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St. John of Capistrano, P
Feastday: October 23
Birth: June 24, 1386; Capestrano, Italy
Death: October 23, 1456; IIok, Croatia
Canonized: 1690 or 1724, Rome
Patron: Jurist, Military Chaplains, Belgrade, Hungary
Saint John of Capistrano (Italian: San Giovanni da Capestrano, Hungarian: Kapisztrán János, Polish: Jan Kapistran, Croatian: Ivan Kapistran, Serbian: Јован Капистран, Jovan Kapistran) (24 June 1386 – 23 October 1456) was a Franciscan friar and Catholic priest from the Italian town of Capestrano, Abruzzo. Famous as a preacher, theologian, and inquisitor, he earned himself the nickname 'the Soldier Saint' when in 1456 at age 70 he led a crusade against the invading Ottoman Empire at the siege of Belgrade (Hungarian: "siege of Nándorfehérvár") with the Hungarian military commander John Hunyadi.
Elevated to sainthood, he is the patron saint of jurists and military chaplains, as well as the namesake of the Franciscan missions San Juan Capistrano in Southern California and San Juan Capistrano in San Antonio, Texas.
St. John was born at Capistrano, Italy in 1385, the son of a former German knight in that city. He studied law at the University of Perugia and practiced as a lawyer in the courts of Naples. King Ladislas of Naples appointed him governor of Perugia. During a war with a neighboring town he was betrayed and imprisoned.
Upon his release he entered the Franciscan community at Perugia in 1416. He and St. James of the March were fellow students under St. Bernardine of Siena, who inspired him to institute the devotion to the holy Name of Jesus and His Mother. John began his brilliant preaching apostolate with a deacon in 1420. After his ordination he traveled throughout Italy, Germany, Bohemia, Austria, Hungary, Poland, and Russia preaching penance and establishing numerous communities of Franciscan renewal. When Mohammed II was threatening Vienna and Rome, St. John, at the age of seventy, was commissioned by Pope Callistus III to preach and lead a crusade against the invading Turks. Marching at the head of seventy thousand Christians, he gained victory in the great battle of Belgrade against the Turks in 1456. Three months later he died at Illok, Hungary.
His feast day is October 23. He is the patron of jurists.
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