John Capistrano

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Saint John Capistrano

Feast Day: October 23rd.

The name is of Hebrew origin and means ‘Yahweh (God) is gracious’.

John Capistrano was born on June 24, 1386, in the town of Capestrano in the Abruzzo region, Italy. His father was a wealthy German baron and former knight, but he died shortly, which had a significant impact on John’s life. As a young man, he studied law in Perugia and later became the mayor of his town, but disputes and conflicts in the city ended with his imprisonment. This experience contributed to his profound personal transformation and his acceptance of God’s call to the religious life.

In 1416, John joined the Franciscan order of the Minor Friars, and two years later, in 1418, he was ordained a priest. During his religious journey, he developed a close relationship with Saint Bernardino of Siena and participated in the renewal of the order. He became a popular lay missionary, traveling throughout Europe for forty years, promoting a more fervent Christian life. Wherever he went, he attracted crowds of people eager to listen to his passionate sermons.

At a time when the Turks conquered Constantinople in 1453 and began to threaten Europe, Saint John Capistrano actively worked to unite Christian princes in defense of the Christian world. In 1456, he himself participated in the defense of Belgrade, where he attempted to stop the attack of 100,000 Turks with a cross in his hand, temporarily succeeding. However, he contracted the plague in the war turmoil, which affected a large part of the Christian army. Saint John Capistrano died on October 23, 1456, in the then Hungarian town of Ilok (today’s Vukovar in Croatia).

Patron Saint of: judges, lawyers, attorneys, military chaplains, and the city of Belgrade

Name variations: Eoin, Evan, Giovanni, Hans, Hansen, Hanson, Hovhannes, Iaian, Ian, Ifan, Ioan, Ioane, Ivan, Iven, Jack, Jackson, Jaenda, Jan, Janco, Jane, Janez, Janos, Jansen, Janson, Jantje, Jean, Jehan, Jehann, Jenkin, Jenkins, Jenkyn, Jenkyns, Jenner, Jennings, Jens, Jense, Jentz, Jhon, Jian, Joan, João, Jock, Jocko, Joen, Joenes, Joennes, Joenns, Johahn, Johan, Johanan, Johane, Johann, Johannes, Johaun, Johnavon, Johne, Johnnie, Johnny, Johnsie, Johnson, Johon, Jone, Jones, Joness, Jonesy, Jonne, Jonnel, Jontavius, Jovan, Juan, Juha, Juhana, Juhanah, Juhani, Juhanna, Juhannah, Juho, Seain, Seán, Shane, Shawn, Yannakis, Yanni, Yannis, Yiannis, Zane