Stephen Pongracz

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Stephen Pongracz, SJ
17th-century drawing
Martyr Saint
Born István Pongrácz
c. 1583
Alvinc, Principality of Transylvania
Died 7 September 1619
Kassa, Kingdom of Hungary
(today: Košice, Slovakia)
Venerated in Hungary, Catholic Church, Society of Jesus
Beatified 15 January 1905, St Peter's Basilica, Rome by Pope Pius X
Canonized 2 July 1995, Košice, Slovakia by Pope John Paul II
Major shrine Premonstratensian Church (Kassa)
Feast 7 September

Stephen Pongracz (Hungarian: István Pongrácz; 1584-1619) was a Hungarian Jesuit priest, martyr and saint of the Catholic Church.


Stephen Pongracz was born in Alvincz Castle in Principality of Transylvania, entered the Society of Jesus in 1602, and studied in Bohemia and Austria. He had been ordained for four years when he was sent to Kassa, Kingdom of Hungary, (today Košice, Slovakia) with fellow Jesuit Melchior Grodziecki.[1]

The two Jesuits were working in small towns when they heard the news that a Calvinist army was marching on Kassa in an attempt to expand the territory of Gabriel Bethlen, prince of Transylvania. The two Jesuits returned to Kassa where they were joined by a diocesan priest, Fr. Marko Krizin. The Transylvanian army took control of the city on 5 September 1619, and immediately confined the three priests to the Jesuit residence. Before dawn on 7 September, soldiers broke into their quarters and demanded that they apostatize and accept Calvinism. When the priests refused to do so, the soldiers began to torture them and finally beheaded them.[1]

The bodies of the martyrs were recovered, after negotiations with Gabriel Bethlen, and were buried in the vicinity of Kassa. In 1636, they were moved to Nagyszombat (today Trnava, Slovakia).[2]

Veneration and Canonization

The cause of beatification of the Kassa martyrs began in 1628 and they were finally beatified on 15 January 1905 by Pope Pius X. They were canonized on 2 July 1995 in Košice by Pope John Paul II.[3] Although their feast day is on 7 September, the Jesuits also celebrate a feast day on 19 January, for the Martyrs of the Reformation in Europe.[4]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Jesuit saints and blesseds". 11 October 2007. Archived from the original on 11 October 2007. Retrieved 24 August 2018.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Cygański Las – Parafia NMP Królowej Świata w Bielsku-Białej". (in polski). Retrieved 24 August 2018.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Diocese of Bielsko-Żywiecka
  4. Calendar from, retrieved 8 September 2020