Defender of Christendom


His name may not be widely known, but his memory has been honored since 1456 – albeit unknowingly – in Catholic countries all over the world by the ringing of church bells every day at noon.


János (John) Hunyadi was a truly universal hero of his time. Legends were woven around his name not only in Magyar folklore, but also in the sagas of other peoples whose fate was connected with 15th century Hungary. Other nations went so far as to claim him as one of their own. In a Serb epic, he is Sibinyanin Janko; the Slavs generally called him Ugrin Janko (Magyar János); to the Rumanians he is Jakula; and to the Bulgars and Macedonians he is Jansekula. Greek folk singers, who called him Hungarian Janko, arbitrarily changed his name to Janko of Byzantium. Dukas, the Greek historian, compared Hunyadi to the two most valiant figures of Greek mythology, Achilles and Hector.


Among all the idolizing adjectives János Hunyadi:

and titles bestowed upon him, the Latin phrase Athleta Christi (Champion of Christ) is the most fitting.(1)