Friday, August 17, 2012

Thursday, August 16, 2012 Litany Lane Blog: Cultivate, Ezekiel 12:1-12, Matthew 18:21-19:1, Saint Stephen I of Hungary, Holy Crown of Hungary, Pannonhalma Archabbey of Hungary

Thursday, August 16, 2012 - Litany Lane Blog:
Cultivate, Ezekiel 12:1-12, Matthew 18:21-19:1, Saint Stephen I of Hungary, Holy Crown of Hungary, Pannonhalma Archabbey of Hungary

Good Day Bloggers! 
Wishing everyone a Blessed Week! 

P.U.S.H. (Pray Until Something Happens). It has a remarkable way of producing solace, peace, patience and tranquility and of course resolution...God's always available 24/7..

We are all human. We all experience birth, life and death. We all have flaws but we also all have the gift knowledge and free will as well, make the most of it. Life on earth is a stepping to our eternal home in Heaven. Its your choice whether to rise towards eternal light or lost to eternal darkness. Material items, though needed for sustenance and survival on earth are of earthly value only. The only thing that passes from this earth to Heaven is our Soul, our's God's perpetual gift to us...Embrace it, treasure it, nurture it, protect it...

"Raise not a hand to another unless it is to offer in peace and goodwill." ~ Zarya Parx 2012


Today's Word:  cultivate   cul·ti·vate [kuhl-tuh-veyt]

Origin:  1610–20;  < Medieval Latin cultīvātus  (past participle of cultīvāre  to till), equivalent to cultīv ( us ) ( Latin cult ( us ), past participle of colere  to care for, till ( compare cult) + -īvus -ive) + -ātus -ate1  

verb (used with object), cul·ti·vat·ed, cul·ti·vat·ing.
1. to prepare and work on (land) in order to raise crops; till.
2. to break up (land or soil) with a cultivator or hoe
3. to promote or improve the growth of (a plant, crop, etc.) by labor and attention.
4. to produce by culture: to cultivate a strain of bacteria.
5. to develop or improve by education or training; train; refine: to cultivate a singing voice.


Today's Old Testament Reading - Ezekiel 12:1-12

1 The word of Yahweh was addressed to me as follows,
2 'Son of man, you are living among a tribe of rebels who have eyes and never see, they have ears and never hear, because they are a tribe of rebels.
3 So, son of man, pack an exile's bundle and set off for exile by daylight while they watch. You will leave your home and go somewhere else while they watch. Then perhaps they will see that they are a tribe of rebels.
4 You will pack your baggage like an exile's bundle, by daylight, while they watch, and leave like an exile in the evening, while they watch.
5 While they watch, make a hole in the wall, and go out through it.
6 While they watch, you will shoulder your pack and go out into the dark; you will cover your face so that you cannot see the ground, since I have made you an omen for the House of Israel.'
7 I did as I had been told. I packed my baggage like an exile's bundle, by daylight; and in the evening I made a hole through the wall with my hands; then I went out into the dark and shouldered my pack while they watched.
8 Next morning the word of Yahweh was addressed to me as follows,
9 'Son of man, did not the House of Israel, did not that tribe of rebels, ask you, "What are you doing?"
10 Say, "The Lord Yahweh says this: This prophecy concerns Jerusalem and the whole House of Israel who live there."
11 Say, "I am an omen for you; as I have done, so will be done to them; they will be deported into exile.
12 Their prince will shoulder his pack in the dark and go out through the wall; a hole will be made to let him out; he will cover his face, so that he cannot see the country.


Today's Gospel Reading - Matthew 18:21-19:1

Then Peter went up to Jesus and said, 'Lord, how often must I forgive my brother if he wrongs me? As often as seven times?' Jesus answered, 'Not seven, I tell you, but seventy-seven times. 'And so the kingdom of Heaven may be compared to a king who decided to settle his accounts with his servants. When the reckoning began, they brought him a man who owed ten thousand talents; he had no means of paying, so his master gave orders that he should be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, to meet the debt. At this, the servant threw himself down at his master's feet, with the words, "Be patient with me and I will pay the whole sum." And the servant's master felt so sorry for him that he let him go and cancelled the debt.

Now as this servant went out, he happened to meet a fellow-servant who owed him one hundred denarii; and he seized him by the throat and began to throttle him, saying, "Pay what you owe me." His fellow-servant fell at his feet and appealed to him, saying, "Be patient with me and I will pay you." But the other would not agree; on the contrary, he had him thrown into prison till he should pay the debt. His fellow-servants were deeply distressed when they saw what had happened, and they went to their master and reported the whole affair to him. Then the master sent for the man and said to him, "You wicked servant, I cancelled all that debt of yours when you appealed to me. Were you not bound, then, to have pity on your fellow-servant just as I had pity on you?" And in his anger the master handed him over to the torturers till he should pay all his debt. And that is how my heavenly Father will deal with you unless you each forgive your brother from your heart.' Jesus had now finished what he wanted to say, and he left Galilee and came into the territory of Judea on the far side of the Jordan.
• In yesterday’s Gospel we have heard the words of Jesus concerning fraternal correction (Mt 18, 15-20). In the Gospel today (Mt 19, 21-39) the central theme is pardon and reconciliation.

• Matthew 18, 21-22: Forgive seventy times seven! Before the words of Jesus on fraternal correction and reconciliation, Peter asks: “How often must I forgive? Seven times?” Seven is a number which indicates perfection and, in the case of the proposal of Peter, seven is synonymous of always. But Jesus goes beyond. He eliminates all and whatever possible limitation there may be to pardon: “Not seven I tell you, but seventy-seven times”. It is as if he would say “Always, N0! Peter. But seventy times seven always!”. And this because there is no proportion between God’s love for us and our love for our brother. Here we recall the episode of the Old Testament of Lamech: “Lamech says to his wives, Adah and Zollah, hear my voice; listen to what I say: I killed a man for wounding me, a boy for striking me. Sevenfold vengeance for Cain, but seventy-sevenfold for Lamech” (Gn 4, 23-24). The task of the communities is to invert the process of the spiral of violence. In order to clarify his response to Peter, Jesus tells them the parable of pardon without limits.

• Matthew 18, 23-27: The attitude of the master. This parable is an allegory, that is, Jesus speaks about a master, but thinks of God. This explains the enormous contrasts of the parable. As we will see, in spite that it is a question of daily ordinary things, there is something in this story which does not take place in daily life. In the story which Jesus tells, the master follows the norms of the law or rights of that time. It was his right to take a labourer with all his family and to keep him in prison until he would have paid his debt carrying out his work as a slave. But before the request of the debtor servant, the master forgives the debt. What strikes us is the amount: ten thousand talents! One talent was equal to 35 kg, and so according to the estimate made, ten thousand talents were equal to 350 tons of gold. Even if the debtor and his family would have worked their whole life, they would never have been capable to earn 350 tons of gold. The extreme estimate is made on purpose. Our debt before God is countless and unpayable!

• Matthew 18, 28-31: The attitude of the labourer. As soon as he went out, that servant found a fellow servant as himself who owned him one hundred denarii and, he seized him by the throat and began to throttle him saying: Pay what you owe! This servant owed him one hundred denarii; that is the salary of one hundred days of work. Some have estimated that it was a question of 30 grams of gold. There was no comparison between the two! But this makes us understand the attitude of the labourer: God forgives him 350 tons of gold and he is not capable to forgive 30 grams of gold. Instead of forgiving, he does to the companion what the master could have done with him, but did not do it. He puts in prison his companion according to the norms of the law until he would have paid his debt. This is an inhuman attitude, which also strikes the other companions. Seeing what had happened, the other servants were sad and went to refer to their master everything which had happened. We also would have done the same; we would also have had the same attitude of disapproval.

