St. István's Basilica ..Budapest's largest Catholic Church is dedicated to St. István (Stephan), the first Christian king of Hungary. Built around 1896, for the city's millennial celebration, the basilica was newly renovated and simply sparkled. István's father, King Geza, was defeated in battle by Christian forces in Europe. He decided that if he and his people were not going to be driven from Europe, he'd better raise his son as a good Catholic and convert the rest of the nation. And, Istavan became a devout Catholic. Anyone who refused conversion was beheaded . . . a convincing technique. Top that by the fact that he quartered a reluctant uncle and sent him to different corners of the kingdom, his methods worked. Within thirty years after he died, the guy was sainted.

One of the treasures of the basilica is the thousand year old right hand of St. István himself. It was in a back corner chapel of the basilica. Now, I'm not really sure why the withered hand in a jeweled box is so special, but you can walk right up and look at it. Just as I was about to take a picture of it, the lights inside the box went off. It wasn't till later that I read you had to drop a coin in the box for the lights to go on. I didn't think not getting that photo was that much of a loss.


Copyright 2007 by Phillip Martin All rights reserved.