Defender of Christendom against the Osmanli, born Castle Hunyad, Hungary, c.1400; died 1456.
He was probably of Rumanian extraction, and began his military career in the service of the Serbian despot, Lazarevics, later distinguished himself in that of King Sigismund and King Albert of Hungary, who ennobled him.
Under King Wladislaw he was named Voivode of Transylvania and commander of Belgrade, an appointment marking the beginning of his great wars against the Turks.
Defeating them at Szendrö, 1441, the following year he conquered Wallachia, and then invaded Bulgaria.
In 1444 he was defeated at Varna, Wladislaw himself falling in the fight.
In 1446 he was elected Governor of Hungary, acting as regent for the youthful Ladislaus V, and had to defend the realm against Emperor Frederick III.
In 1448 he was again beaten by the Turks at Amselfelde, Servia, a defeat he reversed in 1454 at Szendro.
Having retired into private life due to the intrigues of his hereditary enemy, Czilley, he was called again to repulse the Turks and, uniting his army with the peasant forces of the Franciscan, John Capistran, he won a brilliant victory at Belgrade, 21-22 July 1456, but died shortly after of the plague.
He was buried at Gyulafehérvár.
His second son, Matthias, succeeded Ladislaus as King of Hungary, 1458.
New Catholic Dictionary