• Matthew 18, 32-35: The attitude of God “Then the master called that man and said to him: “You wicked servant! I have forgiven you all your debt because you appealed to me. Were you not bound then to have pity on your fellow-servant just as I had pity on you? And, angry, the master handed him over to the torturers till he should pay all his debt“. Before God’s love who pardons gratuitously our debt of 350 tons of gold, it is more than fair, than just that we should forgive our brother who has a small debt of 30 grams of gold. God’s forgiveness is without any limit. The only limit for the gratuity of God’s mercy comes from ourselves, from our incapacity to forgive our brothers! (Mt 18, 34). This is what we say and ask for in the Our Father: “Forgive us our offences as we forgive those who offend us” (Mt 6, 12-15).

The community: an alternative space of solidarity and fraternity. The society of the Roman Empire was hard and heartless, without any space for the little ones. They sought some refuge for the heart and did not find it. The Synagogues were very demanding and did not offer a place for them. In the Christian communitie4s, the rigour of some concerning the observance of the Law in the daily life followed the same criteria as society and as the Synagogue. Thus, in the communities, the same divisions which existed in society and in the Synagogue, between rich and poor, dominion and submission, man and woman, race and religion, began to appear. The community instead of being a place of acceptance became a place of condemnation. By uniting the words of Jesus, Matthew wants to enlighten the journey of the followers of Jesus, in order that the communities may be an alternative place of solidarity and of fraternity. They should be Good News for the poor.
Personal questions
• To forgive. There are people who say: “I forgive but I do not forget!” And I? Am I capable to imitate God?
• Jesus gives us the example. At the time of death he asks pardon for his murderers (Lk 13, 34). Am I capable to imitate Jesus?

Reference: Courtesy of Order of Carmelites,


Featured Item of the Day from Litany Lane


Saint of the Day:  Saint Stephen I of Hungary

Feast Day: August 16
Died:  1038
Patron Saint of : Hungary, kings, children who are dying, masons, stonecutters, and bricklayers.

Saint Stephen I of Hungary
Saint Stephen I of Hungary (Hungarian: I. (Szent) István; Latin: Sanctus Stephanus; Esztergom, Principality of Hungary, 967 or 969 or 975 – 15 August 1038, Esztergom or Székesfehérvár, Kingdom of Hungary), born as Vajk, was Grand Prince of the Hungarians (997–1000) and the first King of Hungary (1000–1038). He greatly expanded Hungarian control over the Carpathian Basin during his lifetime, broadly established Christianity in the region, and is generally regarded as the founder of the Kingdom of Hungary. Pope Gregory VII canonized Stephen together with his son, Saint Emeric of Hungary, and Gerardo Sagredo, on 20 August 1083. Stephen became one of the most popular saints in Hungary, and 20 August, which was also his feast day until 1687, is celebrated as a public holiday in Hungary commemorating the foundation of the state.

Biography Early years

Saint Stephen I in Budapest
He was born as Vajk in the town of Esztergom. His father was Grand Prince Géza of Hungary; his mother was Sarolt, daughter of Gyula of Transylvania a Hungarian nobleman who had been baptized in Greece. Though Sarolt was baptized into the Orthodox Christian faith at her father's court in Transylvania  by the Greek bishop Hierotheos, she did not persist in the religion. According to his legends, Vajk was baptized a Christian by Saint Adalbert of Prague. He was given the baptismal name Stephen (István) in honour of the original early Christian Saint Stephen. The baptised name was possibly chosen on purpose, as it means not only "crown" as mentioned, but also "norm, standard" in Hebrew. So the mission of St. Stephen was to grant a norm to Hungary through the Holy Crown (also called the Doctrine of the Holy Crown). However, another reason could be thought of: that Stephen, as fiancé of a woman from the diocese of Passau, simply wanted to do honour to the then-major saint of Passau, Saint Stephen, after whom the Passau Cathedral is named up to today.

When Stephen reached adolescence, Great Prince Géza convened an assembly where they decided that Stephen would follow his father as the monarch of the Hungarians. This decision, however, contradicted the Magyar tribal custom that gave the right of succession to the eldest close relative of the deceased ruler.

Stephen married Giselle of Bavaria, the daughter of Henry II the Wrangler in or after 995. By this marriage, he became the brother-in-law of the future Henry II, Holy Roman Emperor. Giselle arrived at her husband's court accompanied by German knights.

Ruling prince of the Hungarians

In 997, his father died and a succession struggle ensued. Stephen claimed to rule the Magyars by the principle of Christian divine right, while his uncle Koppány, a powerful pagan chieftain in Somogy, claimed the traditional right of agnatic seniority. Eventually, the two met in battle near Veszprém and Stephen, victorious, assumed the role of Grand Prince of the Hungarians. Stephen's victory came about primarily thanks to his German retinue led by the brothers Pázmány and Hont. The nearly contemporary deed of foundation of the Abbey of Pannonhalma clearly described the battle as a struggle between the Germans and the Magyars. Thus, Stephen strengthened his power in Transdanubia, but several parts of Hungary still did not accept his rule.

According to Hungarian tradition, Pope Silvester II, with the consent of Otto III, Holy Roman Emperor, sent a magnificent jeweled gold crown to Stephen along with an apostolic cross and a letter of blessing officially recognizing Stephen as the Christian king of Hungary. Later this tradition was interpreted as the papal recognition of the independence of Hungary from the Holy Roman Empire. The date of Stephen's coronation is variously given as Christmas Day, 1000 or 1 January 1001.

Stephen I is closely tied to the Crown of St. Stephen and the Doctrine of the Holy Crown which marks a unique tradition of the Kingdom of Hungary. According to Hartwick's legend, during his coronation Stephen dedicated the crown to the Holy Virgin, thereby sealing a contract between God and the crown (which is therefore considered a "holy" crown). This contract is also the basis for the Doctrine of the Holy Crown and the basis for the Apostolic Kingdom of Hungary. The actual crown which survives today was probably never worn by the king himself as it has been dated as originating in the 12th century. The origin of the crown, however, is hotly disputed.

First King of Hungary

According to the much argued Chronicon Pictum, the first king of the Hungarians is Attila the Hun. However, the codex repeats itself as Stephen I is also cited as the first king of the Hungarians. Also argued by historians is the exact meaning of the phrase in the Remonstrances to Emerick from St Stephen: "Regale ornamentum scito esse maximum: sequi antecessores reges et honestos imitari parentos", which translates to: "The greatest deed for the kingdom is to follow the old kings and to imitate parents". This might mean that Stephen is referring to the "old kings" which could only be Attila and Nimrod. It might also mean that the constitution of the kingdom itself was not employed by St Stephen, but by his ancestors.
What is confirmed is that, after (or just before) his coronation, Stephen I founded several dioceses, namely, the dioceses of Veszprém, Győr, Kalocsa, Vác, and Bihar. He also established the Archdiocese of Esztergom. Thus he set up an ecclesiastical organisation independent of the German archbishops. He also began to organize a territory-based administration by founding several counties (comitatus, megye) in his kingdom.

Stephen discouraged pagan customs and strengthened Christianity by means of various laws. In his first decree, issued at the beginning of his rule, he ordered that each ten villages would be obliged to build a church. He invited foreign priests to Hungary to evangelize his kingdom. Saint Astricus served as his adviser and Saint Gerard Sagredo as the tutor for his son Emeric (also rendered as Imre).

Around 1003, Stephen invaded and occupied Transylvania, a territory ruled by his maternal uncle, Gyula, a semi-independent chieftain. After this victory, Stephen organized the Diocese of Transylvania. In the next few years he also occupied the lands of the Black Magyars in the southern part of Transdanubia, and there organized the Diocese of Pécs. Shortly afterwards, it is believed that he made an agreement with Samuel Aba, the chieftain of the Kabar tribes settled in the Mátra region, who married Stephen's sister. In his brother-in-law's domains, Stephen founded the Diocese of Eger.

