World Complexity Science Academy



Edit Fabó1

1 Author affiliation: Research Fellow, Institute for Hungarian Studies, Budapest, Hungary

The paper was written at the Research Centre for History of the Institute for Hungarian Studies Institute within the framework of the Thematic Excellence Program (2020–4.1.1 – TKP2020) as part of the research entitled “The History of Memory in the Age of Dual Monarchy”.

Received: 12 / 07 / 2021

Accepted: 05 / 01 / 2022

DOI: 10.46473/WCSAJ27240606/04-05-2022-0003//full/html

Category: Research paper


The onset of globalization is rooted mainly in the imperial aspirations that define European culture. The former Hungarian kingdom in the middle of Europe was a dominant power in Central and Eastern Europe until the period of colonization. After that, its strength and greatness were heavily battered by the changes of history. The example of the founder of the state, St. Stephen, played an important role in the survival during the ordeals. His cult was made a national holiday by Maria Theresa in 1771, and after the Compromise of 1867, his memory was important even during the formation of today’s modern – multiethnic – Hungarian state. Then, following the Trianon decision, his spirituality flourished between the two world wars, and his legacy has been cherished more and more vigorously since the regime change. Hungary does not shy away from the challenges of globalization either, but the way of accession is influenced by the leadership’s vision of the future derived from the past. The task is formulated in a self-definition adapted to the situation of change. Hungarian research on the history of memory is a case study of how the values of local communities and localities fit into globality.

Keywords: Holy King, Statehood, Identity, History, Guideline, Locality, Globality 

1. Introduction 

The onset of globalization is rooted mainly in European culture, which is the common work of many different countries. However, the world-wide phenomenon carries a number of contradictions, the main reason for which is the diversity of cultures – and the interests and strategies that can be derived from it. In the typically universal, technical, and timeless globalization, the significance of space and time is lost (Barna, 2011, 13; Kovács, 2002, 7). There are two opposing endeavors in the tendency that need to be balanced. In one, the determining forces tend to unify in order to make the movements transparent, controllable, i.e., dominatable. In the other, the localities insist on their independence. Science is also looking for answers to the questions that arise in globalization (Rüsen, 2000, 214; Kovács, 2002, 7). According to one of the basic doctrines of systems science, a system is functional if it is multi-element, as well as if the excessively large networks and complex structures are vulnerable. Interdisciplinarity allows the conclusions drawn from the social processes experienced in history to be of guidance.

In the science of history, Paul Ricoeur (1999, 54), among others, gave more nuanced perspectives on the theoretical approaches to the history of memory in the second half of the 20th century. He argues that “the past is essentially embedded in the present” therefore, the research assumes locality as a unit analogous to globality: it turns to an example of the history of identity. The method that can be detected in it, as an empirically tested method with theoretical support (Rüsen, 2000, 214), can recommend the approach the predecessors had followed. The image of community or national identity is manifested in the form of inherited social memory. “Identity is in the space of transition between the past and the future … [and as such, intellectual performance] synthesizes the experiences of the past and expectations for the future into a comprehensive stream of time” (Rüsen, 2000, 203). And in everyday life, it means that “the practical goal of a community that clings onto its past is to organize and orient itself into a time frame and to preserve its identity in the face of the threatening disintegration to which more or less all communities feel exposed” (Carr, 1999, 78).  

The former Hungarian kingdom in the middle of Europe was a dominant power in Central and Eastern Europe until the period of colonization. Historical chronicles called most of the people living here Scythians, “Huns or Hungarians”. The composition of the population changed from time to time according to the settlement of other tribes, clans, ethnic groups. After that, its strength and greatness were heavily battered by the changes of history. The example of the founder of the state, St. Stephen, played an important role in the survival during the ordeals. The analysis traces the guiding principles that proved to be lasting at each stage or turning point of certain crises, and in which the memory of the founding ruler played a key role in the country’s decisions, in finding solutions – in its repeated self-definiton. 

The presentation consists of two major parts. The first, descriptive part follows the path of self-definition and presents the changes taking place in the major periods of the history of Hungarian statehood, and gives the expressions characteristic of the events. The second, evaluative part summarizes the role and priorities of identity.

2. The Path of Self-Definition

2.1. Determination of Fundamentals

The Frankish Empire grew into the Holy Roman Empire by the 10th century; Rome now “only” had a leading role in the Christian Church, and in the East the Byzantine Empire had great influence over the Slavic countries. The power relations in the Carpathian Basin were also waiting to be consolidated. 

