Ivan Merz

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Blessed Ivan Merz
Bl Ivan Merz u Bazilici Srca Isusova 13 rujna 2008.jpg
Blessed Ivan Merz
Born(1896-12-16)16 December 1896
Banja Luka, Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, now (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Died10 May 1928(1928-05-10) (aged 31)
Zagreb, Kingdom of Yugoslavia, (now Croatia)
Venerated inRoman Catholic Church
Beatified22 June 2003, Banja Luka by John Paul II
Major shrineZagreb, Croatia
Feast10 May
PatronageCroatian youth, youth as a whole, World Youth Day celebrations

Blessed Ivan Merz (16 December 1896 – 10 May 1928) was a Croatian lay academic, beatified by Pope John Paul II on a visit at Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina on June 22, 2003. Ivan Merz promoted the liturgical movement in Croatia and together with Ivo Protulipac created a movement for the young people, “The Croatian union of the Eagles” (“Hrvatski orlovski savez)”, inspired by the “Eucharistic Crusade,” which he had encountered in France.

Merz opposed democracy. [1]


Life as a Layman[edit]

Ivan Merz[2] was a young layman from Bosnia and Herzegovina, who lived in a turbulent age. He was born from a liberal family, on December 16, 1896 in Banja Luka, when Bosnia was occupied by Austria-Hungary. He attended school in the multi-ethnic and multi-religious environment of his native town and graduated at the time when Crown Prince Franz Ferdinand was murdered (June 28, 1914). His mother was Jewish.[3]

He joined the Military Academy in Wiener Neustadt at his parents' request but, disgusted by the corruption of this environment, he left after four months. In 1915, he started his university studies in Vienna but was called up shortly thereafter to serve in the army during World War I.[citation needed]

After that, he returned to Banja Luka, where he experienced radical political change and the birth of the new Yugoslav State. In 1919 until 1920 he was in Vienna, studying at the Faculty of Philosophy. In October 1920 he set off for Paris, where he attended some lessons at the Sorbonne University and in the “Institut Catholique”, preparing in the meantime his doctoral dissertation.[citation needed]

He won his doctorate at the Faculty of Philosophy on the University of Zagreb in 1923 through his thesis, “The influence of liturgy on the French writers.” He was professor at the archiepiscopal gymnasium in Zagreb until his death (May 10, 1928).[citation needed]

Merz resumed his studies in Vienna after the war and continued them in France, devoting himself more and more to the Croatian Catholic movement. Back in Zagreb, he gave a new direction to the youth movement of the “Eagles” (“Hrvatski orlovi”), according to the Catholic Action’s principles.[citation needed]

He promoted the liturgical movement in Croatia and, according to Pius XI's instructions, in order to put together an “elite” of apostles to work for the “renewal of everything in Christ”. He worked for five years to establish the Kingdom of God in his country. As a layman consecrated to God, he devoted himself for six years to the apostolic work of bringing up Catholic youth in Croatia. He promoted the liturgical revival and the Catholic Action of the Pope Pius XI.[citation needed]

Beatification and Process of Canonization[edit]

In 1928, Merz died, leaving an example of how a man can live, fight and suffer for God’s cause. Merz tried hard to give his life the “full meaning”, heading for sanctity, and all his pedagogical task was devoted to the formation of apostles of sanctity. He died on May 10, 1928 with a reputation of a saint. His shrine is located in the Basilica of the Heart of Jesus in Zagreb, Croatia. The canonization cause started in 1958.

Pope John Paul II beatified him in Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina, on June 22, 2003, and put him as an example of Christian life to the young and lay believers. The Postulator of the Cause is Fr. Bozidar Nagy, SJ.


After the death of the blessed Ivan Merz, 10 May 1928, many people immediately started to pray for his intercession in different spiritual and bodily needs, and their prayers were granted. They left stone plaques with thanks on his tomb. Many of them sent their thanks to the Postulature. We are starting to publish the thanks chronologically. We are starting with the first miracle which took place in 1930, two years after Merz's death. This miracle was testified and accepted in the Vatican in the process of beatification of the blessed Ivan Merz.[4]

In the Philippines[edit]

The Cause for the Canonization of Blessed Ivan Merz is officially promoted by the Confraternity of Catholic Saints in the Philippines.[5]

The Director of the Confraternity, Dave Ceasar Dela Cruz was elected as the Vice Postulator of the Cause[6] on 19 March 2008 by the Vatican through the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ GRÜNFELDER, ANNA MARIA. "Ivan Merz i Marica Stanković nisu uzori za sva vremena". autograf.hr (in Croatian).
  2. ^ Postulation Website of Bl. Ivan Merz, English Biography (Accessed January 30, 2008)
  3. ^ Lav Znidarčić: Križarska organizacija, životno djelo Ivana Merza, Obnovljeni život (52) 3/4 ( 1997) str. 251.
  4. ^ Graces and grantings by the intercession of the blessed Ivan Merz, ivanmerz.hr; accessed April 25, 2018.
  5. ^ Confraternity of Catholic Saints blogsite (accessed March 16, 2009)
  6. ^ The Official Website of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines News Service (Accessed on March 19, 2009)
  7. ^ The CCS Official blog, Letter of Nomination (Accessed March 16, 2009)