Finally, Stephen occupied the domains of Ajtony, a semi-pagan chieftain who had been ruling over the territories of the later Banat. Here Stephen set up the Diocese of Csanád. he married at the age of 20

External politics

In his external politics Stephen I allied himself with his brother-in-law, the Emperor Henry II against Prince Boleslaw I of Poland, who had extended his rule over the territories between the Morava and Váh Rivers. Stephen sent troops to the emperor's army, and in the Peace of Bautzen, in 1018, the Polish prince had to hand over the occupied territories to Stephen.

Shortly afterwards, Stephen sent troops to help Boleslaw I in his campaign against Kievan Rus'. In 1018, Stephen led his armies against Bulgaria, in alliance with the Byzantine Emperor Basil II, and collected several relics during his campaign.

After the death of Henry II ( 3 July 1024), Stephen broke with the German alliance, because the new Holy Roman Emperor, Conrad II claimed supremacy over the Kingdom of Hungary, while Stephen demanded the Duchy of Bavaria for his son Emeric who was the nearest relative of the deceased Emperor Henry II (who himself had been the last male descendant of the old dukes of Bavaria). In 1027, Stephen had Bishop Werner of Strasbourg, the envoy sent by Conrad II to the Byzantine Empire, arrested at the frontier. In 1030, the emperor led his armies against Hungary, but Stephen's troops forced them to retreat. Stephen and Emperor Conrad II concluded peace negotiations in 1031, and the territories between the Leitha (Hungarian: (Lajta)) and Fischa Rivers were ceded to Hungary.

His last years

Stephen intended to retire to a life of holy contemplation and hand the kingdom over to his son Emeric, but Emeric was wounded in a hunting accident and died in 1031. In Stephen's words of mourning:
By God's secret decision death took him, so that wickedness would not change his soul and false imaginations would not deceive his mind – as the Book of Wisdom teaches about early death.
Stephen mourned for a very long time over the loss of his son, which took a great toll on his health. He eventually recovered, but never regained his original vitality. Having no children left, he could not find anyone among his remaining relatives who was able to rule the country competently and be willing to maintain the Christian faith of the nation. He did not want to entrust his kingdom to his cousin, Duke Vazul, whom he suspected to be following pagan customs. The disregarded duke took part in a conspiracy aimed at the murder of Stephen I, but the assassination attempt failed and Vazul had his eyes gouged out and molten lead poured in his ears. Without a living heir, on his deathbed, King St. Istvan raised with his right hand the Holy Crown of Hungary, and prayed to the Blessed Virgin Mary, asking her to take the Hungarian people as her subjects and become their queen. King Stephen died on the feast day which commemorates the bodily assumption into heaven of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Feast of the Assumption on 15 August, in the year 1038, at Esztergom-Szentkirály or Székesfehérvár, where he was buried. His nobles and his subjects were said to have mourned for three straight years afterwards.

His legacy

Following Stephen's death, his nephew Peter Urseolo (his appointed heir) and his brother-in-law Samuel Aba contended for the crown. Nine years of instability followed until Stephen's cousin Andrew I was crowned King of Hungary in 1047 to re-establish the Árpád dynasty. Hungarian historiography saw Peter and Samuel as members of the Árpád dynasty, and both are counted among the Árpád kings.

Shortly after Stephen's death, healing miracles were said to have occurred at his tomb. Stephen was canonized by Pope Gregory VII as Saint Stephen of Hungary in 1083, along with his son, Saint Emeric and Bishop Gerhard (Hungarian: Szent Gellért). Thus Saint Stephen became the first canonized confessor king, a new category of saint. He is venerated as the patron saint of Hungary, kings, children who are dying, masons, stonecutters, and bricklayers.

St Stephen is not mentioned in the Tridentine Calendar. His feast day was added to the General Roman Calendar only in 1631, and only as a commemoration on 20 August, the feast of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux. In 1687, it was moved to 2 September and remained there until the 1969 revision of the Roman Catholic calendar of saints. Then the feast of Saint Joachim on 16 August was moved and the date became available for another celebration, so the feast of Saint Stephen of Hungary was moved to that date, the day immediately after his death. Some traditionalist Catholics continue to observe pre-1970 versions of the General Roman Calendar.

In the local calendar of the Church in Hungary, the feast is observed on 20 August, the day on which his sacred relics were translated to the city of Buda. It is a public holiday in Hungary. During the period of Communist rule in Hungary, St. Stephen's Day was referred to as the anniversary of the Stalinist constitution of 1949 and "The celebration of the new bread — the end of the harvest".

San Estevan del Rey Mission Church is a church that was founded in 1629 in Acoma, New Mexico and named for the king. The Pueblo of Acoma continues to celebrate on 2 September his feast day with traditional Native American dances.

The king's right hand, known as the Holy Right, is kept as a relic. Hungarians interpreted the incorruptibility of his right arm and hand - with which he had held the Holy Crown aloft from his deathbed when asking Virgin Mary to be the Queen of the Hungarians - as a sign that the Blessed Virgin Mary had accepted the king's offer to her of the Hungarian people, and she remains officially their queen. The incorrupt arm was divided among European royalty, but the Holy Right of King Saint Stephen was placed in a town built solely for the purpose of keeping it, the town in Transylvania called "Szent Jobb", or Holy Right. Later, the Holy Right was transferred to where it is today, the Basilica of King Saint Stephen in Budapest. Apart from the Holy Right, only some bone fragments remain, which are kept in churches throughout Hungary. Hungarian Catholics honor the first king of their country with annual processions, at which the Holy Right is exhibited.
The canonization of Saint Stephen was recognized by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople in the year 2000.

The Holy Crown, popularly attributed to St. Stephen, was removed from the country in 1945 for safekeeping, and entrusted to the United States government. It was kept in a vault at Fort Knox until 1978, when it was returned to the nation by order of President Jimmy Carter. It has been enshrined in the Hungarian parliament building in Budapest since 2000


  • Courtesyof Wikipedia
  • Ott, Michael. "St. Stephen." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 14. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. 17 Aug. 2012 <>.

Featured Items Panel from Litany Lane


Today's Snippets:  Holy Crown of Hungary and Pannonhalma Archabbey


Today's Snippet I:  Holy Crown of Hungary

Holy Crown of Hungary (front)
The Holy Crown of Hungary (Hungarian: Magyar Szent Korona, German: Stephanskrone, Croatian: Kruna svetoga Stjepana, Latin: Sacra Corona), also known as the Crown of Saint Stephen, was the coronation crown used by the Kingdom of Hungary for most of its existence. The Crown was bound to the Lands of the Crown of Saint Stephen, (sometimes the Sacra Corona meant the Land, the Carpathian Basin, but it also meant the coronation body, too). No king of Hungary was regarded as having been truly legitimate without being crowned with it. In the history of Hungary, more than fifty kings were crowned with it (the two kings who were not so crowned were John II Sigismund and Joseph II).

The Hungarian coronation insignia consists of the Holy Crown, the sceptre, the orb, and the mantle. Since the twelfth century kings have been crowned with the still extant crown. The orb has the coat-of-arms of Charles I of Hungary (1310–1342); the other insignia can be linked to Saint Stephen.

It was first called the Holy Crown in 1256. During the 14th century royal power came to be represented not simply by a crown, but by just one specific object: the Holy Crown. This also meant that the Kingdom of Hungary was a special state: they were not looking for a crown to inaugurate a king, but rather, they were looking for a king for the crown; as written by Crown Guard Péter Révay. He also depicts that "the Holy Crown is the same for the Hungarians as the Lost Ark is for the Jewish".

Since 2000, the Holy Crown has been on display in the central Domed Hall of the Hungarian Parliament Building.