The essence of the oeuvre of King (Saint) Stephen I (1000–1038) of the Árpád dinasty was that he organized the Christian Hungarian state from the tribal principality of the Carpathian Basin. The county system he developed lasted with some changes up until 1949, and the Catholic diocese system lasted up until 1993 with minor changes (Thoroczkay, 2002, 492). The thousand-year-old series of written laws of the country begins with his ordinances, and the ruler’s considerations (Admonitions) addressed to his son have become an eternal moral foundation, as for (conservative) historians, they emerge as points of reference when evaluating the performance of a ruler (or leader). As a result of his activities, “the new model of the state founder, legislator, church organizer, moral rex iustus manifests itself not only in the field of hagiography, but also in two very important new areas. Although this could not have been foreseen by Stephen, the authority of the holy king will be one of the main proponents of his first collection of laws – and vice versa: legislative activity adds a new, fundamental dimension to the holy king’s code of virtue. On the other hand, with the help of the Admonitions, the holy king, not only by example, by his actions and laws, but also on a theoretical level, participates in determining what the principles of the government of the Christian kingdom should be” (Klaniczay, 2002, 122). 

Committed to his faith, the strong-handed king summarized the driving forces of his actions in ten short chapters. In the first three thesis the primacy of religiosity was formulated, which was manifested in the exemplary preservation of the apostolic faith, in the protective appreciation of the church organization, and in the respect surrounding the high priests. The fourth pass highlighted the appreciation of the chiefs and valiant men. The fifth finding was about the fairness of judgment. The sixth suggested accommodating and assisting guests. The seventh thesis praised the role of a council of wise and respectable members. The eighth paragraph made it a prerequisite to follow the example of our predecessors and to keep our customs consistently. The ninth recommended regular prayer because of its cleansing and liberating power. The last, tenth thesis drew attention to piety, mercy, and the exercise of other virtues. Over time, perhaps the sixth and eighth of those listed have been cited the most. The former – being a country of many nationalities –, because the king also pointed out that the knowledge of the language and culture of others is a strong support for the power and the state. And the latter was referred to because they saw the key of continuity, of survival in the pursuit of following the predecessors. With the further provisions of St. Stephen, ie his laws, he completely reorganized the life of the state from the peak of power to the last small village, as – among others – he introduced coinage, paying taxes, settling the inheritance, and requiring every tenth village to build a church.

He succeeded in strengthening his power before 1000 with a papal blessing and coronation, and according to the legend that perpetuates the story, the Roman high priest responded as follows: “I am apostolic, but he is rightly an apostle of Christ if Christ has converted so many people through him. Therefore, we entrust to him, as divine grace teaches him, the administration of the churches and their peoples under both laws” (Hartvik, 1992). That is, the apostolic king could exercise his authority over both Roman and Byzantine Christianity in the country, establish ecclesiastical facilities, and appoint priestly dignitaries with subsequent papal countersignation without prior permission. His son, Prince Imre, his successor, was overtaken by fate: he became the victim of a hunting accident. 

The greatest tragedy of the life of the founder of the state was that he had to bury his own children, which is why he was unable to continue the birthright with which Stephen, who had broken the former custom, also took the throne. He fell ill with the family tragedy that also threatened the Kingdom of Hungary with insecurity, and this was the time he decided to place the country under the protection of the Virgin Mary. His determination gave him enough strength to make the offering to the Virgin Mother from his sickbed. After completing his last, great deed, he died on August 15, 1038, on Assumption Day. With this desperate move, the king raised the female quality of creation to a special place in Christian sacredness in Hungary. King Stephen was surrounded by miraculous events before his birth, then in his life and later in his death as well.

The reign of his successors was accompanied by power struggles around the throne, internal strife because of rebellious lords. (Saint) Ladislaus I succeeded in consolidating the state order organized by King Stephen I. To seal this, he was consecrated by Pope Gregory VII, along with his younger son, Prince Imre, and Bishop Gellert. The great founding king also became the main patron saint of Hungary. 

In contemporary Christian Europe, worship of the ruling sacraments was widespread, in which the church organizer, church founder, patron king both protected the state and the church, cared for those in need, and his decision was just and wise. They founded royal holy families, and their cult was the first form of the emergence of patriotism. Stephen I followed the German model in organizing the state administration, with which he established a close relationship, as his wife, Gizella, was also a Bavarian princess.

Later, Andrew II issued the Golden Bull in 1222 in the wake of internal dissatisfaction.  The first paragraph of the law evoked the memory of King (Saint) Stephen I as a basis for legitimacy and ordered its celebration. From the 14th century, the famous day was included in the Hungarian church holidays. 

Identity-basing keywords summarizing the above section of Hungarian history: St. Stephen, Christianity, statehood, laws, holiday.

