Friday, October 22, 2021

Saint Stephen of Hungary – Feast Day – August 16

Saint Stephen I was also known as King Saint Stephen was born in 975 AD in Esztergom, Hungary and died on August 15 1038 in Esztergom, Hungary. He was the first King of Hungary from 1000 until death in 1038 AD. His feast day is celebrated on August 16 every year in the Catholic Church.

Saint Stephen of Hungary Biography
Saint Stephen of Hungary
Saint Stephen of Hungary
Date of Birth 975 AD
Place of Birth Esztergom, Hungary
Profession King of the Hungarians
Place of Work Kingdom of Hungary
Date of Death August 15 1038
Place of Death Esztergom, Hungary
Feast Day August 16
Canonization By Pope Gregory VII on 20 August 1083 in Székesfehérvár
Patron Saint of Hungary

Saint Stephen of Hungary Life History

St Stephen’s father was the supreme Magyar chieftain Géza, and his mother was called Sarolt, daughter of Gyula. His name at birth was Vajk meaning a hero in the Turkic language. He was born a pagan but was baptized by Saint Adalbert of Prague and reared as a Christian.

St Stephen was nominated by his father to rule over the region of Nitra, Slovakia from around 995 AD at the young age of 15 years. Shortly after, he married Gisela, daughter of Henry II, Duke of Bavaria.

After Stephen’s father died in 997 AD, Stephen was declared the grand prince by his supporters. This caused a feud between him and his arch-rival Koppány who also claimed the same position. Stephen’s army killed Koppány and consolidated his throne.

Around 1000 AD, Stephen was coronated as king by Pope Sylvester II under the advice and consent of Holy Roman Emperor Otto III. Pope Sylvester II gave him a crown that is now held as a national treasure in Hungary and became a Christian monarch who ruled his realm “by the Grace of God”.

Immediately after his coronation, Stephen established an archbishopric with its see in Esztergom and the Diocese of Kalocsa in 1001. He invited foreign priests to Hungary to evangelize throughout his kingdom. This marked the genesis of a thriving Church in Hungary. Stephen weighed upon his subjects to give up pagan worship and embrace Christianity.

As a king of Hungary, Stephen set up an administrative system of counties which became the the core of Church organization.

St Stephen built many monasteries, Churches, Cathedrals, Basilicas, pilgrim ways, and routes in order to facilitate and promote the spread of Christianity in Hungary.

Most of Stephen’s children died at a very young age except his son Emeric who died in 1031 during a hunting accident. This last blow marked the beginning of Stephen’s deteriorating health.

Throughout his life, we are told, he had Christ on his lips, Christ in his heart, and Christ in all he did. His only wars were wars of defense, and he was always successful. God sent him many and sore trials. When St. Stephen was about to die, he summoned the bishops and nobles and gave them charge concerning the choice of a successor.

Then he urged them to nurture and cherish the Catholic Church, which was still as a tender plant in Hungary, to follow justice, humility, and charity, to be obedient to the laws, and to show ever a reverent submission to the Holy See.

Saint Stephen of Hungary Death

Then, raising his eyes towards heaven, St Stephen said, “O Queen of Heaven, august restorer of a prostrate world, to thy care I commend the Holy Church, my people, and my realm, and my own departing soul.” And then, on his favorite feast of the Assumption, Stephen died on August 15 1038, and was buried in the basilica of Székesfehérvár.

Saint Stephen of Hungary is the Patron Saint of

Stephen is venerated as the patron saint of Hungary. He is also regarded as the protector of

  • Kings
  • Masons
  • Stonecutters
  • Stonemasons
  • Bricklayers
  • Children suffering from severe illnesses

Feast Day

The feast day of Saint Stephen of Hungary is celebrated on August 16 every year in the Catholic Church. In Hungary, the feast is celebrated on August 20, the day on which his relics were translated.

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