Specifications of the crown

  • The Crown’s shape is elliptic (the width is 203.9 mm, the length is 215.9 mm) and is larger than a (healthy) human’s head. During coronation, the would-be king had to wear a so-called 'kapa' made of leather, which was sewn for the size of the king, to hold the crown.
  • The weight of the Crown is 2056 g.
  • The gold-silver alloys used are different in case of the upper and the lower parts of the Crown.
  • The lower part of the Crown is asymmetric.
  • A reliable consistent measurement system can be found which is true for almost all the parts of the Crown.

Holiness doctrine

Holy Crown of Hungary (Back)
As is the case with all European Christian crowns, it symbolizes a halo and thus signifies that the wearer rules by Divine Right. According to popular tradition, St Stephen I held up the crown during the coronation (in the year 1000) to offer it to the "Nagyboldogasszony" (the Virgin Mary) to seal a divine contract between her and the divine crown. After this, the "Nagyboldogasszony" was depicted not only as patrona (patron saint) for the Kingdom of Hungary but also as regina (i.e. "queen"). This contract was supposed to empower the crown with divine force to help the future kings of Hungary and did help reinforce the political system based on the so-called "Doctrine of the Holy Crown" (Hungarian: Szentkorona-tan). Péter Révay, a Crown Guard, expounded this doctrine in his works Commentarius De Sacra Regni Hungariae Corona (Explanation of the Holy Crown of the Kingdom of Hungary, published in Augsburg, 1613) and De monarchia et Sacra Corona Regni Hungariae (About the Monarchy and the Holy Crown of Hungary, Frankfurt, 1659). At the core of this doctrine was the notion that the crown itself had personhood and as a legal entity is identical to the state of Hungary. It is superior to the ruling monarch, who rules "in the name of the crown".

Origin of the crown

According to the most accepted theory, which is represented in the publications of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and also of the Hungarian Catholic Episcopal Conference, the Holy Crown of Hungary consists of two main parts: the corona graeca and the corona latina. It was created during the reign of Béla III under Byzantine influence. (The Hungarian king Béla III was brought up in the Byzantine court and was for a period the official heir to the throne there.) The crowning of Stephen I, the first king of Hungary, who was later canonized Saint Stephen, marks the beginning of Hungarian statehood. The date is variously given as Christmas 1000 or 1 January 1001.

One version of the origin of the crown is written by bishop Hartvik (between 1095–1116), in which the "Pope" has sent King Stephen I "his blessings and a crown". The basis for this belief is a biography by bishop Hartvik written around 1100-1110 at the request of King Könyves Kálmán. According to "Hartvik’s legend", St Stephen sent Archbishop Astrik of Esztergom to Rome to ask for or require (both are possible from original Latin script) a crown from the "Pope", but it does not tell the name of the Pope. No matter how much Astrik hurried, the Polish prince, Mieszko I's envoy was quicker, and the crown was prepared for the future Polish king. The Pope had seen a dream during the night, seeing the angel of the Lord telling him there will be another envoy from another nation, asking for a crown for their own king. The angel told the Pope: "There will be another envoy from an unknown folk, who will ask for [or require] a crown, too, please give the crown to them, as they deserve it". The next day Astrik approached the Pope so he gave the crown to him. "Hartvik’s legend" appeared in the liturgical books and breviaries in Hungary around 1200, recalling the then-existing Pope, Pope Sylvester II. Consequently the story of how the crown had been sent by Pope Sylvester II spread throughout the Christian world, so in 1613, crown guard Péter Révai states that the entire crown was given to St Stephen by Pope Sylvester II. However, this legend can be considered biased, as Mieszko I was not living at the same time as either St. Stephen I or Pope Sylvester II. Also, in the "Greater Legend" of St Stephen, written around the time he was canonised (1083), we learn only that "in the fifth year after the death of his father (...) they brought a Papal letter of blessings (...) and the Lord’s favoured one, Stephen, was chosen to be king, and was anointed with oil and fortunately crowned with the diadem of royal honour". This legend clearly lacks the information that the crown was from Rome. Moreover, there are no documents found in Vatican City on the granting of the crown, even though the Vatican has a clear interest in handing over the crown from Rome, as it is representing dominance over the Kingdom of Hungary.

There is another version on the origin of Holy Crown, which is a popular fallacy: Thietmar von Merseburg (died in 1018) reports that Otto III of the Holy Roman Empire has consented to the coronation of St. Stephen, and the Pope is sending his blessings; so many historians argued he has also sent a crown, however, does not report on any crown, so it cannot follow any fact. Beside the two main theories – donation by the pope and creation in the time of Béla III – there exist a number of different theories of the more romantic kind, putting the origin of the crown into the far past and into Asia. The question to what extent the upper part of the Holy Crown indeed belonged to the crown of King Stephen I remained open until 1978, when the coronation insignia was returned to Hungary and a thorough examination could be carried out. The differing styles and techniques used in making the enamel pictures and the fact that the inscriptions on the diadem are in Greek and on the bands in Latin suggest that the two parts were probably made in two different periods. However, we have to note that there are no known representations of any kind in which the crown is separated: the Holy Crown is always shown as one.

Type of the crown

The Crown is a coronation crown, which should be worn only on the occasion of a coronation, and for the rest of the time two crown guards (koronaőr) guard it. Apart from this, there are only two other people who can touch it, the nádorispán (the highest secular title), who puts it onto a pillow during coronation, and the Archbishop of Esztergom (primate of Hungary, the highest ecclesiastical title), who places it on the head of the king.

Structure of the crown and its icons

Sketch of the enamel icons of the Saints on the Holy Crown (top view, the crown front is on the bottom of the picture)
The Holy Crown was made of gold and decorated with nineteen enamel pictures as well as semi-precious stones, genuine pearls, and almandine. It has three parts: the lower diadem (corona greca), the upper intersecting bands (corona latina), and the cross on the top, which is today crooked.
There are four hanging pendants (pendilia) dangling from chains on each side of the diadem and one in the back.

Corona Græca

The corona graeca ("Greek Crown") is 5.2 cm wide with a diameter of 20.5 cm. The two aquamarine stones with cut surfaces on the back of the diadem were added as replacements by King Matthias II (1608–1619). The enamel picture on the front depicts Christ Pantokrator. On the rim to the right and left of Jesus are pictures of the archangels Michael and Gabriel, followed by half-length images of the Saints George and Demetrius, and Cosmas and Damian.

In the arched frame on the back of the diadem Emperor Michael VII Doukas (1071–1078) is depicted. Below it to the left is the half-length picture of "Kon. Porphyrogennetos", this probably being either Emperor Michael’s brother and co-emperor Konstantios Doukas or of his son and heir Constantine Doukas, both having been born in the purple. To the right there is a picture of the Hungarian King Géza I (1074–1077), with the Greek inscription: "ΓΕΩΒΙΤZΑC ΠΙΣΤΟC ΚΡΑΛΗC ΤΟΥΡΚΙΑC" (Geōvitzas pistós králēs Tourkías, meaning "Géza I, faithful kralj of the land of the Turks"). The contemporary Byzantine name for the Hungarians was "Turks", while the Hungarian branch of the Greek Orthodox Church, under Constantinople's jurisdiction, was named the "Metropolitanate of Tourkia" (Hungary), and the head of this church was the "Metropolitan of Tourkia" (Hungary). As was customary in the hierarchy of the Byzantine state, clear differentiation is made between style of the emperors and that of the Hungarian king by using a hellenized form of the common South Slavic word for "king" (Kralj) for Géza. The saints and the Greek rulers have halos while Géza does not. The inscriptions of the emperors’ names are in red, while the Hungarian king’s is in dark blue or black.

The enamel plaques on the circular band, the panel depicting Christ Pantokrator, and the picture of Emperor Michael were all affixed to the crown using different techniques. The picture of the emperor could not be attached to the rim in the same way as the Pantokrator picture on the front. The frame was folded upwards and the picture of the emperor was nailed to the edge. We can thus conclude that the picture of Michael VII was not originally designed for this crown, but was probably used first somewhere else.