2.2. Critical Times, the Reinforcement of the Fundamentals

2.2.1. The First Big Attack

Western European countries began colonization from the 16th century onwards: they conquered continents under the guise of spreading the Christian faith. While the Islamic threat from the East was not stopped, significant financial assistance was even provided to the expanding Ottoman Empire. 

The discovery of the New World changed Europe’s system of power, with which Hungary could no longer keep up, and the situation was aggravated by internal strife and Ottomans attacking from the South. During the Turkish rule, in the 16th–17th century, the country was divided into three parts: in the West, the Kingdom of Hungary came under Habsburg rule, in the East, the Principality of Transylvania remained, and the central area became part of the Ottoman Empire. Religious divisions also settled on the state of fragmentation: in the Western part of the country the Catholic Church became the leading figure by the 17th century, in Transylvania mainly the Reformed approach became widespread and in the area of occupation the Muslim faith became the main one. The country’s documents were either destroyed or scattered. 

The life path of St. Stephen outlined above has only been preserved by indirect sources and the thousand-faced historical traditions. However, especially in this hopeless situation, it was the figure of the great king and the privilege of the country-offering representing an independent state that could have been the unifying force. Until the Turkish conquest, the surviving written memories of the St. Stephen tradition are mainly limited to sources of law and legends. Contemporary (Christian denominational) religious debates saw the cause of the troubles in the adversary, yet in the final support of their arguments, albeit in a different light, they reached the roots of St. Stephen. 

The most influential cultivator of debate literature was Archbishop Péter Pázmány of Esztergom, who was prompted to write by Protestant preachers. The literature on denominational differences was published in the national language because of Protestant influence and to counteract it, and therefore created a broad need for the cultivation of the national language and culture. Anti-Turkishism and independence aspirations were common among contemporaries. Pázmány managed to extend the holiday of the Hungarian holy king to the entire Roman Catholic Church, but it was not put into effect until after the recapture of Buda in 1686. In order to promote the belated Vatican – and partly the Viennese court – process, he mentioned the independent (apostole) status of the Hungarian crown and the Hungarian king of Rome, which, however, he could only justify indirectly (Bene, 2002, 143–162). 

However, the archbishop of Esztergom had a great influence on the strengthening of the cult surrounding St. Stephen, and from that time onwards, the selection of the Hungarian nation in the New Testament, similarily to the Jews of the Biblical Old Testament, became emphasized, ie the sacrifice and mission of the defender of the faith (Szörényi, 1989, 210–211). The figure of the holy king was intertwined with the idea and desire of independent Hungarian statehood.

The range of identity-marking keywords specific to the era has expanded: St. Stephen, Christianity, statehood, laws, holiday, Hungarianness, the protection of Christianity and Europe.

2.2.2. Creating a Supervised Entity

Catholic renewal, the Counter-Reformation comes to an end when, under the leadership of the Habsburgs, the last Turkish battleships left the Carpathian Basin in the early 18th century, leaving a depopulated, uncultivated area behind. In the absence of a male offspring, a woman – Maria Theresa – ascended the throne of the Habsburgs, however, female succession was not accepted by all European states. With the end of the wars of inheritance, the Queen was able to see to consolidating the country and her power, in which the Holy King and the rights of the archbishop referred to by Peter Pázmány also played an important role. (Although on the Hungarian side, the legal tradition insisted on the need for free royal elections.) The special legal status meant that the crowned Hungarian king was able to appoint high priests, confer titles, and have a say in the affairs of the church. The origin of the law was attributed to St. Stephen, which, in the absence of a document, was enforced on the basis of legends and customary law. The re-emerged privilege was acknowledged by Pope Benedict XIV, and Pope Clement XIII again awarded the title of “apostolic” to the Hungarian queen. The fact that St. Stephen’s Day was declared a national holiday in 1771 contributed to the general acceptance of Maria Theresa in Hungary, as well as that the former ruler’s Holy Dexter was recovered from the Dalmatian Ragusa and the relic was placed in Buda. However, even before that, the Queen had established the most significant honor of the empire, the Order of St. Stephen of Hungary, which was given for the highest level of service to the public. Every year in the Capuchin Church in Vienna, the members of the order celebrated the day of their namesake: August 20.

Identity concepts specific to the period: St. Stephen, Christianity, statehood, laws, holiday, Hungarianness.

2.2.3. At the Gate of the Modern Age

The ideological flow and revolutionary thinking of “liberty, equality, fraternity” promoting the social and economic changes of the modern age has spread to Eastern Europe. The proclamation of the primacy of certain legal principles effectively questioned the legal order and system of state orders, and enabled the transformation of social and economic life. The conquering industrial economy had a huge demand for raw materials, so in addition to the colonies of Western capital, it also wanted to obtain Russian resources. The Napoleonic Wars launched for it did not affect Hungary as severely as the ones before. 

