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Friday, August 16, 2013

Saint Stephen Of Hungary - August 16

Saint Stephen of Hungary 
August 16

A fierce marauding people called the Magyars learned of Christianity during their raids in Italy and France.  Vaik the son of one of the few Magyar women, who had embraced Christianity, was born around 970.  In 986 he was baptized by the archbishop of Prague and given the name of the first martyr, Stephen.

Here is a portion of the history of Saint Stephen from the Roman Breviary:  “St. Stephen introduced into Hungary both the Faith of Christ and regal dignity.  He obtained his royal crown from the Roman Pontiff; and having been, by his command, anointed King, he offered his kingdom to the Apostolic See. 

He built several houses of charity at Rome, Jerusalem, and Constantinople; and with a wonderfully munificent spirit of religion, he founded the Archiepiscopal See of Gran and ten other bishoprics.  His love for the poor was equaled only by his generosity towards them; for, seeing in them Christ Himself, he never sent anyone away sad or empty-handed.  So great was his charity, that, to relieve their necessities, after expending large sums of money, he often bestowed upon them his household goods.

It was his custom to wash the feet of the poor with his own hands, and to visit the hospitals at night, alone and unknown, serving the sick and showing them every charity.  As a reward for these good deeds his right hand remained incorrupt after death, when the rest of his body had turned to dust.

Having married Ghisella of Bavaria, sister of the Emperor St. Heinrich, he had by her a son, Emeric, whom he brought up in such regularity and piety as to form him into a saint.  He summoned wise and holy men from all parts to aid him in the government of his kingdom, and undertook nothing without their advice. 

In sackcloth and ashes, he besought God with most humble prayer, that he might not depart this life without seeing the whole kingdom of Hungary Catholic.  So great indeed was his zeal for the propagation of the Faith, that he was called the Apostle of his nation.

He had the most ardent devotion towards the Mother of God, in whose honor he built a magnificent church, solemnly declaring Her Patroness of Hungary.  In return the Blessed Virgin received him into Heaven on the day of Her Assumption."

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The Baptism of Vajk - Gyular Benczur

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