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The Role of the Byzantine Church in Medieval Hungary Author(s): Gyula Moravcsik Source: American Slavic and East

European Review, Vol. 6, No. 3/4 (Dec., 1947), pp. 134-151 Published by: Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies Stable URL: . Accessed: 19/08/2011 06:54
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records,the first ACCORDING TO the evidencefoundin historical of the ByzantineChristianmission had reached the influences of present whiletheywere Hungary Magyarspriorto theconquest stillon theshoresof theBlack Sea. As I have provedin detailin an of that, whentheytookpossession we mustsurmise treatise, earlier a with them had brought the people Magyar theirpresentland, of knowledge Christianity.' in preparwas notthesole factor mission However,theByzantine their for of new faith. This acceptacceptance the ingtheMagyars of the traditions also by the earlierChristian ance was influenced times Roman From becametheir country. ultimately new landwhich in increasing relicsof whichare beingexcavated Christian (ancient oftheMagyars, had existed to theappearance Christianity numbers) not eventhose in In fact, territory. interruption Hungarian without of Peoples in there thecourseof theMigration whichdrifted tribes reached This influence could avoid fallingunder its influence.2 of East and overthegreat watershed extending territory, Hungarian This two directions: from Rome and from Byzantium. West, from it followed thePannonian was ofRoman pattern, though Christianity, thefall After butlaterit was marked influence. by Byzantine origin, into the RomanEmpire,the Hungarian land came of the Western the eighth culture and politics, butby theend of orbitof Byzantine influences. thesphere Western it was againwithin of strong century setoutfrom ofCyrilandMethodius themission In theninth century towardRome, and in so doing it openedthe gates to Byzantium Western Christianity. of theAvar tribes, theconquering Magyars Alongwithfractions These of present Hungary. found Bulgarsand Slavs on theterritory of of theorigins from theviewpoint deservespecialattention groups In reference to the Avars, archaeological HungarianChristianity. was notunknown showsthat Christianity Byzantine clearly material centuries a hostof of theseventh In Avar tombs and eighth to them. amongwhich the symbols, recordswas foundshowingChristian of theninth crosswas notuncommon.3 Aboutthemiddle Byzantine
1 "ByzantineChristianity Slavic and the Magyars in the MigrationPeriod," American 29-45. (i946), and East EuropeanReview, V, Nos. I 4-I 2 See L. Nagy, "Pannonia Sacra," Jubilee Volumein Memory of King St. Stephen (Budapest, 1938), I, 29-148 (in Hungarian). und das Christentum 3 See G. Laszlo, "Die Reiternomaden der Vblkerwanderungszeit 125-146.

LIX (1940), Zeitschrift furKirchengeschichte, in Ungarn," '34

The Byzantine Church in Medieval Hungary


century(864) the Bulgars embracedChristianity, thoughit had spreadamongthemmuchearlier,and underPrinceBoris Michael theyextended theirsupremacy over theregioneast of theDanube. The Christianity fostered by Methodiusamongthe Slavs of Pannonia observedthe Westernritual,although the Greek monk of Thessalonica, as is generally known,succeeded in obtaining certain concessions from theHoly See in liturgical matters.4 At the end of the ninthcentury when theyoccupiedtheirnew land, the Magyars foundwidespread tracesof Christianity there. While thewestern Pannonian to theecclesiastical territory belonged ofRome,on theterritories jurisdiction eastand south of theDanube the traditions of Byzantine Christianity were keptalive. Since the Magyarshad brought withthemremnants of Christianity from the Black Sea region,it is smallwonderthatit shouldhave been the form of Christianity Byzantine whichstruck rootamongthemand that the firstHungarianecclesiasticalorganization followedthe Byzantine pattern.5 The necessity fora change ofcountry bytheAMagyars was a direct of the policy of the Byzantine consequence court.Owing to their in the Bulgar-Byzantine participation war (894-6) on the side of Byzantium, Symeon,a Bulgar prince,set easternneighbors, the Patzinaks,againstthe Magyars. These ransackedtheirencampments;thustheMagyarswere compelled to seek a new country in theCarpathian basin.6 forcenturies Hungary's hadbelonged territory to the Byzantine sphereof interest. The Magyars settling here,if forno otherreasonthanfor the geographical location,came into closer contactwiththe Byzantine into territory of which Empire, in thecourseof thetenth theymade severalinroads Their century. hosts frequently reachedthe very walls of Constantinople. The of theseattacks memory has beenkeptalive by thestirring legends of Chieftain Botondin Hungarian In thecourseof these chronicles.7 incursions fellintoByzantine manyHungarians and after captivity, thepeace treaty of 943 high-born werekeptas hostages Hungarians in Constantinople. All thisenabledthe Magyarsto becomeclosely
4 See F. Dvornik,Les Slaves,Byzances etRomeau IXe sicle (Paris, 1926), pp. 147-183; Les Legendes de Constantin et de Mt'thode vuesde Byzance(Prague, I9 3 3), pp. 2 I 2-28 3; P. Va'czy,Jubilee Volume in Memoryof King St. Stephen(Budapest, I938), I, 213-265 (in Hungarian). 5 The resultsof my investigations were publishedin Hungariansome years ago in the Jubilee Volume in Memory of King St. Stephen, I, 387-422. 6 See G. Moravcsik,Byzantinoturcica (Budapest, 1942), I, 58-59; F. Dolger, Archivum

