Magyar News, 2000. szeptember-2001. augusztus (11. évfolyam, 1-12. szám)

2000-09-01 / 1. szám

august 20/ szt* istuán nap The holiday of the Hungarian people There are things in life that we never question. These things are exact­ly where they should be, at the proper time and at the proper place. We grew up with it and if by any chance it wouldn’t happen then we would be very surprised. One of these things is our greatest and most ancient national holiday; August 20, the feast of St. Stephen. This day we had church serv­ice, many things were said about the first Hungarian King, and we marched in the procession. We knew that this day will be the same the following year. I have vivid memories of August 20, so I decided to write about it in the Magyar News. My problems started here; my memory wasn’t good enough to tell the story. 1 am sure that it hap­pens to other people and about many things. So I reached out to Father Stephen in New Brunswick and asked him to help me out. In a few hours on the internet I received his message on the history of August 20, Saint Stephen Day. It was a copy from a monumental book edited by the then Archbishop of Esztergom, Cardinal Jusztinian Serédi, and it was in Hungarian. I will loosely translate it. In 1083, King László, a saint him­self, in Székesfehérvár had King Stephen’s grave opened. They found the right hand of Stephen incorrupt. This miracle was attributed to Goa's will to keep the hand that did so much good for the Hungarian people and Christianity. King László proclaimed King Stephen to be a saint and the church supported this decision. This day was August 20. It is very likely that King László presented the sacred relic to the people, and as a tradition this was renewed at a later time. It is known that the Árpád Dynasty , start­ing with King Stephen stayed ín power for 300 years. After, during the renais­sance, the moral order loosened up. Unfortunately adding to it in 1526 Ottoman Turks occupied Hungary for 145 years. When in 1686" the Hungarians were liberated from the Turkish occupation, the people began to show longing for the memories of the great King Stephen. Pope Innocent XI urged the Hungarians to remember the anniversary of day of freedom by celebrating King Stephen the Patron Saint of Hungary. This day was September 2. Throughout the world the Roman Catholic Church honored Saint Stephen on that day for centuries until Pope John Paul II announced that the holiday of the Hungarian Saint Stephen should be held on August 16. In 1706 the Djakovári Synod with György Patachich, the Bishop of Bosnia, pre­siding made the decision that the church in Hungary will keep the ancient tradition and cel­ebrate August 20. Then in 1764, Queen Mária Terézia founded the CIVIL RITTER ORDER and named the Hungarian noble knights by the name of Saint Stephen. This was sup-Ported by the Hungarian arliamént in Pozsony on August 20. The real impact hap­pened in 1771 when Saint Stephen’s sacred nght hand was found in Raguza, Croatia. Probably, the Turkish soldiers brought it to that site. The Queen had the sacred relic transported back to Buda. The whole country was uplifted and joyful. On the way through Győr and Pannonhalma people left the harvesting just to follow the preserved sacred hand (Szent Jobb). This event brought together the Hungarian people again, gave them hope and trust in the future. The celebration had many dates; After the Turks found in Raguza on May 29; St. László feast June 27; July 27 when the Sacred Hand arrived in Buda; August 20 started an 8 day cele­The reliquary that is carried in the procession. Inside is the incorrupt sacred right hand of Saint Stephen. bration. From 1774 August 20 became a national holiday. During the Communist regime changed Saint Stephen’s Day into New Bread Day, then into a more official sounding one, Constitution Day. This didn't work despite the effort to destroy the devotion and love of the Hungarian people for Saint Stephen. On August 20th of this Millennium Year the incorrupt Hand of our found­ing King remains the central focus in King Saint Stephen’s glorious National Procession. Joseph F. Balogh Page 1