Where time began in 1048: the 975th anniversary of the founding of the parish is celebrated in the Inner City Church
Hungarian version of the article: Ahol 1048-ban kezdődött az idő: a plébánia alapításának 975. évfordulóját ünneplik a Belvárosi-templomban
January 25, 2023 at 4:00 PM
This year, the 975th anniversary of the founding of the parish will be commemorated in the Budapest Inner City Parish Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary with a series of celebrations throughout the year - it was announced yesterday at the press conference in which Pestbuda also participated. The year 2023 was declared a commemorative year.
Fragments of the former stamp of the parish founded in 1048 preserve the memory of the fact that a Christian community has existed in Pest, on the left bank of the Danube, for 975 years - reads the press release of the Budapest Inner City Parish Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Detailed information about the even older past can be found on the parish website. As it is written: in 1046, the Bishop Saint Gerard, who suffered martyrdom, was buried in the church that once stood in this place. As mentioned in the previous article of Pestbuda: in the 14th century, during the reign of Louis the Great and then King Sigismund, the church was rebuilt in Gothic style. In the alcove behind the sanctuary, a fresco of the enthroned Virgin Mary from the Anjou period survived intact, which was found in 2010.
During the reign of King Matthias, the church was further expanded, with a royal oratory on the south side and a Gothic-style tower similar to the Mátyás Church in Buda Castle. In Turkish times, after 1541, it was used as a mosque, a memory of this is a mihrab (prayer booth) in the southeast wall of the sanctuary. After 1686, with the end of Turkish rule, the nave and southern tower of the church were rebuilt in several parts in Baroque style using the remaining Gothic wall remains. The northern tower of the main facade was built at the end of the 18th century.
The archaeological excavations carried out between 2014 and 2016 clarified the Roman and medieval remains under the floor. In 2016, the interior was restored, and a crypt was created below the floor level with the presentation of the excavation results.
The sign announcing the commemorative year in the crypt (Photo: pestbuda.hu)
This year, the parish not only commemorates the anniversary of its founding but also celebrates the 75th anniversary of the church's main altar, completed in 1948, as well as the 75th anniversary of Cardinal József Mindszenty's speech delivered here, it was announced at yesterday's press conference.
In the press release, it is recalled that in the last days of World War II, a bomb destroyed the main altar of the Inner City Parish Church. In 1947, the church issued an invitation to tender for the design and construction of a new winged altar for the main church in Pest. Among the three invited painters, Pál Molnár-C. received an order to prepare the main altar. The altar was blessed on 15 August 1948, the day of the church's patron saint's day. The blessing was performed by the Blessed Zoltán Meszlényi, assistant bishop of Esztergom, in the completely filled church. The 75-year-old main altar will be celebrated on 28 April 2023, on the painter Pál Molnár-C.'s birthday.
Interior of the Budapest Inner City Parish Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Photo: Balázs Both/pestbuda.hu)
The parish will celebrate the 975th anniversary of its founding in a four-day festivity between 12-15 August. In addition to the liturgical events, during the celebration, there will be a candlelight and torchlight procession, night and day adoration and public programs in the Rose Garden.
In August 1948, on the 900th anniversary of the founding of the parish, Cardinal József Mindszenty gave a celebratory speech on Március 15 Square. In the open-air speech, he remembered the long history of the parish community and the faithful who persevered even in the storms of history. According to his words, "this church tells stories, teaches, and ultimately guides you towards eternal life," the press release reads. Cardinal József Mindszenty's speech will be commemorated on 3 November.
The church and the square from a bird's eye view (Photo: Civertan Graphic Studio, Balázs Jászai)
In 2023, the Budapest Inner City Parish Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary wants to make the significant anniversaries memorable with large-scale events, and organise religious, musical and cultural experiences throughout the year. They organise numerous performances, film screenings, pilgrimages and retreats, release organ recordings on CD, and in March there will be a charity concert for the victims of the energy crisis, as well as a book launch.
There will also be programs in the Rose Garden during the commemorative year (Photo: Balázs Both/pestbuda.hu)
The Parish has put together festive programs worthy of its musical past. In the series of all organ and harmonium works by Ferenc Liszt, the composer's oeuvre will be heard in nine thematic concerts. Liszt research organist Zsolt Máté Mészáros has been working for three years on a new edition of all the organ and harmonium works of one of the greatest Hungarian composers of his time, presenting the results of his many years of work for the first time in this series.
Visitors are welcomed with a commemorative stamp, new postcards, a commemorative card, and a publication in 8 languages at the Budapest Inner City Parish Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Source: Budapest Inner City Parish Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Pestbuda
Cover photo: The building of the Budapest Inner City Parish Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Március 15 Square (Photo: Balázs Both/pestbuda.hu)