“Prince Istvan (Saint Stephen) the conclusion and Holy Crown.”
Stephen protected his state in successful battles against the invading Pechenegs,
Bulgarians and Poles, as well as against the attack of the Holy Roman Emperor Conrad II. He was highly venerated as the founder and successful organizer of the Hungarian Christian state.
Stephen and his son, Prince Emeric, were canonized in 1083 (his wife Gizella, was beatified). After a four-decade long rule, Stephen was buried in a sarcophagus in Szekesfehervar, in the royal basilica, in 1038. Donations and privileges connected with him had the greatest respect in medieval Hungarian law. Four other rulers of the Arpad Dynasty later bore his name, and other members of the family (who did not reach the royal throne) were also called Stephen. (His mummified right had is considered a sacred relic. It is escorted by the faithful during the August 2oth procession.)
The Holy Crown:
Tradition holds that Saint Stephen’s crown, the Holy Crown, always enjoy special
respect. In most countries during the Middle Ages, the royal crown was not a permanent regalia passed from ruler to ruler. One exception was the Holy Roman Emperor’s crown or the iron crown of Lombardy (in northern Italy). The crown with which the Hungarian kings were crowned until 1916 were probably made after Saint Stephen’s reign, in the 11th or 12th century. According to the pictures it carries, it’s lower part (the hoop) may originate from the era of Geza I and might have been made in the emperor’s court in Constantinople (it was called the Corona Gracca because of the Greek inscriptions on it), and Geza might have received it as a gift from there. To this were later fastened the crossed bands (this part was called the Corona Latina because of the Latin inscription on it). This is the crown first mentioned as the “Holy Crown” in 1256 and-mistakenly-as “King Saint Stephen’s Crown” in 1292.
The Holy Crown is made of gold and is ornamented by enamel pictures in small compartments. Four 13-centimeter-long gold chains hang down on both parts; each chain ends with a clover-shaped setting of gemstones. Precious metals, zephyrs, garnets, rubies and amethysts adorn the crown, a special masterpiece of medieval goldsmithery.
It is a real wonder that after so many adversities (being stolen several times, lost, and buried, most recently in 1945) it remained intact. It was safeguarded in the United States between 1945 and 1978. After it was returned to Hungary, it was exhibited in the National Museum until January 1, 2000, when it was transferred to the Parliament building, where it has been on display ever since.