The corona græca with its pointed and arched plaques is identical to the form of the crowns of the Byzantine empresses – in other words it was a woman’s crown. It was given by Emperor Michael Dukas VII to King Géza’s wife, who was of the Greek Synadenos family, around 1075. The gift was not a new crown, but rather an old crown designed for a woman that had to be selected from the Emperor’s treasury and remodelled. The enamel pictures that become outdated were removed, since either represented earlier historical figures or were not appropriate for the Hungarian queen according to court protocol. It was in this form that the crown was sent to Hungary.

There is another view that the Géza depicted on the corona graeca is not King Géza I but St Stephen's father. This view is confirmed by the fact that Grand Prince Géza is depicted on the corona gracea without a crown, although carrying a royal sceptre.

Corona Latina

The corona latina ("Latin Crown") is not an independent object, as it has no function alone. It was designed to be attached to the top rim of the Corona Græca and provide a cupola-shaped top. It was made of four 5.2-cm-wide gold sheets welded to the edge of a square central panel (7.2*7.2 cm). The inscription on the pictures of the saints and the style of their lettering suggest the date when they were made. Amidst the antique-style capital letter, the T in Thomas and the second U in Paulus are formed in the style characteristic of the Latin letters used on Byzantine coins, a practice abandoned in the middle of the eleventh century. They may have decorated a reliquary box or a portable altar given to István I by the pope. It is also possible, although cannot be verified, that István I received a crown as a gift from one of the popes, reciprocating his – historically documented - gifts. The picture of the apostles, however, based on their style, cannot be dated to around 1000.

The intersecting bands are edged with beaded gold wire that closes off the lower end of the bands and finishes off the system of decoration. There are twelve pearls on the central panel and a total of seventy-two altogether on the Corona Latina, symbolising the number of Christ’s disciples,. (Acts 10.1).

The central panel is decorated with a square cloisonné enamel picture depicting Christ Pantokrator. Each band has two (altogether eight) pictures of standing apostles identical to the first eight listed in Acts 1.13.
Éva Kovács and Zsuzsa Lovag suggest that the corona latina was originally a large Byzantine liturgical asterisk from a Greek monastery in Hungary. In order to get it to fit into it new role the apostles at the bottom of each of the four arms of this asterisk were cut off before it was very crudely attached to the inside of the corona graeca to transform this Byzantine open crown into a closed crown (i.e., the type of crown proper to the Autocrat, the senior emperor or monarch in Byzantine imperial protocol) and to provide a base for the reliquary cross at its summit (see Cross).


The cross is attached to the crown in a rough manner, breaking through the image of Christ on the top. This addition might have taken place during the 16th century. The cross was knocked crooked in the 17th century when the crown was damaged, possibly by the top of the iron chest housing the insignia being hastily closed without the crown having been placed in it properly. The cross has since been left in this slanted position, and is always depicted as such.

Éva Kovács suggests that the present plain cross on the top of the crown is a replacement of an original double barred reliquary cross containing three pieces of the True Cross and that it was this presence of the True Cross in the Holy Crown which made it holy. She states that “Szabolcs Vajay, called to my attention a strange incident in the crown’s history which had completely escaped everybody’s attention. Before Queen Isabella handed over the regalia to Ferdinard in 1551, she broke the cross off the crown’s peak for her son, John Sigismund. According to a contemporary Polish chronicler, John Sigismund wore this cross on his chest till the end of his life, “…because he who possess this cross will again come into possession of the missing parts which, subjected to the power of the cross, had belonged to it”. Later, the cross became the property of Sigismund Bathory who, persuaded by his confessor, bestowed it on Emperor Rudolf II. This was reported by an Italian envoy in Prague who also told the Isabella-John Sigismund story.” She also notes that “Several small fragments of the True Cross were in possession of the Arpad dynasty. As a point of interest, it is precisely the smallest ones, those set into the cross on the chest, that are attributed to St. Stephen. About a tiny fragment of the True Cross, a Russian chronicler recording King Geza II’s campaigns wrote that it had been the holy king’s property and, despite its small size, it was a relic of great force. We are, perhaps, not off the track when surmising that the Hungarian crown was holy because it had once been reinforced with a fragment of the victory-bringing relic. . . . we know quite few reliquary crowns. To mention but the most obvious example, let us cite Charles IV’s crown provided with a cross containing a thorn relic.” Later, it was the Crown itself, rather than St. Stephen's cross reliquary that came to be regarded as holy through its traditional association with St. Stephen. Éva Kovács further notes in this regard the early use of the patriarchal or double barred cross and crown in the ancient Hungarian royal coat of arms. Since reliquary crosses frequently take such a double barred form the use of a patriarchal cross in the royal arms would be a direct reference to and representation of this royal relic. This association between the crown and this royal relic would also help to substantiate the theory that the Holy Crown was always intended to serve its historical role of legitimatizing the position of its wearer as the true divinely appointed king of Hungary.

The crown as a whole

The form of the Holy Crown is identical to that of the kamelaukion-type crowns with closed tops introduced in the Byzantine Empire. The use of many pictures is also typical of Byzantine crowns. When the intersecting bands were added to the corona graeca during the rule of Béla III, who had been brought up in Constantinople, the bands were decorated just as the corona graeca was, perhaps with the intention of imitating the Byzantine crowns.

Links to the first Hungarian king, Saint Stephen

Beside the using of the intersecting bands of the corona latina, which probably came from the treasury of St. István, at the time of the creation of the crown there existed further expectation that the coronation insignia would eventually include additional gold works that could be linked to the first, beatified Hungarian king, István. The inscription embroidered onto the coronation mantle indicates with all certainty that István I and Queen Gizella had it made in 1031.

The coronation sceptre with the orb at the end can also be dated to the time of St István. On the seals of Henry II, Holy Roman Emperor, and Rudolph III of Burgundy, the rulers are holding identically shaped sceptres. Such short-staffed sceptres ending in orbs were not in use as insignia earlier or later.

Legal personality concept of the crown

The crown's raw gold and jewelry value was assessed at a mere 20,000 gold forints in the early 19th century, but its artistic value and spiritual power are immense. Charles Robert (Charles I of Hungary) had to be crowned three times because it was not until he was crowned with the Holy Crown, in 1310, that the coronation was seen as legally binding. Another, more recent, example of the powers of the Crown is the fact that inter-war Hungary – after the last Habsburg king of Hungary, Charles IV, tried and failed to retain the throne in 1921 – remained a kingdom without a king until 1946.

In such times the Virgin Mary would be considered a formal monarch of Hungary, but this avenue was not pursued due to regent Horthy's Protestant faith. Instead the favored idea was Szent Korona Állameszmény, which assigned legal personhood to the Holy Crown and declared that all state powers of the monarch or the government stem solely from the sacred powers of the headgear. A monarch or a regent was formally seen as a mere arm for the crown. The concept was used to push Hungary toward a rightist regime intent on re-securing the Lands of Saint Stephen, a course which ultimately tied the country to Hitler's Third Reich and ended in severe World War II destruction.

The regalia in modern times

The Holy Crown has had a lively history, having been stolen, hidden, lost, recovered, and taken abroad many times. During the Árpád dynasty (1000–1301), the coronation insignia were kept in the coronation city of Székesfehérvár. Later the crown was housed in one of three locations: Visegrád (in Pest county); Pozsony (present-day Bratislava); or Buda. In 1805–1806 the Crown was kept for about three months in the castle at Munkacs (now Mukachevo, Ukraine). Lajos Kossuth took the crown and the coronation jewels with him after the collapse of the Hungarian Revolution of 1848 and buried them in a wooden box in a willow forest, near Orşova in Transylvania. They were subsequently dug up and returned to the royal castle in Buda in 1853.