However, the ordeals until then had hindered the social and economic development of the country. The announcement of modernization intentions following the development of the model Western European states was the era of reform. The celebration of St. Stephen’s Day was expanded with the Holy Dexter Procession held in the Buda Castle during the Reform Era after 1810, in which from 1819, by decree of palatine Joseph – without sectarian discrimination – the leadership of the capital, members of parliament, the army, guilds and students had to participate in a certain order (Gábor, 1928, 33).

After the defeat of the War of Independence of 1848–1849, the celebration was banned during the Habsburg autocracy because it carried the idea of independence. The fears of the power were confirmed, as the 1860 celebration, which was allowed to be held after a long time, had clearly widened into a national movement. The introduction to the surviving contemporary event booklet remembered St. Stephen with passionate exaltation. The holy king was seen as a protector of the Christian faith and country. 

Identity-marking concepts specific to the period: St. Stephen, Christianity, statehood, laws, holiday, Hungarianness, liberty, retaliation.

2.2.4. In Times of Dual Monarchy

The Prussian-Austrian-Italian war of 1866, which settled the conflict of power within Europe, was lost by the Austrian Empire, which forced the emperor to negotiate a compromise with the Hungarians (1867). However, during the time of dualism, St. Stephen’s Day was celebrated year after year, which was generally considered a national holiday by everyone. The Habsburg monarchy was an important part of making the great day a national holiday, yet after the unrestricted ruling power, absolutism, that followed the defeat of the War of Independence in 1848–1849, the press only gradually accepted the celebration schedule of the Kingdom of Hungary, which formed an alliance with the Austrian Empire. Contemporary newspapers reported on the national event in increasing numbers every year, with articles covering St. Stephen’s Days in the countryside and abroad. The day became a public holiday in 1891, and from 1895 the coat of arms had to be hoisted on public buildings.

The Procession of the Holy Dexter was accompanied by widespread interest, masses came to the capital. The people of the countryside could travel to Budapest with discounted train tickets. The ceremony began early in the morning and ended before noon. At the end of the ceremony, those who appeared at the festival dispersed to the many places of interest and excursions that provided attractions, amusements and recreation. They were already waiting for the guests in Buda and Pest, where Margaret Island and the City Park were popular destinations. Horse racing was included in the programs that attracted an audience from 1881 onwards. 

The esteemed bishop of the first half of the era, Arnold Ipolyi, still dealt with both the memory preserved in folk tradition and the image of the past provided by historical sources. His resolution as a historian, presented at a meeting of the Hungarian Historical Society in 1876, was received with the unanimous approval of the pro-government and opposition press. The bishop supported the idea of national political unity and national unity. He placed great emphasis on historiography and culture.

Identity-marking concepts specific to the period: St. Stephen, Christianity, statehood, laws, holiday, Hungarianness.

2.2.5. Independently, Mutilated

One of the stages in the struggle of the great powers for the redistribution of the world was World War I, during which the figure of St. Stephen also came to light, as a battleship was named after him. Two big turns happened in Hungary. In the first, at the end of the war, the communist leadership, which suddenly came to power for a short period of time, had enforced the measures of the socialist ideals by dictatorial means. The radical steps were to fundamentally reorganize society, to ban churches, and to try to override patriotic commitment with the idea of a world proletariat. The dictatorship gradually lost its support and soon failed. The second trauma was the detachment of two-thirds of the country’s territory. 

However, after the Trianon decision to end the war, the work and example of the great king, who forged unity even in loss, became especially emphasized, in whom they saw the preservation of an independent country, even if truncated to one-third. The hope of remedying injustice was found in prayer and in the spirit of the great king. In expressing spiritual and cultural togetherness with those who remained in the breakaway areas, religious and political views became blurred, with the following being frequently said: “I believe in a God, / I believe in a country, / I believe in a divine eternal truth, / I belive in the resurrection of Hungary! Amen” (Zeidler, 2002, 81). The festive events on August 20 included the display of national defense and folk traditions. 

On the 900th anniversary of Saint Stephen’s death, in 1938, the World Eucharistic Congress was held in Budapest. The “image of the holy king has lost much of its original, religious content by this time, it has rather become a symbol of the millennial standing of the Hungarians, their unchanging and heroic struggle against the danger appearing in the East” (Sinkó, 2002, 181). The form of state remained a kingdom, the supreme dignity of public law was the governor, and an electoral parliamentary democracy operated. Governments have made cultural developments that have affected the whole century, encompassing the entire education system and public education. The country was capable of prosperous economic performance.

The notions of identity describing and characterizing the era: Saint Stephen, Christianity, statehood, laws, holiday, Hungarianness, deprivation, justice.

