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Archdiocese in Hungary

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Gran, (Hungarian Esztergom; Lat. Strigonium), Archdiocese of (Strigoniensis), in Hungary. From the earliest time of its existence (eighth century) up to the beginning of the eleventh century, the Diocese of Gran embraced the greater part of Hungary, but as early as the beginning of the twelfth century its extent was considerably diminished by the founding of the Archdiocese of Bats. Gran, however, always remained the most important, and the Archbishop of Gran was looked upon as the Primate of Hungary. The jurisdiction of Gran extended originally over the whole of Upper Hungary to the territory of the Cumans beyond the Theiss. In 1766 two more dioceses were established in this territory, Neusohl (Besztercze-Banya) and Rosenau (Rozsnyo), and in 1804 the Diocese of Erlau was separated from the Archdiocese of Gran, and raised to the archiepiscopal rank, with the suffragan sees of Rosenau, Szepes, Kaschau (Kassa), and Szatmar. In 1776 the Greek Ruthenian Bishoprics of Eperies, Munkacs, and Kreuz (Koros) were placed under the jurisdiction of the Archdiocese of Gran; but in 1852 Kreuz was transferred to the Archdiocese of Agram, to which it had formerly belonged. The Arch-diocese of Gran extends today over fourteen counties, and has as suffragans Neutra (Nyitra), Veszprem, Waitzen (Vacz), Steinamanger (Szombathely), Stuhlweissenburg (Szekes-Fehervar), Raab (Gyor), Funfkirchen (Pecs), and Neusohl (Besztercze-Banya) (Latin Rite), also the Greek Ruthenian Dioceses of Eperies and Munkacs. There are three chapters, the metropolitan chapter of Presburg with 13 members, and chapter at Tyrnau (Nagy-Szombat) with 6 members. The archdiocese is divided into three vicariates, Gran, Tyrnau, and Budapest; 8 archdeaneries, the cathedral deanery of Gran and those of Bars, Hont, Komorn (Komrom), Neograd (Nograd), Neutra (Nyitra), Presburg (Pozsony), and Sassin (Sasvar); and 46 deaneries, of which 21 belong to the Vicariate of Gran, one to that of Budapest, and 24 to that of Tyrnau. There are also in the archdiocese 13 abbeys, and 24 exempt abbeys. At one time the parishes numbered over a thousand, and as late as the middle of the sixteenth century exceeded nine hundred. On account of the continued advance of the Turks and the spread of Protestantism, this number rapidly decreased, so that it was reduced to one hundred at the beginning of the seventeenth century. Under the great Peter Pazmany, the zealous opponent of Protestantism, conditions were improved, and after his death there were 185 parishes. Today the number is given as 480, and the total number of clergy in the archdiocese 923, of whom 729 are occupied with the cure of souls. There are 5 seminaries for the training of priests, the central seminary at Budapest, that of Gran, the Pazmaneum at Vienna, and the preparatory seminaries at Presburg and Tyrnau. There is also an archiepiscopal gymnasium connected with the Tyrnau seminary. The students number about 262. There are in the archdiocese 134 religious houses of men and women, whose members number collectively 2487. In the three vicariates of the archdiocese (1909) there are 1,480,531 Catholics, and 1,057,282 members of other creeds.

The already existing See of Gran was raised to metropolitan rank by St. Stephen (c. 1000-38), first King of Hungary, who converted the country to the Catholic Faith and organized the Church there. He chose for the metropolitan see Gran, at that time the richest and most important city in Hungary and the royal residence. St. Adalbert, Bishop of Prague and martyr, was chosen patron of the archidocese. It was Adalbert who converted the royal family to the Catholic Church of Gran dedicated to him, the titular patron being the Blessed Virgin. The first cathedral was begun by St. Stephen in 998. The foundation stone of the present building was laid by Alexander von Rudnay (archbishop 1819-31), and it was finished under Johann Simor (1866-92). In 1198 the royal palace at Gran was given to the archbishop for his residence. The first archbishop was Astericus Anastasius (Astrik-Anastaz) (990-c. 1036), who was the most loyal cooperator of King Stephen in organizing Catholic Hungary, and who was sent by Stephen to Rome to beg papal approval for the organization of the Church in Hungary, and to ask for the crown. It was also Astericus who, in the year 1000, crowned Stephen as first King of Hungary with the crown sent by Pope Sylvester II.

On account of the part played by its archbishops, the history of the Archdiocese of Gran is closely connected with that of Hungary. Up to the sixteenth century the archbishop resided at Gran, but when the Turks overran Hungary after the battle of Mohacs, in which the primate, Ladislaus Szalkan (1524-26), was slain, Paul Vardai (1527-49) removed the seat to Presburg, and when Gran also fell into the hands of the Turks, to Tyrnau, which remained the seat of the archdiocese until 1820. This period is one of the saddest epochs in the history of the see. Ecclesiastical discipline became relaxed, and notwithstanding the efforts of Nikolaus Olah (1553-68), Protestantism gained more and more territory. After the death of Anton Veranotius (1569-73), the episcopal see remained vacant for twenty-three years. It was the greatest of all the archbishops of Gran, Peter Pazmany (1616-37), who stemmed the decline of Catholicism in Gran. He succeeded in reconciling with the Church many influential families of Hungary, and thus brought about the ecclesiastical reorganization of the country. A pulpit orator of distinction, he earned imperishable fame by his cultivation of the Hungarian language and won a lasting place in the history of Hungarian literature. For the advancement of the Catholic religion and the promotion of learning, he founded at Vienna the Pazmaneum, a seminary for the training of priests. The University of Tyrnau was also founded by him, but was transferred to Budat (Ofen) by Maria Theresa. In 1891 Klaudius Vaszary was appointed archbishop.

In virtue of his dignity as Primate of Hungary, the Archbishop of Gran possesses a number of extraordinary privileges. Johann von Kanizsai (1387-1418) was the first to be mentioned as Primate of Hungary, though the primacy was connected with the Archdiocese of Gran as early as 1279. The primate is entitled to hold national synods, is Legatus Natus of the Holy Roman Church, has therefore the right, inside of his legations, to have the cross carried before him, and deals directly with the Holy See. As primate he has the right to visit the episcopal sees and the religious houses in Hungary, with the exception of the exempt Archabbey of Pannonhalma (S. Martinus in Monte Pannoniae). Since 1715 the primate has also been a Prince of the Holy Roman Empire, having the title of Prince Primate. He is the chief and privy chancellor of Hungary, and therefore keeper of the great seal of the kingdom. Formerly he was also a member of the supreme court, and in still earlier times, governor, viceroy, and First Count (Erbobergespan) of the County of Gran. To the primate also belonged the right to superintend the royal mint, and for this he received a certain sum out of its revenues (jus piseti). According to an ancient custom, he has the right of crowning the king and of anointing the queen. By a gift of archiepiscopal property he was at one time able to confer nobility (Pradialadel). The right to take an oath before a court of justice through his deputy, and not personally, was another privilege of the Primate of Hungary. The primate is also chief priest and chancellor of the Order of St. Stephen, established in 1764. As first banneret (baro regni) of Hungary, he is a member of the Upper House.


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