Saints and Holy People

Find out about their lives and how they changed the world

Saint John Nepomucene (1345–1393)

Saint John Nepomucene (1345–1393)

Patron saint of Czechoslovakia.

Feast day: May 16

Saint John Nepomucene was a renowned preacher and a member of the fourteenth-century Bohemian court of King Wenceslaus IV. While at court, Saint John was a peacemaker and solved many arguments and disagreements. He was also the queen’s confessor.

When the cruel king demanded to know what his queen had said in the confessional, Saint John refused to tell him, so the king sentenced him to death by drowning. Saint John Nepomucene is known as the “martyr of the confessional.”

In the art shown here, Saint John is being thrown off a bridge by the king’s soldiers. The angels are ready to reward him with a golden crown and the palm of martyrdom. One cherub holds a sealed letter, perhaps a symbol of the unbroken seal of the confessional.

(Image in public domain-100)