Europae Centro-Orientalis, VI (1942),

144, 254.

7 See Scriptores rerum Hungaricarum (Budapest, 19 37-38)., I, 87, 171, 3 IO; II, 65-66,




acquaintedwith Byzantine Thus it is not surprising Christianity. thatin thetombof a conquering Magyarwas found a silverbutton Greek inscription on whicha Christian appears: + K(yri)e boethc E(o)an(n)e ame(n). Hungarianambassadorshad visited the imperialcourtmorethanonce,and on theseoccasionsmembers of the and Hungarian royal family chieftains were also numbered among the guests.Such visitsof "barbarian" princesand chieftains at the withtheirconversion courtwere usuallyconnected to Christianity. records have preserved of suchvisits. detailed accounts Byzantine in the eleventh Such an accountwas recorded century by John but theoriginal Greek textof his workhas not yet been Scylitzes, In place ofthis, is thechronicle published. there however, of George who copiedliterally thosesections from Cedrenus, Scylitzeswhich to us.8In thetwelfth are of interest Zenarasalso drew century John we findthe narrative fromScylitzes.In his chronicle in synoptic Our records revealthata Hungarian form.9 calledBulcsu, chieftain, who is also known visited through Hungarian theByzantine sources, courtand embraced He had beenlifted imperial out of Christianity. fontby the EmperorConstantine the baptismal himself;in other Bulcsu was honoredwiththe words,the Emperorwas godfather. rankof "patrician"and was presented withlavishgifts beforereto hisown country. Not muchlateranother turning chieftain ofnote, in the imperial Gyula, arrived city.He also was baptizedand had honorsand giftsbestowedupon him by the Emperor.At his departure, Gyula took back withhima monkby thenameof HierowhomTheophylact consecrated as Bishopof Turkia(Hungatheus, ry) andwhosubsequently developed great missionary activity. Gyula faithand stoppedlaunching was genuinely loyal to his Christian theByzantine attacks against Empire;he evenhad Byzantine prisoners set free.On the otherhand,Bulcsu,whose conversion was a brokeintotheByzantine meresham, repeatedly territory. ofthisreport has beencalledintoquestion The authority by some, thatthe work of Scylitzeswas written on the grounds about one later thanthe actual occurrence of the eventsmentioned. century lacks foundation. This hypothesis, We knowfrom however, reliable sourcesthatScylitzesdrew his textfrom the age of contemporary VII Porphyrogenitus.'0 The authenticity Constantine of thereport of
8 Cedrenus, ed. Bonn, P. 328. For the criticaleditionof the text see G. Moravcsik, in Memoryof King St. Stephen, I, 392. JubileeVolume 9 Zonaras,ed. Bonn, III, 484. 10 See M. Sjuzjumov, Vizantijskoe Obozrenie(i9i6), II, io6-i66; Moravcsik, Byzantinoturcica, I, I90, 192.

