Stephen I of Hungary
Stephen I, also known as King Saint Stephen, was the last Grand Prince of the Hungarians between 997 and 1000 or 1001. He was the first member of his family to become a devout Christian. Stephen established at least one archbishopric, six bishoprics and three Benedictine monasteries. He is considered to be the first King of Hungary and one of the most influential monarchs of the 11th century. He died in 1038 and is buried in a basilica built in Székesférván, Hungary.
About Stephen I of Hungary in brief
Stephen I, also known as King Saint Stephen, was the last Grand Prince of the Hungarians between 997 and 1000 or 1001. He was the first member of his family to become a devout Christian. After succeeding his father in 997, Stephen had to fight for the throne against his relative, Koppány, who was supported by large numbers of pagan warriors. Stephen established at least one archbishopric, six bishoprics and three Benedictine monasteries, leading the Church in Hungary to develop independently from the archbishops of the Holy Roman Empire. He survived all of his children, dying on 15 August 1038, and was buried in his new basilica, built in Székesfehérvár and dedicated to the Holy Virgin. His death was followed by civil wars which lasted for decades. Stephen is a popular saint in Hungary and the neighboring territories. In Hungary, his feast day is also a public holiday commemorating the foundation of the state, known as State Foundation Day. The year of his birth is uncertain, but many details of his life suggest that he was born in, or after, 975, in Esztergom. Stephen’s birth date is uncertain as it was not recorded in contemporaneous documents. Hungarian and Polish chronicles written centuries later give three different years: 967, 969 and 975. He protected the independence of his kingdom by forcing the invading troops of Conrad II, Holy Roman Emperor, to withdraw from Hungary in 1030.
Stephen was canonized by Pope Gregory VII, together with his son, Emeric, and Bishop Gerard of Csanád, in 1083. His son’s Greater Legend and the nearly contemporaneous Thietmar of Merseburg described Géza as a cruel monarch, suggesting he was a despot who mercilessly consolidated his authority over the rebellious Hungarian lords. In contrast with this, all Hungarian sources, including the Polish-Hungarian Chronicle and later Polish sources, accept that Stephen’s mother was Adelzko I of Mieszko, an unknown sister of Duke Miescozko of Poland, but it is not accepted by all. In all all reports, Stephen’s father was baptized in the Byzantine capital of Constantinople, according to John Skylitzes. Many historians—including Engel and Gyula propose that her father was identical with Pál Kristó—propose that her father, who had been baptized in Constantinople around 952 and had been converted to Christianity. The date of his baptism is unknown, but Stephen’s Lesser Legend adds that he is believed to have been born after 972 because his father, Gézea, chose EsZtergom as royal residence around that year. He died in 1038 and is buried in a basilica built in Székesférván, Hungary. He is considered to be the first King of Hungary and one of the most influential monarchs of the 11th century.