At the end of the Second World War the crown jewels were recovered in Mattsee, Austria, on 4 May 1945 by the U.S. 86th Infantry Division. The crown jewels were transported to Western Europe and eventually given to the United States Army by the Hungarian Crown Guard for safekeeping from the Soviet Union. For much of the Cold War the crown was held at the United States Bullion Depository (Fort Knox, Kentucky) alongside the bulk of America's gold reserves and other priceless historical items. After undergoing extensive historical research to verify the crown as genuine, it was returned to the people of Hungary by order of U.S. President Jimmy Carter on 6 January 1978. Most current academic knowledge about Hungarian royal garments originates from this modern research. Following substantial U.S. political debate, the agreement to return the jewels contained many conditions to ensure the people of Hungary, rather than its Communist government, took possession of the jewels.

After the fall of Communism, the crown was incorporated into the national coat of arms in 1990, the National Assembly choosing the pre-war coat of arms in preference to the crown-less Kossuth arms of 1849.

In a unique case in Europe, almost the entire medieval ensemble of coronation insignia survived. On 1 January 2000, the Holy Crown of Hungary was moved to the Hungarian Parliament Building from the Hungarian National Museum. The sceptre, orb and the coronation sword were also moved to the Parliament.

The very large coronation mantle remains in a glass inert gas vault at the National Museum due to its delicate, faint condition. Unlike the crown and accompanying insignia, the originally red coloured mantle is considered genuine to Stephen I, as it was made circa 1030. Codices describe the robe as a donation handiwork of the queen and her sisters and the mantle's middle back bears the king's only known portrait (which shows his crown was not the currently existing one). Circular inscription sewing in Latin identifies the coat as a bishop's chasuble.

The scepter is considered the artistically most valuable piece of the Hungarian royal inventory. It contains a solid rock crystal ball decorated with engraved lions, a rare product of the 10th century Fatimid empire. Its handle contains a wooden rod surrounded by very fine wrought silver ornaments.

The ceremonial straight sword kept in the Holy Crown collection is a 14th century Italian product. However, the original daily use sword of Stephen I survives in Prague's St. Vitus Cathedral since 1368. The good condition of this short-bladed (60 cm ~ 2 ft) ivory-decorated Norman sword pays homage to the art of smiths at Ulfberht, a 10th century Viking steelwork on the Rhine (see Oakeshott typology). Although the sword regularly visits Hungary as a museum loan, it has never been featured in Hungarian royal inaugurations. The titular lance of King Stephen I (as seen on the Mantle portrait) was reportedly obtained by the Holy Roman Emperor circa 1100


    1. ^ "De sacra corona regni Hungariae ortu, virtuti, victoria, fortuna... brevis commentarius, 1613
    2. ^ Németh Zsolt: A magyar Szent Korona, BKL Kiadó, 2007.
    3. ^ Beöthy et al.: Eppur si ..., Fizikai Szemle, 1984/2.
    4. ^ Zombori, I, Cséfalvay, P., Maria Antonietta De Angelis: A Thousand Years of Christianity in Hungary – Hungariae Christianae Millennium – Published by the Hungarian Catholic Episcopal Conference, Budapest, 2001, for the exhibition in the Musea of Vatican, Vatican City, 10 October 2001 – 12 January 2002 – under the auspices of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán
    5. ^ Istvan Baan: "Byzanz und Ostmitteleuropa, 950-1453". Page 46.
    6. ^ missing
    7. ^ A. Gallus, "The structural aspect: towards a plural society", Quest for a new Central Europe, ed. J. Varsányi, 1976, pp. 130-176, at p. 147
    8. ^ Anthony Endrey, The Holy Crown of Hungary, Hungarian Institute, 1978, pp. 13-115
    9. Magyar koronazasi jelvenyek, Eva Kovacs and Zsuzsa Lovag Budapest: Corvina Kiado, 1980; The Hungarian crown and other regalia translated by Peter Balban; translated and revised by Mary and Andras Boros-Kazai, pp. 79-80
    10. ^ "Hungary: Recovery of Crown Jewels 1945". Retrieved 2008-12-17.
    11. ^ "Jimmy Carter Library: The Crown of St. Stephen". Retrieved 2009-08-27.
    12. ^ "The Hungarian Crown". Retrieved 2009-08-27.


    • Bárány-Oberscall M. von, Die Sankt Stephans-Krone und die Insinien des Königreichs Ungarn, Vienna-Munich 1974
    • Benda K.-Fügedi E. Tausend Jahre Stephanskrone, Budapest 1988.
    • Deér J., "Die Heilige Krone Ungarnsin", in Denkschriften der Österreichsischen akademie d. Wiss. Phil.hist. Kl, 91, Vienna 1966.
    • Fügedi E., "Medieval Coronations in Hungary in Studies" in Mediaeval and Renaissance History 3, 1981.
    • Kovács É.-Lovag Zs., Die Ungarischen Krönungsingien, Budapest 1980.
    • Tóth E., Szelényi K., Die heilige Krone von Ungarn, Budapest 2000.
    • Tóth E., A koronázási palást és jogar (The Coronational Cloak and Sceptre), Szeged 2000.
    • Tóth E. "Das ungarische Krönungspectrum", in Folia Archaeologia 47, 2000.
    • Vajay Sz. "De Corona Regia. Corona. Regni, Sacra Corona: Königskronen und Kronensymbolik in mittelalterlichen Ungarn", in Ungarn Jahrbuch 7, 1976m pp. 37–64


      Today's Snippet II: Pannonhalma Archabbey, Hungary

      Pannonhalma Archabbey
      The Benedictine Pannonhalma Archabbey (Territorial Abbey of Pannonhalma, Latin: Abbatia Territorialis Sancti Martini in Monte Pannoniae) is the most notable landmark in Pannonhalma and one of the oldest historical monuments in Hungary, founded in 996. It is located near the town, on top of a hill (282 m). Saint Martin of Tours is believed to have been born at the foot of this hill, hence its former name, Mount of Saint Martin (Hungarian: Márton-hegy), from which the monastery occasionally took the alternative name of Márton-hegyi Apátság. This is the second largest territorial (i.e., approx. sovereign) abbey in the world, after the one in Monte Cassino.

      Its notable sights include the Basilica with the Crypt (built in the 13th century), the Cloisters, the monumental Library with 360,000 volumes, the Baroque Refectory (with several examples of trompe l'oeil) and the Archabbey Collection (the second biggest in the country). Today there are about 50 monks living in the monastery. The abbey is supplemented by the Benedictine High School, a boys' boarding school.

      It was founded as the first Hungarian Benedictine monastery in 996 by Prince Géza, who designated this as a place for the monks to settle, and then it soon became the centre of the Benedictine order. The monastery was built in honour of Saint Martin of Tours. Géza's son, King Stephen I donated estates and privileges to the monastery. Astrik (Anastasius) served as its first abbot.

      The oldest surviving document to use the Hungarian language, the Charter of the Tihany Benedictine Abbey, dating back to 1055, is still preserved in the library. The first buildings of the community were destroyed in 1137, then rebuilt. The Basilica's pillars and the early Gothic vault were built in the early 13th century, using the walls of the former church. In 1486 the abbey was reconstructed under King Matthias in the Gothic style.
      The monastery became an archabbey in 1541, and as a result of Ottoman incursions into Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries it was fortified. During one and a half centuries of the Turkish Occupation, the monks, however, had to abandon the abbey for shorter or longer periods of time. Only later were they able to start the reconstruction of the damaged buildings. During the time of Archabbot Benedek Sajghó, a major baroque construction was in progress in the monastery.

