September 2, 2013 by lucieromarin
Magyarország is Hungary, and today is the feast of St Stephen of Hungary, who was not only the nation’s first Christian King, but also the man largely responsible for creating a lasting nation in the first place. So! Let’s forget burnout (again) and enjoy some Hungaro-factoids!
1) The medieval litanies used to include the line, ‘A sagittis Hungarorum, libera nos Domine,’ which is, ‘From the arrows of the Hungarians, deliver us, Lord!’ If you’re a trad Catholic, try chanting it as you’d chant the other petitions of the Great Litanies – it works! And it’s great. And we should bring it back!
2) You thought Latin was a tough language to crack, with those six or so case endings? Try learning Hungarian, which has somewhere in the realm of twenty case endings. They also practice something called ‘vowel harmony,’ which means that the vowel in the second half of the word should match the vowel in the first half, and this will change according to whether you’re using a ‘back’ or ‘front’ vowel. Linguists love it.
3) Almost all the Hungarian lay saints are royalty. The first non-royal is Blessed Sara Salkahazi, a Sister of Social Service who was executed by the Nazis for saving the lives of Jewish Hungarians during the Second World War. You can see her name inscribed on a plaque dedicated to Righteous Gentiles at Budapest’s Great Synagogue.
4) The glorious Black Madonna, who has been crowned Queen of Poland, did, in fact, arrive in Poland by way of Hungary. This, in Polish eyes, slightly makes up for the fact that St Stephen, (apparently) stole his crown from passing Polish royalty. (Seriously. They still get upset about it.)
5) Hungarian folk art is awesome. And Hungarians can do this:
I’d like to know what is the story behind that hat. Also awesome – Kate Seredy and her self-illustrated children’s literature set in Hungary – “the Good Master” and “The Singing Tree.”
Oh – thank you! I’ve heard of ‘The Good Master’ but I’ve never heard of ‘The Singing Tree’! I love new book-discoveries.
Give yourself a treat and read “The Singing Tree” as soon as you can. It’s a little masterwork.