2.2.6. In Supervised Autonomy

After World War II, under the supervision of the Soviet sphere of interest, the celebration of the holiday changed. The once-rejected Communist dictatorship, whose rejection was very clear, returned. The resistance led to the 1956 revolution, which, like the War of Independence of 1848–1849, could also be defeated with foreign aid. The rigor of state leadership has eased from the 1960s onwards. 

The Procession of the Holy Dexter was tolerated as a church event until 1947, then it was banned. The communist state order proclaiming universal materialism exiled religion and the national idea. August 20 proved the legitimacy and continuity of power, so it was first considered the Feast of the New Bread, reflecting the performance of the working people and the rural peasantry, then the founding day of the state under the new Socialist Constitution, and later the holiday of the Constitution and the People’s Republic. From the second half of the period, the sights and entertainment of the festive programs became more emphasized. From the oeuvre of King Stephen, the founding of the state and the ability to change were highlighted. Initially, the ideology proclaiming the primacy of internationality tolerated the mention of Hungarianness for the sake of historical factuality.

During the era, the usual characterizing keywords of identity declined: Saint Stephen, statehood, laws, holiday, Hungarianness, independence.

2.2.7. In Autonomous Democracy

The regime change (1989–1991) gave way to the pre-1945 holiday schedule along with its religious and national contents. The Procession of the Holy Dexter was held again on August 20th and the public holiday once again stood for the Democratic Republic. King Stephen I was also accepted as a saint by the Orthodox Christian Church in 2000. The first theorem of the introductory, ideological self-determination of the Hungarian Constitution, adopted in 2011, highlighted the foundations of St. Stephen and the legacy of Christianity. Most recently, in a way reminiscent of Turkish times, masses of migrants reached the country’s border.

The notions of identity describing and characterizing the era: St. Stephen, Christianity, statehood, laws, holiday, Hungarianness, the protection of Christianity and Europe.

3. Self-Definition is a Guideline

The tradition and work of the founder of the state, Saint Stephen, can be seen to varying degrees throughout the history of the last thousand years in Hungary. Most of the keywords that characterize memory can be regarded as constant, from which the leading thinkers and politicians of the given age singled out a motif, or which grew with a task corresponding to the need. The existence of tradition means historical continuity (Gyáni, 2002, 575). The creation of memory is a collective activity, it is maintained and operated in an organized (church) framework, which  influences the place of remembrance, its symbolism, its ritual, its sets of concepts (Gyáni, 2000, 81–84). Articles published in the typical mass product of the modern age, the press, already document the way of remembering in the ranks of sources written for the general public. The analysis of the past unleashes the “unfulfilled promises that have been held back and rebuffed in historical circles, so that the people, nations, cultural unions of all ages can work out the open and lively meaning of their own traditions. In addition, the incompleteness of the past, for its part, can once again feed the high expectations that turn historical consciousness back to the future” (Ricoeur, 1999, 63).

From a broader perspective, it is now a scientific commonplace that the way people think is influenced by the logic of languages. The history and origins of the Hungarian language are still the subject of renewed controversy, however, it is not a question that, even if it has undergone changes, it bears witness to relative permanence; as even if it is the work of a 16th century writer (Gáspár Heltai) or a poet (Bálint Balassi) or the earliest 12th century cohesive text (Funeral Sermon and Prayer) we can still understand them today. It is also an accepted standpoint that pre-Christian religion may have resembled Christian doctrines in its main features, since terms related to faith are peculiar and not adopted. The cult of the female deity or mother goddess may have been more powerful, which continued to live on in the honor of the Virgin Mary, and this continuity was supported by King Stephen I’s offer of the land. The holy king’s very different practice as head of state and the spiritual, moral guidance necessary for it created a canon that has survived almost intact and is still valid today. The canon is usually formed when breaking traditions, “as a result of which everyone strives for justice, fairness, beauty, openness, community and love, the concept of canon includes a value perspective that transcends… [the different] systems of preference. The identity-creating category of belonging also plays an important role here. The sacred set of texts, rules  and values establishes and shapes a (collective) identity. […] This way, the canon transforms from a neutral orientation tool into a survival strategy for cultural identity.” (Assmann, 2018, 128–129) The canon is the basis of collective identity and the main guarantee of its permanence. The most important recurring key concepts of the Carpathian Basin community’s self-definition are: St. Stephen, Christianity, statehood, laws, holiday, Hungarianness.

The central dogma that sets Christianity apart from others is the exercise of love, the community of love, that is, understanding and helping empathy, through which moral conditions can be fulfilled. The task of religions (beliefs) is, among other things, to keep a man as a moral being, but the direction, purpose, and soil of morality vary from religion to religion. The community of the Carpathian Basin voted in favour of Christianity, which was insisted on and defended throughout history. In Turkish times, it meant help and strength not only for survival, but also in self-defense positions. St. Stephen’s legacy once again played a leading role in the re-strengthening of the Catholic Church.

