Personage > St Mark of Križevci
Marko Stjepan Krizin (of Križevci) was born in 1558, in Križevci, in the Zagreb Diocese. He studied theology at the famous Roman College Germanicum et Hungaricum, and afterwards became a priest of the Zagreb Diocese. At the invitation of Petar Pazmany, the archbishop of Esztergom, he became the head of a seminary in Trnava, Slovakia, and a canon in Esztergom. As a canon, he was in charge of a Benedictine abbey near Košice, owned by the Esztergom Vicar Capitular.His writings dating from 1612 read: after finishing my studies, I am going to return to my homeland. I am not going to practise law or medicine, or live in a mannor. I am willing to return to my homeland even sooner for the sake of my people.
He joined two other Jesuit priests, Ištvan (Stjepan) Pongracz and Melkior Grodziecki, in their care for the catholic community of Košice and surrounding area. Calvinists had a significant influence in the area at that time. In an uprising and a dramatic instance of religious "cleansing" which took place on September 7, 1619, and was directed against the Catholics, all three of them were tortured and brutally killed because they refused to renounce their faith. They were killed as "papists". This persecution was especially directed against Mark of Križevci, who refused to renounce his loyalty to the Pope, or convert to "Hungarian Religion", as they referred to it, remaining loyal to the Pope, and defending not only his beliefs, but also the right of all people to freedom of religion.When subjected to a severe torture, St Mark persevered in his loyalty to the Pope, telling his torturers: I am completely dedicated to my faith, the only one for me, zealous to defend it and determined to die loyal to my faith.
On January 15, 1905, Pope Pio X beatified all three of them. The parish Church of St Mark of Križevci was built in his honor, and blessed by the Archbishop of Zagreb, Alojzije Stepinac, on January 21, 1941, in Zagreb.
On July 2, 1995, Congregation for the Causes of the Saints decided to canonize Mark of Križevci, Stjepan Pongracz and Melkior Grodziecki. During the canonization ceremony which was held at the Košice airport, Pope John Paul II declared the martyrs saint. Around three hundred thousand people rejoiced in the solemn event. There were about two and a half thousand pilgrims from Croatia headed by Zagreb Archbishop, Cardinal Franjo Kuharić, and the Archbishop of Bosnia, Vinko Puljić. The penitential rite was followed by the canonization ceremony. National celebration of canonization of St Mark of Križevci took place on September 10, 1995, in Križevci, Croatia, with about twenty thousand people attending the mass.