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Saint John Nepomucene: Martyr of the Confessional and Patron of Silence

Saint John Nepomucene

Saint John Nepomucene was the patron saint of Bohemia, which is now part of the Czech Republic.  Nepomuk is the spelling of his family name. He was a Czech priest who lived in the 14th century for almost 450 years.  He was born in 1345 and died in 1393.

His good-hearted parents fervently prayed for his recovery when he was a child, reportedly curing him of a disease. With answered prayers, they dedicated their son to God’s service.

Shortly after receiving his priestly ordination, Prague assigned him to a parish. He became a well-known preacher, touching lives and inspiring people to change their way of life to one that pleases God.

Wenceslaus IV invited Father John to his court, where he assisted in resolving disputes and cared for the poor.

He also served as the confessor to Bohemia's queen. He advised her to sacrifice and bear the cross patiently when the kind were cruel to her.

One day, the king imprisoned him because he refused to reveal what the queen had told him in confession. Another time, the king told him, "If you do not tell me, you shall die. But if you obey my commands, riches and honor will be yours."

Father John repeatedly declined, leading to his torture and eventual immersion in the river. Witnesses reported seeing an unusual brightness in the water where he had drowned.

Thus, he became the "martyr of the confessional." He symbolizes the sanctity of the confessional and the protection of the seal of confession.

People turn to him for assistance against floods and slander. Every May 16, people commemorate his feast day.

Art typically depicts him with his finger over his lips, symbolizing his dedication to silence.


Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.”  Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.