Hungary in Medieval Church The Byzantine


of the singlepartsand comScylitzesis borneout by examination who apPorphyrogenitus, parisonwithothersources.Constantine Bulcsu's in one of his own worksmentions pears in the narrative, him addingthatthe personaccompanying visit to Constantinople, calls author of PrinceArpid, whomthe imperial was the grandson who paid this it was the Emperorhimself philos." Undoubtedly, Fromthis prince.12 witha friendly to theHungarian attribute tribute in Conconcludethathe too acceptedChristianity againwe might as Bishopof Hierotheus who consecrated Theophylact, stantinople. RomanusI is well known.He was the son of Emperor Hungary, from of Constantinople Lecapenusand bore the titleof Patriarch thefactthatBulcsufellintothehandsofKing 933 to 956.13 Finally, nearAugsburg, on AugustIO, 955, in thebattle Otto I of Germany records.'4 Hungarian is also clearfrom after, shortly andwas hanged ofthetwovisits. we gaina clewto thedates On thebasisofthesefacts between 948-49 was written SincetheworkofEmperor Constantine tookplace at thetime evidently and95I-52,15 andsinceBulcsu's-visit thecoronation RomanusII, whichoccurred of theyoung eventafter of948, thetwovisitsmaybe placedabout948. All the in thespring weretypically chieftains detailsofthebaptism ofthetwoHungarian as godfigured At thebaptismal theEmperor ceremony, B3yzantine. of theScylitzesmanuas we see from one of theminiatures father, therankof chiefs received in Madrid.16The genteel Hungarian script congifts. Gyula, loyal to the agreement "patrician" and generous interests Byzantine on theoccasionofthebaptism, represented cluded could of parallels in his own country. a number In addition to these, recur in thesame be drawn from as thesefeatures records, Byzantine of "barbaric" chiefsand of conversions way in all descriptions

the reported Scylitzes ofConstantine's reign (945-59),andbecause


had greatsignifichieftains The conversion of thetwo Hungarian The and of Hungary. of Byzantium theviewpoint cance,bothfrom namely, to keepthe had notonlyone objective, courtof Byzantium sourceof were a constant Magyarsin check,fortheirincursions against toplaythem tradition, butalso,according to Byzantine terror, other to alignthestillpaganMagyarswith peoplesand,in addition,
De administrando ed. Bonn,p. 175. imperio, See F. Dolger, Historisches Jahrbuch p. 400. (1940), 13 Les Regestes desactes du patriarcat de Constantinople (Grumen, 1936), I, Fasc. II, Part XXXVI (1933), 278. VI 222. A. Vogt, Echosd'Orient, 14 Scriptores rerum Hungaricarum, I, i09, i69, 308. 15 Moravcsik, Byzantinoturcica, I, 2 1 2. 16 See Moravcsik,Jubilee Volume in Memory of King St. Steph en,I, 397.
11 12



It is no coinciorganizations. the Byzantine politicaland religious of Prince Arpatd, dence that along with the great-grandson two The appeared in Constantinople. notable Hungarian chieftains moreover, by the fact importance of theseeventswas emphasized, and the thatGyula tookHierotheus back withhimto his country, consecratedhim Bishop of Turkia Patriarchof Constantinople similar to thatof Cyril (Hungary).In thisact we maysee a mission In thetitleof thebishop, thename a century earlier. and Methodius rather thanthatof a cityas is thecase elsewhere. of a region figures themissionary character of This was a strategic measure;it stressed of Hierotheus, out thatthe authority the the bishopric by pointing over the whole territory first of the Hungarianbishop,extended of Hierotheus to our sources, theactivity was Magyars.According nowis whether thisis corroborated The question extremely effective. of thisHungarian destiny by otherdata and what was the future on a seal published recently As to thebishopric, in theinscription in theShaw Collection ofNew York,appearsthenameofTheophyalthough this is not lact, Bishop of Turks.'7It is not impossible, of Hierotheus.'8 However, certain, thatthisbishopwas a successor destinyof the missionof muchmore is knownabout the further Hierotheusfromanotherrecord.Among old Russian documents Slavic whichdeal withthe polemicsagainstthe written in ancient o Latinjech . . .19 whichmay is a workentitled Povjest "Latins" there form in theso-called"NikonChroniin an abbreviated also be found cle,"20 as well as in the so-called Kormeaja Kniga.2' The deals withthe conversion of the concluding partof thisdocument prove thatthe Bulgars,Russians,and Magyars.The name forms theGreek,andit is probable from thatthe workhadbeentranslated in thetwelfth was written The Greek manuscript century. original thePeonians, "who are Ugrians, to us22concerns passageofinterest of this butcall themselves Magerians."It seemsthattwo chieftains and there embracedChristianity; people went to Constantinople
17 Ed. V. Laurent,Bulletin XVI-XVIII (1940), 287-28. historique bulgare, de la Societe 18 See V. Laurent,"L'Eveque des Turcs et le proedrede Turquie," Acadimie Roumaine, XXIII (1942), 2. bulletin de la section historique,


