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St. Stanislaus Intercedes at the
Battle of Chocim

Hugh O’Reilly
On October 5, 1620, the Poles had suffered at Kobilta a crushing defeat from the Turkish army. The Polish King Sigismund III had sent 8,000 men to help Gaspar von Graz, the Voyvode of Moldavia, to defend himself against the vengeance of his suzerain, the Sultan. Sultan Osman II had discovered his dealings with Sigismund and had dispatched an army to depose him.

baattle chocim 1621

Scenes from the decisive battle of Chocim, 1621

battle of chocim
The Poles, after an heroic retreat, were utterly cut to pieces by Iskander Pasha, near Jassy, and their heroic General, Zolkiewski, was killed at the side of his Jesuit confessor Fr. Wibierski.

The Sultan Osman, still a youth, determined to attempt the conquest of Poland the following summer of 1621. With that aim he left Constantinople early that year at the head of an army of 100,000. It did not arrive on the Dniester till the beginning of autumn, where it found nothing to oppose it but 34,000 Poles, with18,000 auxiliaries sent by the Emperor from Germany, and 12,000 from other parts of Europe. The battle that ensued has taken the name of Chocim, from the place where the Polish force withstood the furious assaults of Osman.

The result seemed at first doubtful; the brave old general of the Polish army, Chodkiewicz, died of fatigue, but on September 28 the Turks were at length beaten. They were forced to sue for peace on October 9, and Osman began his retreat on the 10th. He returned to Constantinople to fall a victim, the next year, to a revolt of the Janissaries, the elite infantry unit of his household troops, whom he had intended to exterminate.

The intercession of St. Stanislaus

The salvation of Poland – for it was nothing else – which had been wrought in this campaign, was attributed by Sigismund III and his people to the intercession of St. Stanislaus Kostka. The King had such faith in the power of his intercession, that he had sent a special request to Rome that the relic of the head of the Saint, which was preserved in the private chapel of the novices at Sant’ Andrea, might be sent to him.

relic of head of St. Stanislaus

The moment the reliquary touched Polish soil, the battle turned to favor the Poles

His envoy, the Bishop of Luck, Acacius Grochowski, was sent from Rome with the skull of St. Stanislaus enshrined in a precious reliquary. It was found that the very day on which the Bishop crossed the Polish frontier with his sacred charge, was the day of the retreat of the Turks at Chocim.

Other marvelous occurrences attested the part that St. Stanislaus had taken in behalf of his country. Fr. Nicholas Oborski was at Kalisz, a town on the opposite frontier of Poland, some 400 miles from the battle scene of action, the night before.

He declared that he saw our Blessed Lady with her Divine Child in her arms, seated in a starry chariot which seemed to pass along a path of light from west to east. By her side was a young man in earnest prayer, who from time to time seemed to be pointing out to her attention something that was going on far below.

st stanislaus

He saw the young Saint praying before Our Lady &
the Christ Child for a battle victory

Oborski easily recognized in the praying youth the lately beatified Stanislaus Kostka. Then, on turning his gaze in the direction to which the supplicant pointed, he beheld two armies engaged in furious conflict, and saw that they were the Poles and the Turks, and that the blessed youth was imploring Our Lord and His Blessed Mother to grant the victory to the Christians.

After a few days, news came of the great victory that had been gained at Chocim, and it was found that the time of the vision had coincided with the moment at which the scale of battle turned decidedly against the Turks.

Similar visions of this favor the youthful Saint had obtained for his fatherland were seen as well by different persons in Poland.

Thus was the victory of Cochim attributed by everyone to the intercession of Blessed Stanislaus Kostka, who not only begged for victory in prayer before Our Lady, but also came to his homeland in his relic at that time of such great danger.

Adapted from the Jesuit Online Library, The Story of St. Stanislaus Kostka of the Society of Jesus, Volume 1

Posted April 30, 2022

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