Capistran, John

, a Franciscan friar, was born in the village of Capistran in Italy, 1385, and acquired prodigious reputation by his zeal, his eloquence, and the regularity of his manners. He was sent into Bohemia, in order to effect the conversion of the Hussites; and he preached a crusade against the Turks, in Germany, in Hungary, and in Poland. His eloquence seconded so happily the valour of Hunniades, that he contributed greatly to the victories which the Christians gained over Mahomet, and particularly to the famous battle of Belgrade in 1456. These two men divided so evidently the glory of the victories which were gained, that it was thought there was a jealousy between them; for in the account which Capistran gave of the victory of Belgrade, no notice was taken of John Hunniades; and the relations of the latter did not make the least mention of Capistran. Capistran died a little after the victory last mentioned, Oct. 23, 1456, and was buried at Wiilak in Hungary. We are told, that many miracles were wrought at his tomb, and that his prayers put a stop to the miracles of a lay-brother. He was canonized in October 1690 by pope Alexander VIII. but had before been beatified by Gregory XV. Some very surprising effects are related of his eloquence, as that he prevailed on his hearers to make a pile of, and burn, all their implements of gaming, and then take up arms against the Turks. He did not, however, depend upon his eloquence, but employed the secular arm in the work of conversion, and put to death those whom he found refractory. His body, after being buried above a century, was removed to another monastery when the Turks took Sirmisch, and afterwards, when the protestants got possession of that monastery, it was thrown into a well. His principal work was, “Speculum Clericorum,” a treatise on the power of the pope and councils, &c. which he maintained in the genuine spirit of persecution. 2


Gen. Dict.