«« home ««

»» resurrection of the holy rulers »»
-- state-sponsored cult of relics --
state-sponsored cult of relics
A typical “medieval” component of the rising new cult of saints is the cult of relics. The canonization initiative of Gisela began by the opening of her sarcophagus in 1995 in Niedernburg. The translatio of her arm-relic to Veszprém in 1996 was resolved with a nice staging: the Holy Right hand of Saint Stephen, the most precious relic in Hungary, which “came” to meet her, and the two reliquaries rested on the same altar during the Holy Mass held in honor of them. The relic of Gisela is in the cathedral of Veszprém since then, at a place of honor. As to the relics of Saint Stephen, the millenary year brought a significant vogue: the Hungarian Government arranged to get his skull-relic from the Dominican convent in Dubrovnik on loan, and these relics were solemnly brought to the proximity of the Holy Right hand, and, in addition, another inter-state loan brought to Budapest the sword of Saint Stephen kept in Prague, which also “met” the right hand which once used it. The presence of all these relics made the habitual Saint Stephen procession during these millenary years a special event, where, in addition, he had a second canonization, according to orthodox rites. The most spectacular act of this state sponsored cult of relics was the solemn translatio of the crown relics to the Parliament building on January 1, 2000. During the millennial festivities a special celebration was arranged for the relics of St. Elizabeth in Sárospatak, and an initiative was started to recognize her skull relic in Viterbo as authentic (which eventually occurred in 2003). In 2002 the relic of Saint Gellért were also acquired from Venice. The active role of the Hungarian government is illustrated by the fact that a Polish donation of the relics of St. Hedwig was received in 2002 by Anikó Lévai wife of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.