After the Compromise of 1867, several processes began in Hungary, which created more and more separate social strata and groups. Urbanization began to intensify, leading to a sharp separation between (large) urban and rural lifestyles and values by the early 20th century. Festive worship was also held in the countryside, where deeper-embedded religiosity and folk tradition (rooted in pre-Christian times) were more closely intertwined. The everyday contact of the people living there was much closer to nature than that of the townspeople. Therefore, on the glorious day of the holy king, the priest gave a blessing to the crop, the bread made of wheat sown in the year (also called life in Hungarian), the new house, the animals, and the rest, that is, everything that was important to the believers. Folk customs continued to live in shreds in the urban environment, but were dominant in the countryside for a long time. It was also at this time that the aspirations of the nationalities for independence began to emerge, who no longer clearly shared the celebration of Hungarian statehood and sought a different interpretation of history and source of law than the Hungarian one. Even today’s scholarship has set its foot during this time with its increasingly specialized disciplines. Like historical science exploring the past, which relies on written sources for the sake of truth and objectivity beyond a shadow of a doubt. Most of the documents sought are in an urban setting, which also influences the perspective of various aspects, and the wider public is also more sensitive to its questions. However, what is interesting is that the results of ethnography, which also examines the heritage of old times, are pushed into the background in the public consciousness. The historical reconstruction(s) is permeated by questions of the validity and legitimacy of power, but at the same time the distancing between the image of rural heritage discussed in folk tradition and the explanation of the past presented to urban – ie modern – society in historical science begins. The perception of the continuity of history is impaired, and today, according to historical science, modern national memory “rests on fragile foundations” (Gyáni, 2002, 569).

The view of the history of Hungary in the 19th, and the beginning of the 20th century was determined by the 1000th anniversary of the Conquest, therefore the representation and the proving of legal continuity was extremely important for the leaders of the then modern society. The historizing pictorial representations make it clear, among other things, that Franz Joseph is an equal descendant of the founding Grand Prince Árpád, a descendant of the legendary Hun king Attila (Sinkó, 2002, 179). In contrast to idealizing artistic historization, historians who relied primarily on written documents have increasingly criticized or questioned credibility, and given novel assessments, justifications, or refutations by analyzing the background and individual motivations of events with the exactities of the natural sciences. As a result of modern liberal state development, by 1895 the Catholic Church separated from the Hungarian administration; the clergy’s authority, the religious view gradually lost its influence, giving way to the materialist spirit. However, patriotic legacy stories that supported national existence, myths, cults, heroic ideas and examples, rooted in the distant past (whether written or spoken) were alive in the minds of the citizens of a partially independent Hungarian state. Although the “collective memory” introduced by Maurice Halbwachs is corrected and supplemented by historians, it has happened that when a historian’s judgment over-destroyed the existing image, it provoked general outrage and rejection.  

The cult of St. Stephen was threatened by the materialist communist dictatorship of the post-World War I Soviet Republic, but it was met with widespread resistance and failed before it could unfold. In the hope of reunification, the mutilated Hungary placed greater emphasis on the cultural display of the foundations and frameworks of St. Stephen. In the communist system after 1945, the religious nature of the tradition was relegated to the background, they rather emphasized the customs of folk tradition (see the Fest of New Bread) and the historical and political significance of the oeuvre was carried forward. 

After the regime change, Saint Stephen’s traditions were revived in their entirety, in spite of or precisely because of the anti-religion of the past almost half a century. The figure of the great king shows not only a heroic example of consistent persistence to the ideology, but also the moral pattern that kept him in his commitment, and the country in times of change. According to the common identification with the values and strategy of the former ruler (ie togetherness) and self-determination, and the order of tasks reflected in it, Hungary is a Hungarian-majority nation-state, which is a functioning cultural community with historically proven experience. The order of the movements followed the general pattern of celebrations, that is, the ceremony of idealized values, of reverent sacrifice for them, closed by much more relaxed, cheerful social events.

4. Conclusions – Connection

As a member of the European Union, and within that, as one of the key countries in Central Europe, Hungary is in a position to forge a closer alliance with the neighboring states along common cultural, historical values and economic interests in order to function more effectively. And in the global space of the third millennium, it emerges as a local unit in which the measure is the man, the human community, and in collaboration with other localities it can serve as a model for the greatest challenges of globalization: sustainable development, environmental and climate protection, migration or pandemic.The body of the paper will be written using Times New Roman font type, 12 point, alignment: justify, line spacing: 1, paragraph spacing: 6 pt before and after each paragraph. An empty row will be introduced before every subtitle. All subtitles will be numbered.

