John of Vercelli

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Blessed John of Vercellli, O.P.
Master General of the Order of Preachers
Born c. 1205
Mosso Santa Maria
Biella, Italy
Died 30 November 1283
Montpellier, France
Honored in
Roman Catholic Church
(Dominican Order)

The Blessed John of Vercelli, O.P. (c. 1205 – 30 November 1283), was the sixth Master General of the Dominican Order.

John was born in 1205 to the Garbella family in Mosso Santa Maria in the Province of Biella, in the Piedmont region of Italy. He did his initial studies in Paris and then studied canon law in Paris, Pavia and Vercelli before he joined the Dominican friars during the 1240s. In 1254 he was appointed as the prior of the Dominican monastery in Bologna. From 1257 to 1264 he served as the Prior Provincial of Lombardy.

In 1264 he was elected as Master General by the General Chapter, a post which he held until his death.[1] Known for his tireless energy and his commitment to simplicity, John made personal visits—typically on foot—to almost all the Dominican houses, urging his fellow friars to observe faithfully the Rule and Constitutions of the Order.

During his administration, Pope Gregory X entrusted the Dominican Order with the task of trying to establish peace among the warring States of the Italian peninsula. Additionally, John was also given the task of preparing a framework for the Second Council of Lyons, held in 1274 in an attempt to unify the Eastern and Western Churches. In the course of this work, he met and worked with the Minister General of the Friars Minor, Jerome of Ascoli (who would later become Pope Nicholas IV). Both were later sent by the Holy See to negotiate a disagreement with King Philip III of France.

Following the Council, Pope Gregory again looked to the Dominican friars, this time to spread devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus.[2] John took the task to heart, requiring that every Dominican church contain an altar dedicated to the Holy Name. The Society of the Holy Name was formed to combat blasphemy and profanation of this name.[3]

Late in his life, John was offered the position of Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, which he declined.[3] He died on 30 November 1283 in Montpellier, France.

Preceded by
Humbert de Romans
Master General of the Dominican Order
Succeeded by
Munio de Zamora


  1. ^ Butler's lives of the saints of Alban Butler, published in 2000 by Burns and Oates at Tunbridge Wells, Vol. 12 pages 9–10
  2. ^ Catholic Encyclopedia: Society of the Holy Name
  3. ^ a b "Blessed John of Vercelli"

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