How a King’s Magnificent Dedication to the Virgin Mary Became a National Holiday in Hungary

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Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain

Aug. 20 is the “birthday” of Hungary. Why is this important in the Catholic Church?

After defeating pagan warriors in a fight for his crown, Pope Sylvester II granted the “Sacred Crown” to King Stephen of Hungary. On Christmas Day in the year 1000, the future patron saint became the King of Hungary.

King Stephen then dedicated his country to Christian principles. According to St. John Paul II, the king did not consider his crown an honor, “but a service.”

Pope St. John Paul II’s words describing this epic moment in history:

“At the dawn of the millennium, the figure of King St. Stephen stands out.

“He founded the State on the firm rock of Christian values, and for this reason wanted to receive the royal crown from the hands of my Predecessor, Pope Sylvester II. Thus the Hungarian nation was founded in deep unity with the Chair of Peter and bound by close ties to other European countries, which shared the same Christian culture.

“This culture was the vital sap flowing through the fibres of the developing plant, which assured its growth and vigor, and prepared the extraordinary flourishing that was to come.”

St. Stephen held a great devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. He built many churches in her honor.

On the day of his death in 1038, King St. Stephen dedicated his country to the Blessed Virgin Mary on the Solemnity of the Assumption. He requested that the state and Church leaders “protect and spread the Catholic faith.”

He dedicated one of his final prayers to the Blessed Virgin Mary:

“To thee, O Queen of heaven, and to thy guardianship, I commend the holy Church, all the bishops and the clergy, the whole kingdom, its rulers and inhabitants; but before all, I commend my soul to thy care.”

Ambassador of Hungary to the Holy See Eduard Habsburg brought attention to the Aug. 20th celebration in a post accompanied by a photo of Our Lady with St. Stephen.

Here’s the photo below:

Click here if you cannot see the tweet above.

“What better image to convey our celebrating 🇭🇺Hungary’s “birthday”, the 20th of August, then King Stephen offering the crown he received from the Pope to Our Lady who is, henceforth, queen of Hungary,” said Habsburg.

St. Stephen’s Day falls every year on Aug. 20. Hungary considers this day a public holiday, or the “birthday” of Hungary, “celebrating the foundation of the Hungarian state more than 1000 years ago.” It is comparable to July 4 in the United States.

Here’s a video explaining Hungary’s amazing Catholic history:

Happy birthday to Hungary!

Blessed Virgin Mary, the “Great Lady of the Hungarians”, please pray for us!

[See also: 16 Churches So Beautiful They’ll Take Your Breath Away]

[See also: Is Mary’s Assumption Actually in the Bible? Here Are the Facts for Every Skeptic]