      In the 17th and 18th centuries, rich Baroque adornments and extensions were added to the complex and much of its current facade dates from this time. It received its present form in 1832, with the library and the tower, which was built in classicist style. The 18th century, the era of the Enlightenment also influenced the life of the monasteries. The state and the monarchs judged the operation of the communities according to immediate utility, by and large tolerating only those orders which practised nursing and education. In the 1860s, Ferenc Storno organised major renovations, mostly in the basilica.

      After 1945 Hungary became a communist state and in 1950 the properties of the Order and the schools run by the Benedictines were confiscated by the state, not to be returned until after the end of communism in Hungary. In 1995, one year before the millennium, the complex was entirely reconstructed and renovated. In 1996, "the Millenary Benedictine Abbey of Pannonhalma and its Natural Environment" was elected among the World Heritage sites.

      The Archabbey Complex

      Basilica and crypt

      The present church of Pannonhalma, a crowning achievement of the early Gothic style, was built at the beginning of the 13th century during the reign of Abbot Uros, and was consecrated most likely in 1224. Recent archaeological findings under the floor level of the west end of the basilica date from the 11th century. The oldest segment currently seen in the basilica is the wall of the southern aisle. Dating from the 12th century, it is a remnant of the second church to stand on the site, consecrated in 1137 during the reign of Abbot Dávid. During the archaeological excavations two walled-up gates were found in the sacristy. One of these could have presumably been the northern entrance of Abbot Dávid's church, while the other that of Abbot Uros'. Also found under the floor between the front altar and the sanctuary steps was a grave, most likely that of Abbot Uros. The church was extended during the reign of King Matthias, in which the present-day ceiling of the sanctuary, the eastern ends of the aisles and the Saint Benedict chapel were completed. During the Turkish occupation the furnishings were entirely destroyed. The most significant renovation after the occupation started in the 1720s, under Archabbot Benedek Sajghó. Ferenc Storno was the last to undertake a major renovation of the church in the 1860s. At this time the main altar, the pulpit, the frescoes of the ceiling, and the upper-level stained glass window depicting Saint Martin were added.

      Porta Speciosa and the cloister

      In the Middle Ages one of the main entrances to the church was the Porta Speciosa (ornate entrance). This portal leads to the church from the cloister (quadrum or quadratura) and it was crafted also in the 13th century. In the Renaissance Pannonhalma was rather depopulated (with not more than 6 or 7 monks). Under King Matthias' rule, in 1472, today's cloister was created. The constructions were probably finished in 1486, as it is testified by the inscription on one of the cornerstones. The work was presumably conducted by craftsmen of the Visegrád Royal Workshop of Construction. The small inner garden surrounded by the cloister was also called Paradisum (Paradise) metaphorically creating an earthly imitation of Biblical Paradise. In medieval times mainly herbs were grown here so that those in need would recover the body in its wholeness and health as it was in Paradise.


      The library was finished in the first third of the 19th century. The longitudinal part of the building was planned and built by Ferenc Engel in the 1820s. Later János Packh was commissioned with extending the edifice, and the oval hall is his work. Joseph Klieber, a Vienna master was asked to ornament the interior of the building.
      On the four sides of the oval hall's ceiling the allegories of the four medieval university faculties can be seen: Law, Theology, Medicine and the Arts. The holdings of the library have been increasing ever since. Manuscripts from the time of Saint László have been catalogued in Pannonhalma. As of today, 360,000 volumes are kept in the collection.

      Baroque refectory

      In the 18th century Archabbot Benedek Sajghó (1722–1768) had the Carmelite brother Atanáz Márton Witwer design the baroque elements of the monastery. The construction of the two-story high, rectangular shaped hall with cavetto vault probably dates to the second half of the 1720s. The paintings (secco) on the walls were created between 1728 and 1730 by Davide Antonio Fossati, a Swiss artist who later settled in Venice. The secco on the ceiling depicts the apotheosis of King Saint Stephen. The six well-known Biblical scenes on the side-walls are thematically connected to eating: the offering of vinegar to Christ on the Cross; the temptation of Jesus in the desert; Daniel in the lions' lair; the feast of King Balthasar; the decapitation of Saint John, the Baptist; and a scene from the life of Saint Benedict.

      The Millennium Monument

      In order to celebrate the millennium of the Magyars' settlement in 896, seven monuments were erected in the Carpathian Mountain Basin in 1896. One of them can still be seen today in Pannonhalma. The edifice was originally covered by a 26-metre high, double-shell dome with a colossal brass relief on it representing the Hungarian royal crown. Due to its deterioration, however, the outer shell had to be dismantled in 1937–1938, and the building took its present form. Two windows shed light on the interior, a circular, undivided room covered by a low dome (i.e. the original inner shell). The unfinished fresco decorating the eastern wall is an allegorical vision of the Foundation of the Hungarian state and was painted by Vilmos Aba-Novák in 1938.

      Our Lady Chapel

      The construction of the Our Lady Chapel begun in 1714. Originally it was a place of worship for the non-native population living in the vicinity of the abbey. The chapel, with its three baroque altars and small, 18th-century organ, was renovated in 1865, at which time the romantic ornamentation of the walls and the portal took place. The crypt beneath the church has served as the burial place of the monks for centuries. Near the Chapel stand a look-out tower from wood.

      Arboretum (Botanical Garden)

      In 1830 as many as 80 tree and bush species were to be found on the Archabbey's lands. It was through the design of Fábián Szeder in the 1840s that the current form of the arboretum took shape. Today the arboretum has more than 400 tree and bush species, many of which are rare species and varieties in Hungary.

      Present Day uses


      The Pannonhalma Archives of the Benedictine Archabbey contains one of the richest and most valuable collections of documents from the first centuries of the Hungarian statehood. It includes the monastery's interpolated charter (1001–1002) from Saint Stephen, the founding charter of the Tihany Abbey (1055), the first known written text to include Hungarian words and phrases. The records of the medieval Pannonhalma, a monastery with the rights to issue official documents (locus authenticus), and the records of the Bakonybél, the Tihany and the Dömölk abbeys constitute separate entities. The archive collects documents from the archabbot's office, the Theological School and the former Teacher Training School of the order, the former and current secondary schools, the dependent Benedictine houses, the finance offices of the Archabbey, and from the documentation of the parishes that belong to the so called Territorial Abbey: a quasi-diocese under the authority of the Archabbey. Partially as deposit, partially as inheritance, the archives of the Guary, the Somogyi, the Chernel, the Kende, the Erdődy and the Lónyay families came into our collection. The amount of the archive's holdings is 192 running metres.

      Szent Gellért College of Theology

      There is a College of Theology functioning in the archabbey, named after Saint Gellert. Saint Gerard Sagredo (Italian: San Gerardo Sagredo; Hungarian: Szent Sagredo Gellért) (23 April 980 – 24 September 1046), also called Gerhard or Gellert, was an Italian bishop from Venice (some claim Basque origins) who operated in the Kingdom of Hungary (specifically in Budapest), and educated Saint Emeric of Hungary, the son of Saint Stephen of Hungary). He played a major role in converting Hungary to Christianity. He was the bishop of Csanád. ellért's martyrdom took place on 24 September 1046 (his co-martyrs were Bystrik and Buldus) on a hill in Budapest which is now named after him. Allegedly he was placed on a 2-wheel cart, hauled to the hilltop and rolled down the now named Gellert Hill, then still being alive at the bottom, was beaten to death. Other unverified tales report him as being put in a spiked barrel and rolled down the hill. Canonized in 1083, along with St. Stephen and St. Emeric, Gellért is currently one of the patron saints of Hungary.