19Ed. A. Popov, Istoriko-literaturnij obzor drevne-russkich protiv polemiceskich soc'inenij Latinjan (Moscow, I 875), pp. I 76-i 88. See A. Pavlov, Kriticeskije opyly po istorii drevnejsej greko-russkoj polemiki protiv Latinjan(St. Petersburg, 1878), pp. 78-80. V. G. Vasiljevskij, Trudy(St. Petersburg,1909), II, 95-96. 20 Polnoje I 862), IX, 70. russkich sobranije (St. Petersburg, ljetopisej 21 See J. Hergenr6ther, Photius, Patriarch von Constantinopel. Sein Leben,seineSchrifte Schisma(Regensburg,I 869) 111, 862-869. und das griechische


op. cit., pp. I87-I88.

The Byzantine in Medieval Church Hungary

1 39

butbefore Greekbishops couldbe sentto their country, thechieftain called Stephendied. Since at this time the Byzantine realm was shaken by manyattacksand blows,theycouldnotconfirm thefaith of thePeons,who had notevena written language. In consequence, the Latins converted The nucleusof this themto theirown-faith. report is thebaptism at Constantinople of thetwo chieftains. As the characterization ofone ofthesechieftains is fully in keeping withthe characterization whichScylitzesgave of Gyula, we cannotdoubt thatthe Stephen of the Slav textis indentical withGyula. Thus it follows that Stephen was Gyula's Christian name,whichhe obtained at his conversion in Constantinople. renderit These concurrences probable thatboththeSlav textand theoriginal date Greek report from that Byzantine workof thetenth century from whichScylitzes also drew.However,the author of theSlav elaboration, whichwas written afterthe schismand evidently with a polemictendency, saw the eventsfrom the perspective of a laterepoch,and he knew thatthe missionary work of the EasternChurchhad not produced suchfar-reaching results as thatof theWestern LatinChurch. From this,however, it does notfollowby any meansthattherole of the Eastern Church was concluded withthemission ofBishop Hierotheus. That theGylas ofScylitzes andalso theStephen oftheSlav source areidentical withGyulatheElder,whosetribe bank settled on either of theMaros River,standswithout doubt.Thus theactivity of the firstHungarianmissionary bishopricstarted,and here the first organized form of Hungarian Christianity was established. Therefore,it is no coincidence thatabout half a century afterGyula's journeyto Constantinople we shouldagain come upon traces of Byzantine Christianity, on the same territory whereBishopHierotheushad been active. From the Gerarduslegend we learn that Ajtony,whose domainextended from theK6r6s River to TransylvaniaandtheDanubeline,was baptized according to theGreekrites (secundum ritum Graecorum) at Viddin.Moreover, we read thathe had obtained hispowerfrom theGreeksand founded a at MarosvAr Greek monastery in honorof St. Johnthe Baptist("Accepit autem a Grecis protestatem et construxit in prefata urbeMorisena monasterium in honore beatiJohannes Baptiste, constituens in eodemabbatem cum monachis Grecis,iuxtaordinem et ritumipsorum").Later, when Csanad, St. Stephen's commander, defeated Ajtony,thosewho fell on theway were buried in theabove-mentioned monastery because at thattimethere was no other monastery in thisprovince ("quin in eodem provincia alindmonasterium illistemporibus nonerat").Csantd founded a new monastery in honorof St. Georgewhither he trans-



