parish priest in the difficult times of Catholic-Lutheran struggles. He died as a martyr in prison in 1620. He was beatified by Pius IX, and canonised by John Paul II in 1995 in Olomouc.

Common of One Martyr, or Pastors.



From the beatification bull by Pope Pius IX
The Servant of God bore witness to the faith

The beginnings of the Church were a gracious and admirable example for the next generations. Then the light of Gospel drew a lot of people of various nationalities, ways of life and attitudes. They accepted the faith, both men and women, young and wealthy; neither wealth nor background, nor charms of life were obstacles. And when others tried to make them renounce their faith, by means of torture and threats, they stood still on the battlefield, courageous while speaking, with pure soul, stronger than their tormentors.

The next generations have cherished their memory, believing that Christ helped his martyrs from heaven and strengthened his confessors in the fight and lifted their spirits. Models of such valour were very often renewed by God in his Church to show that the faith in Him fills hearts with toughness and power, and the toils of worldliness, accepted as a sacrifice, lead to eternal life, for the crown of glory will not be given to those avoiding good fight.

In the beginning of the 17th century this kind of faith was proved by the venerable servant of God, John Sarkander, rector of the Diocese of Olomouc; even the enemies of the religion were surprised by his brave attitude in the face of various tortures, thanks to which he adorned the Catholic Church with a new martyr’s palm. He was known to be wise and pious, as befits a priest of God, and equipped with these attributes, he served the Lord and guarded the Church. Brave and persistent, revealing and adamant in strengthening the true faith, he incurred his opponents’ wrath. An accusation of supposed treason was plotted against him and the servant of God was cast in a prison and tortured. He nonetheless endured it courageously calling for heavenly help and strengthening himself with constant prayer. Rent and broken, numb in body but strong in spirit, he did not cease to praise God. He lived until 17 March 1620, on which day his invincible soul got released from the shackles of the earth and flew to Christ.

This extraordinary power of his spirit in enduring horrible torments ensured him unusual praise and glory not only in Moravia, but also in the neighbouring lands. And eternal God wished to adorn the memory of this martyr with numerous miracles to prove his holiness. Therefore, in the times of the oppression of the Church in order to strengthen the faithful by such an example of praiseworthy martyrdom by Our Apostolic authority, we hereby allow that the venerable servant of God John Sarkander be named blessed and that his body and relics be shown to be revered by the faithful. [1]

RESPONSORY 2 Timothy 4:7-8; Philippians 3:8-10

I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith.,
From now on the crown of righteousness awaits me, alleluia.

I even everything as a loss because of the supreme good of knowing Christ and sharing of his sufferings by being conformed to his death,if somehow I may attain the resurrection.
From now on the crown of righteousness awaits me, alleluia.


you gave Blessed John steadiness in confessing the true faith and keeping the seal of the confessional,
grant that his example may strengthen us and his help support us in the face of adversity.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

[1] Translated by DChojnacki (2014).


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