A proposal submitted to the Budapest City Council Assembly reads that the Statue of Saint Stephen planned for Saint Stephen's Park should be erected on Templom Square in the 19th District.

The statue of the founding King of Hungary was completed in the autumn of 2019. However, the new General Assembly voted to postpone the erection of the statue. Preparations for the statue were already underway in the park at the time. The statue was to be placed on top of a 50 cm pedestal on a small mound.

The Statue of King Saint Stephen by István Harmath, originally created for the 13th District (source Budapest.hu)

The motion for the postponement was submitted by Mayor Gergely Karácsony, citing that local civilians had requested the work stop. The resolution passed at the time did not exclude the possibility that the statue later be erected in the park.

The originally planned location of the statue in Saint Stephen's park (Source: budapestgaleria.hu)

A civil forum was indeed held after the resolution to postpone was passed. The Budapest City Council convened a meeting of local groups at the Újlipótvárosi Klub-Galéria.

Parallel to this, the Budapest Gallery completed a new expert opinion. The recommendation in this was to erect the statue in another part of the park so that it would not disturb other sculptures or use of the green areas of the park.

A visual of the statue by István Harmath (Source: budapestgaleria.hu)

The park currently contains a bust of Ferenc Fejtő erected in 2008, the memorial of Raul Wallenberg by Pál Pátzay, which was erected in 1949 and then stolen but replaced in 1999. A memorial to the heroic Partisans of Budapest erected on the 25th anniversary (1970) of the so-called Liberation (occupation of Hungary by Soviet troops at the end of World War II), and a statue dubbed The Sack Bearer by Zoltán Borbereki Kovács.

The statue of St. Stephen would have stood next to these works, but not as a new additional statue, but in the place of a statue of the communist politician György Lukács, the People's Commissioner of the Hungarian Soviet Republic. At its 25 January 2017 sitting the Budapest Council Assembly voted to demolish the statue of Lukács made by Imre Varga in 1985. The resolution to erect a statue of Saint Stephen in its place was passed art the same sitting. The statue was originally to be unveiled on 20 August 2019; however, work was delayed.

The 250 cm high statue of King Saint Stephen would have stood upon a 50 cm pedestal on top of a small mound

In the meantime, a new council assembly formed following the results of the local election on 13 October 2019. The new assembly did not agree with plans to erect a statue of the nation's founding King in the park that bears his name.

The process was conducted in accordance with all regulations and laws in effect at the time. Once the resolution to erect the statue was passed, the Budapest History Museum, Budapest Gallery and the Budapest City Council announced an open national design competition. The goal of this competition was to create a statue that depicted the founding King Saint Stephen as an example and paragon for current and future generations. Nineteen artists submitted their work.

The competition was one by the sculptor István Harmath. Born in Székelyudvarhely (Odorheiu Secuiesc, Romania) the artists currently lives Baja. The statue depicts Saint Stephen standing straight, his right hand raised high and pointing towards the heavens, while his left-hand holds the national orb and cross.

The work was praised by the judges: "The figure of King Saint Stephen evokes the Saint Stephen's admonitions in the observer through the finger raised on his right hand. The king portrays strength and dignity. To emphasise the former, the panel recommends that a sword be added to his belt."

The judges also added that the statue avoided commonplace templates used to depict the saint emphasising that the frontal configuration of the statue and the symbols depicted are significant: the statues' movement, the right hand raised towards the heaven, and the orb in his left refer to the founding king, his head decorated with a simple crown.

Thus, it seems the new location of the statue will be Templom Square in the 19th District.

Cover photo: the statue of Saint Stephen (Source: budapestgaleria.hu