St John of Galesh

Saint John of Galesh was a priest who was consecrated bishop at Bucharest, since there was no bishop for Transylvania. He resisted the plans of the Hapsburg authorities to persuade Orthodox Christians to convert to Catholicism. He was arrested and thrown into prison at Sibiu in 1756, then Empress Maria Theresa ordered him confined in the prison of Deva Castle until he died.

St John was transferred to a prison in Graz, Austria at the end of 1757. Later, he was brought to the notorious Kufstein Prison, where many Orthodox from Transylvania ended their lives.

In 1780, Gennady Vassie, a Serb who was incarcerated there, was able to send a letter to Empress Catherine II of Russia asking her to intervene on behalf of the Orthodox prisoners. In his letter he mentioned a Romanian priest named John, who had been kept there for twenty-four years because of his Orthodox faith.

St John of Galesh died in prison, and was glorified as a martyr by the Orthodox Church of Romania in 1992.