Blessed John of Vercelli

Blessed John of VercelliAlso known as

  • John Garbella



Studied at the University of Paris. Doctor of civil and canon law. Taught law at Paris and Vercelli, Italy. Helped found a university in Vercelli.

Dominican Friar, joining in Vercelli, and receiving the habit from Blessed Jordan of Saxony, whose preaching had brought him to the Order. Transferred to Bologna, Italy to study the history and theology of the Order and for the priesthood. Ordained in 1229. Noted preacher in Bologna.

John returned to Vercelli in 1232 to establish a Dominican priory, and to serve as its superior. Peacemaker between Venice and other Papal States. Prior of the Dominican house in Bologna, and spiritual director to its nuns. Dominican Provincial of Lombardy in 1257. Fought heresies in northern Italy. Friend of King Saint Louis IX, and often consulted Saint Thomas Aquinas on theological matters.

Master-general of the Dominicans from 1264 to 1283. Insured uniform liturgical celebration throughout the Order. Served at the papal court of Pope Clement IV. Considered for the papacy after the death of Clement; when he learned of this, he fled the city. Pope Gregory X was elected instead.

Papal legate. Peacemaker between Venice and Genoa. Peacemaker between France and Castile. Commissioned by the pope to draw up the schema for the Second Council of Lyons, and actively participated in the Council. In 1274 he founded what eventually became the Holy Name Society (Confraternity of the Most Holy Name of God and Jesus). Appointed archbishop of Jerusalem in 1278, but begged to be released from the responsibility, citing advanced age, ill health, and the need for strong, vital leadership in the war-ravaged region.

Tradition says that during the translation of the relics of Saint Dominic de Guzman 1267, when the body was exposed to view, the head was seen to turn towards Blessed John. Embarrassed, John moved to another part of the church, giving his place to a cardinal. The head of Saint Dominic was seen by all to turn again toward John.


  • 1205 at Mosso Santa Maria, Italy as John Garbella





God of power and mercy, you made Blessed John an outstanding promoter of the order of Preachers. By his remarkable zeal, his wonderful prudence and his courage, and with the help of his prayers may your family always and everywhere be governed by beneficial rule. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. – General Calendar of the Order of Preachers

Additional Information


Watch the little things. He who grows careless in little things, little by little falls. He who does not push himself to make progress, goes backward. Blessed John, writing to his priests

Desirous of protecting the honor of God, of obeying this apostolic command, and of promoting in our neighbor an increase in devotion, we beseech you to stir up your zeal to the end that you personally see to it that this request of the Holy Father receives full compliance by having your subjects preach with convincing arguments and with scrupulous diligence the need for reverencing the Holy Name. Blessed John, writing on the creation of the Holy Name Society

MLA Citation

  • “Blessed John of Vercelli“. CatholicSaints.Info. 20 August 2020. Web. 26 October 2021. <>