mardi 17 mars 2015

Saint JAN SARKANDER, prêtre et martyr

Statue de Saint John Sarkander 

Saint Jan Sarkander, prêtre et martyr

Jan Sarkander naît en 1576 à Skoczow, ville du Royaume de Bohême. Prêtre simple et généreux, il exerce son ministère de curé d’Holesov en Moravie, fidèle à son devoir. A l'époque de l’hérésie hussite, il fut accusé de conspiration avec l'armée polonaise et refusa de trahir le secret de la confession qu'il avait reçue du baron de Moravie. Il fut, pour cela, soumis au supplice de la roue. Respirant encore, puis jeté en prison, il mourut au bout d’un mois, le 17 mars 1620, à Olomouc.

Fresque représentant saint John Sarkander à Holešov

Fresque de Jano Köhler à la chapelle St. Jan Sarkander (Sarkandrova kaple) à Olomouc (Czech Republic).

Saint Jan Sarkander

prêtre et martyr ( 1620)

Martyr à Olomouc en Moravie. Curé d’Holesov, à l'époque des hérésies hussites, accusé de conspiration avec l'armée polonaise en vue d'une invasion, il refusa de trahir le secret de la confession qu'il avait reçue du baron de Moravie. Il fut, pour cela, soumis au supplice de la roue. Respirant encore, puis jeté en prison et mourut au bout d’un mois.

Béatifié en 1860 par Pie IX, canonisé le 21 mai 1995, à Olomouc (République Czech) par Jean-Paul II lors de son voyage en République Tchèque.

"Jan Sarkander naît en 1576 à Skoczow, ville du Royaume de Bohême qui, après la deuxième guerre mondiale, a été rattachée à la Pologne avec toute la Silésie. Prêtre simple et généreux, il exerce son ministère en Moravie, fidèle à son devoir. C'est l'époque où règne le principe 'cujus regio, ejus religio' au nom duquel le prince prétend imposer sa foi, ce qui entraîne des persécutions tant chez les catholiques que chez les protestants.  Ainsi Jan Sarkander subit de cruelles tortures dans sa prison d'Olomouc alors qu'on essaie de lui arracher des secrets de confession pour obtenir des renseignements. C'est donc en martyr du secret de la confession qu'il meurt le 17 mars 1620."

À Olomuc en Moravie, l’an 1620, saint Jean Sarkander, prêtre et martyr. Curé d’Holesov, il refusa de trahir le secret de la confession et fut, pour cela, soumis au supplice de la roue. Respirant encore, il fut jeté en prison et mourut au bout d’un mois.

Martyrologe romain

St. Jan Sarkander

Martyred foe of the Hussites. He was born on December 20 at Skotschau, in Austrian Silesia, and educated at Prague. He was ordained in 1607 and served in various parishes, defending the faith against the Hussites. In 1618, at the start of the Thirty Years'War, the Protestants seized the local government. Two years later, Jan was taken prisoner at Olmutz and was tried by the Hussites. He was racked and tortured and died on March 17. He was canonized in 1995 by Pope John Paul II.

Fresque représentant la torture de saint John Sarkander
Fresque de Jano Köhler à la chapelle St. Jan Sarkander (Sarkandrova kaple) à Olomouc (Czech Republic).

Bl. John Sarkander

Martyr of the seal of confession, born at Skotschau in Austrian Silesia, 20 Dec., 1576; died at Olmütz, 17 March, 1620. In 1603 he merited the title of master of philosophy at Prague, and after four years' study of theology was ordained priest at Graz. He exercised his sacred functions in several places in the Diocese of Olmütz, and was made parish priest (1613) of Boskowitz, and (1616) of Holeschau in Moravia. Since the fifteenth century the sects of the Hussites and of the Bohemian (or United) Brethren had spread rapidly and taken possession of the churches and institutions of the Catholics, but when (1604) Ladislaus Poppel of Lobkowitz bought the estates of Holleschau, he gave the church to the Catholics, and made a Jesuit college out of the house occupied by the Bohemian Brethren. With the aid of the Jesuits, John Sarkander converted two hundred and fifty of the strayed sheep, but thereby drew upon himself the hatred of the neighbouring landlord, Bitowsky of Bistritz. In 1618 the Protestants took control of Moravia, and John left Holleschau, made a pilgrimage to the shrine of Our Lady of Czentoschau and passed a few weeks of retreat with the Minims, who had a house there. He spent some months at Krakow and (1619) returned to Holleschau. In February of the following year the Polish auxiliary troops sent to the emperor by King Sigismund, passed through Moravia and committed many depredations on the lands of the Protestants, but spared Holleschau when John met them with the Blessed sacrament in his hands. Bitowsky threw suspicions upon John Sarkander as if he, in conspiracy with Lobkowitz, had brought the enemy into the territory. John was taken prisoner and brought to Olmütz. The commission appointed for the trial was made up entirely of Protestants, but the Catholic city judge Johann Scintilla was forced to attend. He made a report of the whole transaction to the bishop, Franz Cardinal von Dietrichstein (1625). The questions put were: who had called the troops into the country; what underhand dealings John had practiced in Poland; what had been confided to him by Lobkowitz, whose confessor he was, and whose secret plans he therefore knew. Because John would not violate the secrets of the holy tribunal the rack was used on 13, 17 and 18 February. On each of the latter days the torture lasted for two and three hours, lighted candles and feathers soaked in oil, pitch, and sulphur were strewn over his body and ignited. He lingered from the effects for a month and died in prison. The people immediately began to venerate John Sarkander and to ask for his beatification. The process was opened under Benedict XIV but was interrupted. It was brought to a close by Pius IX, who pronounced the solemn beatification 6 May, 1860. The relics are in an altar dedicated to his name in the cathedral of Olmütz.

