Melchior Grodziecki

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Melchior Grodziecki
17th-century drawing
Martyr and Saint
Born c. 1582
Died 7 September 1619
Kassa, Kingdom of Hungary
(today: Košice, Slovakia)
Venerated in Poland, Roman Catholic Church, Society of Jesus
Beatified 15 January 1905, Vatican City by Pope Pius X
Canonized 2 July 1995, Košice by Pope John Paul II
Major shrine Premonstratensian Church (Košice)
Feast 7 September
Patronage Archdiocese of Katowice, Diocese of Bielsko–Żywiec

Saint Melchior Grodziecki (c. 1582 - 7 September 1619) was a Polish Jesuit priest. He is considered as a martyr and saint by the Catholic Church. Canonized in 1995 he is liturgically commemorated on the 7 September.


He was born in Cieszyn into the noble Grodski family and received his education in the Jesuit college of Vienna. In 1603 he entered the Jesuit novitiate of Brno. After making his first religious profession in 1605 he went on to the Jesuit College in Kłodzko (1606–1607). To be able to teach in high schools, he spent a year in the seminary in České Budějovice. In 1608, he returned to Kłodzko to complete his education in music. He graduated from philosophy and theology in the Clementinum of Prague and in 1614 was ordained a priest. From 1616, he was entrusted with the management of a hostel in Prague for poor students.[1]

After the outbreak of the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648), he was sent to Kassa, Kingdom of Hungary (today: Košice, Slovakia) with Hungarian István Pongrácz, a colleague from the Jesuit seminary. When the army of the Prince of Transylvania, George Rákóczi took Kassa, Melchior stayed at the castle, together with István Pongrácz and canon Marko Krizin.[2] On 7 September 1619, the Transylvanian army stormed the castle and arrested the priests.[3] They gave them a death sentence on charges of treason; accusing them of inviting the Polish army into Kassa. They were tortured and then beheaded that day. The execution of the priests, known for their gentleness and courtesy,[citation needed] shocked the local population, Catholics and Protestants alike.[4]

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).

Veneration and Canonisation[edit]

The cause of beatification of the Kassa (Košice) martyrs was open in 1628 and they were finally beatified on 15 January 1905 by Pope Pius X. They were canonized on 2 July 1995, in Košice itself by Pope John Paul II.[5] Their feast day is on 7 September.

See also[edit]