The introduction familiarizes the reader with the context of the paper. It must reflect, briefly, current research in the field and order approach presented in the article.


Assmann, J. (2018). A kulturális emlékezet. Írás, emlékezés és a politikai identitás a korai magaskultúrákban. [Das kulturelle Gedächtnis Gedächtnis / Cultural Memory. Writing, Remembrance, and Political Identity in Early High Cultures.] Atlantisz Kiadó, Budapest, C. H. Beck, München. 

Barna G. (2011). “Népi kultúra – nemzeti kultúra – nemzeti identitás. A népi kultúra szerepe a a nemzeti kultúra és a magyar identitás megőrzésében [Folk Culture – National Culture – National Identity. The Role of Folk Culture in the Preservation of National Culture and Hungarian Identity]”, in Jankovics J. and Nyerges J. (Eds.), Kultúra, nemzet, identitás. A VI. Nemzetközi Hungarológiai Kongresszuson (Debrecen, 2006. augusztus 23–26.) elhangzott előadások. [Culture, Nation, Identity. Lectures given at the 4th International Congress of Hungarology (Debrecen, 23-26 August 2006).] Budapest: Nemzetközi Magyarságtudományi Társaság, pp. 7–18.

Bene S. (2002). “A Szilveszter-bulla nyomában. Pázmány Péter és a Szent István-hagyomány 17. századi fordulópontja [In the Footsteps of the Pope Silvester’s Bull. Peter Pázmány and the Turning Point of the Saint Stephen-tradition in the 17th Century]” Veszprémy L. (Ed.), Szent István és az államalapítás. [St. Stephen and the Founding of the State.] Budapest: Osiris Kiadó, pp. 143–162.

Carr, D. (1999). “A történelem realitása [The Reality of History]” Thomka B. (Ed.), Narratívák. 3. A kultúra narratívái. [Narratives. 3. The Narratives of Culture.] Kijárat Kiadó, Budapest, pp. 69–84.

Gábor Gy. (1928). Szent István-nap ünnep története. [The History of Celebration of Saint Stephen’s Day.] Franklin, Budapest.

Gyáni G. (2000). Emlékezés, emlékezet és a történelem elbeszélése. [Remembrance, Memory and Telling History.] Napvilág Kiadó, Budapest.

Gyáni G. (2002). “Kommemoratív emlékezet és történelmi igazolás [Commemorative Memory and Historical Justification]” Veszprémy L. (Ed.), Szent István és az államalapítás. (St. Stephen and the Founding of the State.) Osiris Kiadó, Budapest, pp. 569–581.

Halbwachs, M. (2018). Az emlékezet társadalmi keretei. [Les cadres sociaux de la mémoire. / Frames of Social Memory.] Atlantisz Kiadó, Budapest 

Hartvik. (1992). Szent István király legendája. [The legend of King St. Stephen.] In Tarnai A., (Ed.), Szöveggyűjtemény a régi magyar irodalom történetéhez. Középkor, 1000–1530. [A Collection of Texts for the History of Old Hungarian Literature. Middle Ages, 1000–1530.] Tankönyvkiadó. Budapest. (accessed 20 March 2020).

Hobsbawm, E. (2004). A birodalmak kora. [The Age of Empire.] Pannonica, Budapest. 

Huizinga, J. 1996. A középkor alkonya. [Herfsttij der middeleeuwen. / The Twilight of the Middle Ages.] Európa Kiadó, Budapest. 

Karsai G. (1938). “Szent István tisztelete [Reverence of Saint Stephen]” Serédi J. (Ed.), Emlékkönyv Szent István király halálának kilencszázadik évfordulóján. 3. (Memorial Book on the 900th Anniversary of the Death of King St. Stephen. 3.) Magyar Tudományos Akadémia, Budapest, pp. 155–256.

Kecskeméti K. (2011). “A  magyar történelem megértésének kulcsszava: a pluralizmus [The Keyword of Understanding Hungarian History is Pluralism]”, in Jankovics J. and Nyerges J. (Eds.), Kultúra, nemzet, identitás. A VI. Nemzetközi  Hungarológiai  Kongresszuson (Debrecen, 2006. augusztus 23–26.) elhangzott előadások. [Culture, Nation, Identity. Lectures given at the 4th International Congress of Hungarology (Debrecen, 23-26 August 2006).] Nemzetközi Magyarságtudományi Társaság, Budapest, pp. 19–33. 

Klaniczay G. (2002). “Rex iustus – a keresztény királyság szent megalapítója [Rex iustus – the Holy Founder of the Christian Kingdom]” Veszprémy L. (Ed.), Szent István és az államalapítás. [St. Stephen and the Founding of the State.] Osiris Kiadó, Budapest, pp. 107–129.

