Did you know that the Chapel of Our Lady of Hungary was dedicated on August 29 in 2015? As we observe this anniversary, we invite you to learn more about the sacred art and history of this chapel, and explore the space virtually.
History of the Chapel
In 2006, Péter Cardinal Erdő, Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest and President of the Hungarian Episcopal Conference, petitioned the Basilica to establish a chapel in honor of Our Lady of Hungary and Saint Stephen. That year was especially significant because it marked the 50th anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution and War of Independence. Thanks to the generosity of the Hungarian Catholic Bishops Conference, the Hungarian Government, and Hungarian-Americans, the Chapel of Our Lady of Hungary was built, becoming the Basilica’s second chapel to be funded by the support of a country outside the United States.
About the Art
All the marble and stone used for the altar, walls, and floor of the chapel is from Hungary and also pays homage to the nation in some fashion. The Hungarian Tardos marbled altar in the chapel is modeled after the main altar of the Basilica of Saint Stephen in Budapest, which is Hungary’s largest church. To the right of the entrance is a first-class relic of St. Stephen, King of Hungary (A.D. 977-1038) and the patron saint of Hungary. The focal point of the chapel is a mosaic of Our Lady of Hungary, surrounded by the Hungarian saints: (left) Blessed Gizela, Saints Elizabeth of Hungary, Gerard Sagredo; (right) Saints Emeric of Hungary, Margaret of Hungary, and Ladislaus, King of Hungary.
Incised in marble above the mosaic: is the text: Magyarok Nagyasszonya, könyörögj érettünk! The English translation of this text, “Our Lady of Hungary, Pray for us,” is on the opposite wall, above the door, and beneath it is the coat of arms of Hungary. The reliefs flanking either side of the chapel in Botticino marble depict significant events in the life of St. Stephen: his anointment as king (left) and his offering of his Crown to the Blessed Virgin on the day of his passing in August 1038 (right).
You can explore the Chapel of Our Lady of Hungary virtually below!
Our Lady of Hungary Prayer
The chapel features the following prayer:
“O God, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, you have given innumerable graces to our nation. Following the decree and tradition of our first King, Saint Stephen, we honor Mary, as our Queen and Patroness on earth. Grant that we may also have eternal joy with her in heaven. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”
The Basilica Guidebook, Dr. Geraldine Rohling
Light a Candle at the Basilica
In honor of Our Lady of Hungary, we invite you to light a candle today at the National Shrine. Vigil candles burn in the chapels throughout the Great Upper church and lower crypt level of the National Shrine. Each candle represents the faith of the supplicants and their fervent prayers entrusted to the loving intercession of the Blessed Mother.