St. John Capistrano was the Franciscan Friar who in 1455 preached the crusade that saved Catholic Europe from the muslims. Pope Callixtus III begged St. John to organized this crusade against the muslims who were advancing toward Rome and Vienna under the direction of Mohammed II.
St. John had a vision that assured victory in the Name of Jesus and the cross. Remember that the Roman Emperor Constantine also had the vision to conquer ‘IN HOC SIGNO VINCES’, in this sign (of the cross) you win.
At the age of 70, St. John enrolled 70,000 crusades, mostly peasants. When the crusade was actually in operation, St. John accompanied the famous Hunyady throughout the campaign. After some days of battle, the peasant crusaders left the Belgrade bastion to fight hand to hand with the muslims. St. John decided to lead them into battle carrying high the Crucifix.
He is famous for his saying; “The Lord who made the beginning, will take care of the finish”. Chroniclers wrote that the muslims were “paralyzed by some inexplicable fear” 40,000 of the muslims perished that day in battle, while hardly any of the crusaders died.
On July 22, 1456, the muslims retreated and Belgrade and Europe were saved. St. John Capistrano is also called “The Soldier Saint”.
To celebrate the victory at Belgrade, Pope Collixtus III asked for Catholic churches all over Europe to ring their bells at 12 noon. To this very day, this custom is still practiced in many parts of the world.
The original author of this blog passed away in July of 2016. RIP Father Carota.