La Sainte Main droite d'Étienne Ier, roi de Hongrie-RELICS

The Holy Right Hand of Stephen I, King of Hungary

The Holy Right Hand is a Hungarian national and catholic relic, said to be the naturally mummified right hand of Stephen I, first king of Hungary, also called Saint Stephen.

Saint Stephen (in Hungarian Szent István) was born around 970-975 in Esztergom. He was a member of the Árpád dynasty, born a pagan but baptized a Christian. In 996, he married Gisela of Bavaria, sister of the future Holy Roman Emperor Henry II. After the death of his father, the Grand Prince Géza, Stephen fought an insurrection led by his cousin, Koppány, who claimed the throne in accordance with the rules of succession of Árpád. After defeating Koppány, Stephen was crowned as (first) King of Hungary with a crown received from Pope Sylvester II.

His coronation, which took place around 1021 years ago on Christmas Day in the year 1000, marked Hungary's entry into the family of European Christian nations. Stephen made the Church the main pillar of his authority, sending missionaries throughout his kingdom, founding bishoprics and abbeys, and mandating the building of churches. He died in 1038 and became the patron saint of Hungary.

The king's right hand, naturally mummified, is one of the most importantrelics Hungarian nationals, discovered during the opening of his stone tomb on August 20, 1083 in Székesfehérvár. (The identifying mark of the right hand was the king's ring, which adorned the hand). Therelic had a few adventures in his time. During the Turkish occupation, it ended up in Ragusa (today: Dubrovnik, Croatia), where it was guarded by Dominican friars, attracting increasing numbers of pilgrims to the city.

Queen Maria Theresa (1717-1780), late successor to Saint Stephen on the Hungarian throne, negotiated the return of the Holy Right Hand in 1771, offering in return the historic city of Ragusa its protection against the threat of Russian invasion. In her charter decree, she specified how the relic, the mummified hand of Saint Stephen, was to be respected throughout the country.

During World War II, the Holy Right Hand was concealed - along with the Coronation Jewels - near Salzburg, Austria. The relic returned to Hungary in 1945, and it has been on display in St. Stephen's Basilica in Budapest since 1987.

The charter issued by Queen Maria Theresa on August 7, 1772 in Vienna is a parchment volume, sealed with the secret Hungarian Great Seal and consists of 10 pages. It is kept by the National Archives of Hungary, in Budapest (under the reference code HU-MNL-OL - C 90 - 11)..
Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.