      Anpther College named afetr St Gellert, located in Southern Hungary in Szege, The St. Gellert Institute of Music and Ethics of the Ferenc Gál Theological College of Szege was founded in 2007. The institute was also named after one the first Hungarian bishops of the 11th century, Bishop St. Gerard (in Hungarian: St. Gellert). Originally of Lombard origin, the Bishop of Moroswar (Csanád) rendered outstanding services to Christian education and schooling, and strived to strengthen the relations and harmony between people and nations, and to promote the intercultural understanding.  The music, as international language of the heart, has in this respect a special ethical responsibility and commitment. In the current age of diverse commercialization, it cannot be overlooked that music and other arts as well, served originally the spiritual and emotional edification and education of people. As part of the institute, the St. Gellert Academy devotes itself to interdisciplinary education and research focusing on music and ethics. These include issues of historical and systematic musicology, ethnology, neurology, sociology or psychology, and of performance practice and the socio-cultural context of composers.

      The St. Gellert Festival in Szeged and other events serve to create spiritual and moving cultural experiences in the context of music and ethics, and to effectively present and communicate the results of the institute's and academy's work. The St. Gellert Festival was organized for the first time in the year 2008 with the support of the Szeged-Csanád Diocese as a place for various artistic encounters and innovative programmes with a balanced share of historical masterpieces and contemporary compositions. On this occasion, the St. Gellert Academy brings together professional musicians from various countries in the spirit of St. Gellert. The Festival got its name after one of the first bishops of Hungary, St. Gellert, who strived to establish understanding and peace among nations. The public can experience various artistic events that reflect the close relationship between religion, music and spirituality. The initiator und artistic director of the St. Gellert Festival is conductor, composer and music researcher Robert Christian Bachmann, professor and director of the St. Gellert Institute of Music and Ethics of the Ferenc Gál Theological College of Szeged since 2007. The chief conductor is Yoon Kuk Lee, teacher at the Salzburg Mozarteum University of Music, and director of the Salzburg Chamber Philharmonic since 1992.

      Benedictine High School of Pannonhalma

      Benedictine Viticulture (Old World Wine)

      Wine making started in the Pannonhalma-Sokoróalja region when Benedictine monks founded the monastery of Pannonhalma in 996. Social and political turmoil following World War II made it impossible to continue the centuries-old traditions, since both the properties and the winery were taken over by the Communist state. In the ensuing decades, monks living in Pannonhalma did not give up hope of resuscitating their wine-making traditions. Since the fall of Communism, the monks have revived the viticultural traditions and the wineries. 

      In 2000, the abbey repurchased vineyards that had been confiscated by the Communists and began replanting grape vines in the same year. The winery is situated on a 2000 m² plot with a capacity of 3000 hls. The main grape varieties are Rhine Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Gewürztraminer, Welschriesling, Ezerjó and Sárfehér. In addition, they have planted the more international Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. They currently have 37 hectares under newly planted vines and the first harvest took place in autumn 2003.

      Old World Wine

      Terroir is often used to describe the aspects of a wine region such as soil, climate and topography that are often out of the winemaker's control. They are the unique attributes that, theoretically, make a Sangiovese based wine from Chianti taste different from a Sangiovese based wine made anywhere else in the world even if exactly the same winemaking techniques are used. While wine in the New World are often labeled based on the varietal (such as Chardonnay or Tempranillo), wines in the Old World are generally labeled based on the region or place that they come from (such as Montrachet or Ribera del Duero). This is because Old World winemakers believe that the unique terroir-driven characteristics of where a wine comes from plays a more distinct role in shaping the resulting wine than the grape variety itself.


      Viticulture in most of the Old World wine regions dates back to several hundred or even thousands of years with the Phoenicians, Greeks and Romans establishing some of the earliest vineyards. Over centuries, these Old World wine regions have developed viticultural techniques and practices adapted around their unique climates and landscapes. Many of these practices are enshrined in local wine laws and regulations such as the French Appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC) regulations. One distinction between an Old World vineyard and a New World vineyard is generally the high vine density and close proximity of plantings in the Old World, which were often planted years before the use of mechanical agriculture became popular. In regions such as Bordeaux, vines were often planted 1 metre (3 ft) apart in rows that were also separated by 1 metre (3 ft) with spacing that was sufficient for pruning and harvesting being done manually. In New World wine regions like Australia, which was quick to adopt mechanical techniques, vines were often planted apart 3.7 metres (12 ft) by 2.5 metres (8 ft). While spacing between vine rows has shrunk in many Old World wine regions began adopting mechanical techniques in the late 20th century, some regions are still characterized by the high density of vines in their vineyards.


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      Old World winemaking is often terroir driven with emphasis being placed on how well the wine communicates the sense of place where it originated. For example, a winemaker making a Riesling from the Mosel will often try to highlight the unique traits of the Mosel wine region (such as its slate soils) with the wine expressing those traits in the form of minerality. In the New World, emphasis is often placed on the winemaker and the techniques used to bring out the fruit flavors of a wine (a style known as "fruit driven"). New World winemakers tend to be more open to experimenting with new scientific advances (such as the use of enzymes as an additive) while the terroir influence of Old World winemakers will often attempt to downplay the role of the winemaker and avoid techniques that may mask or distort the expression of terroir. Old World winemakers tend to be more open to use of wild, ambient yeast during the fermentation process as a part of the terroir while New World winemakers tend to favor cultured yeast strains.

      Other techniques associated with Old World winemakers include higher fermentation temperatures and a period of extended maceration following fermentation where the wine can leech more phenolic compounds from the grape skins. This can create more tannic and austere wines with more layers of complexity that require longer periods of bottle aging in order to mature. In contrast, the technique of transferring the must into oak barrels during fermentation and inducing malolactic fermentation early is more commonly associated with New World wine regions and wines that are softer and mature earlier.

      The Pannonhalma-Sokoró wine region

      The Pannonhalma-Sokoró wine region (NW, 8) consists of 630 hectares and the main white grape varieties grown here are Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Rhine and Italian Riesling, Királyleányka, and Traminer (Gewürztraminer). An Ice wine variety is also produced from Riesling. There are fewer red wines in this area; the most widespread is Kékfrankos. Since the natural conditions of Pannonhalma resemble to those of the Loire Valley or Alsace, two-thirds of the total area of the vineyards were planted by grape varieties yielding crispy, fine, easy-drinking white wines of high quality. Without exception, the varietal wines (Tramini, Rajnai Rizling, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir) bear the marks of the terroir, thus showing interesting and exciting samples in the world-wide range made of internationally known grape varieties, while the Benedictine winery also aims at offering unique blends (St. Martinus, Tricollis, Hemina, Infusio) reflecting its peculiarity and message in an authentic way.  Regarding the international tourism of the monastery of about hundred thousand visitors a year from all over the world, one third of the vineyards is devoted to popular international varieties that have shown good promise for the long term, such as Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc among the white as well as Pinot Noir, Merlot and Cabernet Franc among the red grape varieties.


      1. Csóka G., Szovák K., Takács I. (2000): Pannonhalma - Képes kalauz a bencés Főapátság történetéhez és nevezetességeihez. (Guide to Pannonhalma Archabbey: history and sightseeings). 
      2. Pannonhalmi Főapátság, PannonhalmaJ. Robinson (ed) "The Oxford Companion to Wine" Third Edition pg 476-477 Oxford University Press 2006 ISBN 0-19-860990-6
      3. Henszlmann, I. (1876): Magyarország ó-keresztyén, román és átmeneti stylü mű-emlékeinek rövid ismertetése, (Old-Christian, Romanesque and Transitional Style Architecture in Hungary). Királyi Magyar Egyetemi Nyomda, Budapest 
      4. Miklós Molnár, A concise history of Hungary, Cambridge University Press, 2001. Atkin, Tim (2001) Tradition and Innovation in the Tokaj Region Dissertation for Master of Wine
      5. Genthon I. (1959): Magyarország műemlékei. (Architectural Heritage of Hungray). Budapest
        Sip Sherwin Lao "Old World vs. New World wines", Manila Standard Today, October 9th 2007

      Suggested Sites:

      • Abbey Winery of Pannonhalma.
      • St Gellert Music Festival (Sept 21-30, 2012), Szeged Cathedral.