Birkowski (Krakow, 1628); Positio super martyrio etc. (Rome, 1825); Liverani, Della vita e passione del Ven. Servo di Dio, Giov. Sarcander (Rome, 1855); Luksch in Kirchenlex., s.v. Sarkander, Hist. polit. Blätter, XXXI, 239.

Mershman, Francis. "Bl. John Sarkander." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 8. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. 16 Mar. 2015 <>.

Détail de la torture de saint John Sarkander 
sur l’épitaphe de la chapelle St. Jan Sarkander (Sarkandrova kaple) à Olomouc (Czech Republic).

John Sarkander, SJ M (AC)

Born at Skotschau, Silesia, in 1576; died 1620; beatified by Pius IX in 1860; canonized by Pope John Paul II with Saint Zdislava Berka in Olomouc, Czech Republic, in 1995. The canonization of Saint John Sarkander drew sharp criticism from Czech and Slovakian Protestants, although the Holy Father offered and asked for forgiveness for past sins committed in the name of religion.

John's father died when he was still very young, but his mother ensured that he would receive an excellent education by sending him to the Jesuits schools at Olmutz and Prague, where he read philosophy in 1602. Four years later he married a Lutheran lady, Anna Platska, who died the following year. Shocked by this experience, he resumed his study of theology and was ordained to the priesthood in 1609.

He became a parish priest of Holleschau in Moravia (diocese of Olmutz), a church whose property was purchased by the Catholic Baron Lobkovitz from the Bohemian Brethren. John converted many Hussites and Bohemian Brethren, but as a result, he incurred the enmity of the Protestants, who came to power in Moravia in 1618 at the beginning of the Thirty Years War. At that time Saint John made a pilgrimage to Czestochowa, Poland, and remained for some months in Cracow.

In 1620, King Sigismund III of Poland sent Cossack troops into Moravia to support Emperor Ferdinand III against the Protestant Estates. Although the Cossacks spared Holeschau when they met Sarkander in procession, he was unjustly accused of conspiring with the Poles, sent to Olmutz, and chained in a dungeon to await questioning.

At his trial, he denied any complicity in treasonable acts. He refused the order to reveal what he heard in confession from his penitent, the baron of Moravia. For his continued refusal to break the seal of the confessional, three times in mid-February, he was cruelly racked, branded, covered with pitch and tar, and set ablaze. He survived the ill-treatment, but died within the month (Benedictines, Farmer).

Sacerdote e martire nacque il 20 dicembre 1576 a Skoczów in Slesia (oggi Polonia) da Gregorio Mattia Sarkander (boemo) e Helena Górecka (polacca), sposata in seconde nozze. Dopo la morte del padre (1589) la famiglia si trasferì a Pribor in Moravia presso il figlio sacerdote di Helena, nato dal suo primo matrimonio. Jan frequentò la scuola parrocchiale, il collegio dei gesuiti a Olomouc, l'università di Praga e la Facoltà di Teologia di Graz.

Nel 1608 divenne sacerdote a Brno. Successivamente svolse la sua attività pastorale in diverse parrocchie e Diocesi di Olomouc.

Nel 1616 venne nominato parroco di Holešov, sede del luogotenente di Moravia, Ladislav Popel di Lobkovic, di cui divenne consigliere e confessore. Dopo la rivolta dei nobili di Boemia, per la maggior parte protestanti, contro l'Impero d'Austria, il suo programma di ricattolicizzazione della parrocchia divenne molto problematico, e dopo l'arresto di Lobkovic, in attesa di tempi migliori, Jan si recò in pellegrinaggio alla Madonna di Częstochowa (1619) e per 5 mesi rimase in Polonia.

Questo viaggio in Polonia gli fu fatale. Dopo il suo ritorno fu accusato di spionaggio a favore del Re polacco, che nel frattempo era intervenuto con le sue truppe in sostegno dell'Imperatore d'Austria, saccheggiando la Moravia, ma risparmiando proprio Holešov, i cui fedeli si recarono incontro alle truppe polacche in processione eucaristica, guidata da Jan Sarkander.

Il nuovo giudice supremo della Moravia, protestante, fece catturare Sarkander sotto l'accusa di tradimento. Subì quattro interrogatori accompagnati da crudeli e prolungate torture (13-18 febbraio 1620). Dopo un mese di sofferenze morì in carcere il 17 marzo 1620, a 46 anni.

Fu beatificato da Pio IX il 6 maggio 1860. Il processo di beatificazione mostrò che fu torturato in odio alla fede. il motivo politico servì da pretesto.