1576 December 20th John was born in a building cellar adjacent to the Town Hall in Skoczów. During his birth Rakuski’s army was marching through Skoczów. He was baptized by Fr. Wojciech Gagatkowski in a hospital chapel which belonged to the Catholic Church. John was the fourth son of Grzegorz Maciej Sarkander and Helena Górecka, primo voto Welczowska.
1589 After his father’s death John moved with his mother to Pribor, Moravia, where he studied at the Catholic Parish School.
1593 Started education at the Jesuit College in Olomouc.
1597 John began philosophy studies at the Philosophy Department in Olomouc.
1600 He began philosophy studies at the University in Prague. In 1602 he graduated in logic and philosophy and obtained a bachelor’s degree. In 1603 obtained a master’s degree in the liberal arts and philosophy.
1604 September 6th - he joined the theological department in Graz. After two years he stopped his studies.
1606 John stayed with his brother Nicolaus who was a priest and a dean in Velyki Mezhyrichi. On September 3rd John got engaged to Anna Płachecka. He bought a house in Bern and a garden with a vineyard in Klobuky. A year later, John came back to Graz in order to continue theological studies. Sarkander obtained a doctorate in theology there.
1607 He received minor orders in priesthood in Kromeriz.
1608 John stayed in Opava where he helped his brother Fr. Nicolaus. On December 20th John received subdiaconal orders in Olomouc.
1609 March 19th - cardinal Francis Dietrichstein ordained John as a deacon. On March 22nd a bishop J.Ch. Civalli consecrated him as a priest in the collegiate church under the invocation of St. Peter and Paul in Bern.
1609 John served as a vicar priest in Opava helping his brother Nicolaus. He was nominated as a parish priest in nearby Jaktar- but he refused to be a parish priest there. Nominated as a parish priest in Unicov. In December that year he was arrested in Kromeriz on a charge of helping his brother at a breakout from a prison in Wyszków. John was acquited because of the lack of any evidence in September 1610.
1611 Sarkander became a parish priest in Charvaty where he disagreed with the parish congregation on a point of folksy cantos during the liturgy. After three months John asked a bishop for relocation. He spent some time in Kromeriz without being engaged in a parish.
1612 John was designated as a parish priest in Zdounky. His main goal there was to restore the Catholic faith in the village.
1615 He was appointed as a parish priest in Boskovice. John embarked on a restoration of the local church.
1616 Sarkander was designated as a parish priest in Holesov, where Ladislav Popiel Lobkovic was the Moravian Hetman. John was engaged in the recatholisation of the city. He was involved in a conflict with local gentry, especially with Waclaw Bitowski from Bystrica. The conflict concerned taxes imposed by the Church.
1619 Moravia joined the Czech uprising in May. In July with a local dean’s consent, John made a pilgrimage to Częstochowa. He spent one month there. On his way back he stayed in Rybnik at Lobkovitz’s properties for some time, where he wrote a letter asking to be exempted from being a parish priest in Holesov. John moved to Krakow. In October he went back to Rybnik where he received a letter from Lobkovic and was commited to returning to Holesov. Sarkander came back to Moravia where he found a few Catholics only.
1620 In February the army of Aleksander Lisowski invaded Silesia and Moravia, devastating Bitowski’s properties. Sarkander reached out to the polish army in a procession with the Blessed Sacrament and saved Holesov from extinction. Bitowski issued a writ of arrest for Sarkander. Initially John was hiding in the castle in Tovacov, then in a forest nearby Troubek where he was captured.
THE LAWSUIT AND THE MARTYR’S DEATH
1620 February 13th the first hearing took place in the morning, the second one in the evening. John was accused of bringing the polish army of Aleksander Lisowski to Moravia as well as of persecuting the Lutherans. Judges wanted to force John to reveal the sacramental confession of Lobkovic. Fr. John was tortured.
February 17th the third hearing took place. The tortures were most harsh this day. Fr. John was still silent and persistently refused to reveal the confession of Lobkovic. John died in prison on March 17th. On March 24th his body was buried in the chapel of St. Laurentius in the church dedicated to assumption of the Blessed Mary in Olomouc.
1860 Pope Pius IX beatificated John Sarkander in the Basilica of St. Peter.
1995 May 21st John Sarkander was canonized in Olomouc by Pope John Paul II.
1995 May 22nd thanksgiving Mass celebrated on the hill of Kaplicówka in Skoczów by the Pope John Paul II.
The Parish Museum of Saint John Sarkander in Skoczów
St. Rynek 2
Tuesday- Friday 9.30- 16.00
Saturday 9.30- 12.00
Organized groups are asked for earlier via e-mail contact.