Vlad the Impaler

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The Blessed Great-Martyr St. Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia (1431-1476; r. 1456-1462, also 1476) became a Romanian national hero for his defense of the Orthodox Christian faith against the Turk. He fought for Hungarian King Matthias Corvinus against Sultan Mehmet II ("the Conqueror").

He is also known as Vlad Ţepeş ("the Impaler") for his infliction of certain bodily mortifications against his enemies; as well as Vlad Drăculea ("Son of the Dragon") after his father Vlad II Dracul, a member of the Order of the Dragon (established in commemoration of the 1389 Battle of Kosovo).

During the nineteenth century, Irish writer Bram Stoker wrote the novel Dracula associating Vlad III with vampirism (a widespread Balkan folk belief concerning the undead). This remains his predominant image outside of Romania, where he is remembered as a hero and saint.