Kovács É. (2002). “Identitás és etnicitás Kelet-Közép-Európában [Identity and Ethnicity in Central and Eastern Europe]” Fedinec Cs. (Ed.), Társadalmi önismereret és nemzeti önazonosság Közép-Európában. [Social Self-Awereness and National Identity in Central Europe.] Teleki László Alapítvány, Budapest, pp. 7–22.

László J. (2003). “Történelem, elbeszélés, identitás [History, Narration, Identity]” Magyar Tudomány. [Hungarian Science.] 108, no. 1, pp. 48–57. 

Maritain, J. (2014). “A teljes humanizmus és a modern idők válsága [Integral Humanism and the Crisis Modern Times]” McAdams, A. J. (Ed.). A modernitás válsága. [The Crisis of Modernity.] Századvég Kiadó, Budapest, pp. 53–72. 

Pasture, P. (2018). “The Invention of European Human Rights” History. 103, no. 356, pp. 485–504. 

Ricoeur, P. (1999). “Emlékezet – felejtés – történelem [Gedächtnis – Vergessen – Geschichte / Memory, History, Forgetting]” Thomka B. (Ed.), Narratívák. 3. A kultúra narratívái. [Narratives. 3. The Narratives of Culture.] Kijárat Kiadó, Budapest, pp. 51–67.

Rüsen, J. (2000). “Történeti gondolkodás a kultúraközi diskurzusban [Einleitung; Geschictsdenken in interkulturellen Diskurs / Historical Thinking in Intercultural Discourse]” Thomka B. (Ed.), Narratívák. 4. A történelem poétikája. [Narratives. 4. The Poetics of History.]. Kijárat Kiadó, Budapest, pp. 203–214.

Schöpflin Gy. (2004). Az identitás dilemmái. Kultúra, állam, globalizáció. [The Dilemmas of Identity: Culture, State and Globalisation.] Attraktor Kiadó, Máriabesnyő–Gödöllő. 

Sinkó K. (2002). “A modern nemzetek és képük a múltról. Az ezredforduló a 19. és 20. század magyarországi művészetében [Modern Nations and Their Image of the Past. The Turn of the Millennium in the Hungarian Art of the 19th and 20th Centuries]” Veszprémy L. (Ed.), Szent István és az államalapítás. [St. Stephen and the Founding of the State.] Osiris Kiadó, Budapest, pp. 173–183.

Smith, A. D. (2000). “A nacionalizmus és a történészek [Nationalism and the Historians]” Regio. 11, no. 2, 5–33. 

Spengler, O. (1994). A Nyugat alkonya. A világtörténelem morfológiájának körvonalai. [Der Untergang des Abendlandes. / Decline of the West. Outlines of the Morphology of World History.] Európa Kiadó, Budapest. 

Szekfű Gy. (1938). “Szent István a magyar történet századaiban [Saint Stephen in the Centuries of Hungarian History]” Serédi J. (Ed.), Emlékkönyv Szent István király halálának kilencszázadik évfordulóján. 3. [Memorial Book on the 900th Anniversary of the Death of King St. Stephen. 3.] Magyar Tudományos Akadémia, Budapest, pp. 1–80.

Szörényi L. (1989). „Multaddal valamit kezdeni.” Tanulmányok. [“Doing Something with Your Past.” Studies.] Magvető Kiadó, Budapest.

Thoroczkay G. (2002). Szent István egyházmegyéi – Szent István püspökei. [Dioceses of Saint Stephen – Bishops of Saint Stephen.] In Veszprémy L. (Ed.), Szent István és az államalapítás. [St. Stephen and the Founding of the State.]  Osiris Kiadó, Budapest. 

White, H. (1997). A történelem terhe. [The Burden of History.] Osiris Kiadó, Budapest. 

Zeidler M. (2002). “Irredentism in Everyday Life in Hungary during the Inter-war Period” Regio. [Region]. 5, no. 1, pp. 71–88.

Zsoldos A. (2002). Szent István vármegyéi. [Counties of Saint Stephen.] In Veszprémy L. (Ed.), Szent István és az államalapítás. [St. Stephen and the Founding of the State.] Osiris Kiadó, Budapest. 


World Complexity Science Academy Journal
a peer-reviewed open-access quarterly published
by the World Complexity Science Academy
Address: Via del Genio 7, 40135, Bologna, Italy
For inquiries, contact: Dr. Massimiliano Ruzzeddu, Editor in Chief
World complexity science Academy journal
ISSN online: 2724-0606


Copyright© 2020 – WCSA Journal WCSA Journal by World Complexity Science Academy is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.