of St. Johnthe ferred the monksand abbotsfromthe Monastery de monasterio Grecos monachos illucmemoratos Baptist("introducens was the beati unacumabbate").This newmonastery Johannes Baptiste one at Oroszlanos.23 corroborated The authenticity of thereport of thissourceis fully of theGreekchurch finds. In i 868 thefoundations by archaeological with together at Marosvar,on theplace of Csanad,were uncovered But thereare moretraces thebaptismal in front of thechurch. font whichonce belongedto of Byzantine on the territory Christianity Ajtony.Southof Csanad, at Nagy-Szent Miklos as earlyas I799, in which,amongother the so-called"Attila's hoard" was found, The text Greekinscriptions. things, there are two goldcupsbearing formulacommonlyused by the contains a water-consecrating by the latestinvestigators Greeks.24The hoarditself is considered to be of Bulgarorigin, and itsdateis putaboutat thesecondhalfof pointout most recentresearches the ninthcentury.25 In addition, partof thatat the beginning century the southern of the eleventh also belonged to theorganizathe Temesregion, Hungary, namely, at Viddinis tionof theEastern Church.26 That Ajtonywas baptized feasible in I002 by theByzantine as it had been conquered enough, forces It is likelythatthiswas Basil II himself. headedby Emperor significance thetimeofAjtony'sconversion it hada political andthat theeastern as well as a religious one. BeforetheMagyarconquest, andthusit seems hadbeenunder Bulgarsupremacy, partofHungary to theemperor havedonehomage natural enough thatAjtonyshould and was allied the of Byzantium against Bulgars who was fighting to recent according to the Hungarianking, St. Stephen.Later, the king and was about I028 Ajtony rose against investigations, defeated Csanad. by theking'sgeneral in connection activities of Byzantine missionary What theresults withthe personsof Gyula and Ajtonywere in the eastern partof forwantof data. Yet,if we Hungarycan no longerbe ascertained, to thenew withthem consider thattheconquering Magyarsbrought and thateast of the a knowledge of Byzantine Christianity country among the had had earliermany adherents Danube Christianity Avars and Bulgars,then we must presumethat previousto the
Scriptores rerum II, 490-493. Hungaricarum, See I. Gosev, Studi.Bizantinie Neoellenici (1940), VI, 139-146; Moravcsik, Byzantinoturcica, I, 163-16.5. 25 See N. Mavrodinov, "Le Tresor protobulgare de Nagyszentmikl6s,"Archaeologia
23 24

XXIX (1943), 207-208. Hungarica,


M. Gy6ni, MagyarNyelv (1946), XLII, 43-49.

The Byzantine Church in Medieval Hungary


beginnings of the missionary work of the WesternChurchin the seventies of the tenthcentury, the Byzantine Churchhad already wonovermany Magyarsto theChristian faith. So much, in anycase, is certain, thattheeffects of theByzantine mission werenotlimited to theMagyarsof theEastern region alone.The threads of theconversionof Gyula at Constantinople and the missionary work of BishopHierotheus led directly to thecourtof St. Stephen, the first Hungarian king.Gyula's daughter, Sarolt,was the wife of Prince Geza and mother to St. Stephen. In all probability, Sarolthad been baptizedby BishopHierotheus. One Western recordsuggests that Hungarian Christianity beganwithher "qua duce eratchristianitas coepta."27 Thus it cannotbe a coincidence thatthe first Hungarian kingreceived the same namein baptism whichformerly his grandfather on hismother's side,Gyula Istvatn, had received whenhe was baptized at thecourt oftheemperor inConstantinople. It is characteristic thatin St. Stephen's family severalChristian namesof Greek origin occur. Earlier scholarsoftencame to erroneous conclusions when, in studying King St. Stephen'secclesiastical policy,theybegan with the premise thatthe Magyar nationadoptedthe Westernform of and thusbecamelinked Christianity withChurch of Rome,thereby, excluding thepossibility of Byzantine ecclesiastical influences completely. It should notbe forgotten that at thebeginning oftheeleventh century, an inevitable although rivalrybetweenthe Easternand Western churches had existed of powerand owingto considerations policy,and antagonism becamemoreand moremarked, the actual schism hadnotyettakenplace. In fact, justat that time in connection with the idea of the innovation of the WesternRoman Empire, Byzantine influence was strongly feltin Italy,the hub of Western Not to mention Christianity. in I004, during thatNilus founded the age of St. Stephen, theBasiliteGreek monastery at GrottaFerrata nearRome. Thus whiletheHungarian kingdecidedin favorof the Westernsphere of civilization and a German-Roman sphere of at thesametimehe also secured interest, freeactivity in theChurch of Byzantium. The Hungarian whichextended on the contingent line kingdom, between of interest, Byzantine and Romanspheres couldnotisolate itselffrom Byzantine St. Stephen influence. was in allegiancewith Basil II. In 1004, whentheMagyarsoccupied Emperor Skoplje,they

Monumenta Germaniace IV, 607. Historica,



carried away withthem therelicsofSt. George.28 The facts proving strong ecclesiastical connections withByzantium are madeclearer if we remember thatSt. Stephenhad a magnificent churchbuilt in Constantinople forwhichhe gave lavishly all thatwas required.29 It is possible thatthePantocrator monastery founded a century laterin Constantinople bythewifeofEmperor John II, whowas thedaughter ofKingSt. LadislausofHungary, was built intothesameblockas the ancientHungarianchurch.Also in Hungaryitselftraces of the influence ofByzantine ecclesiastic artappear. toonerecord According St. Stephen had received as a gift from theGreekEmperor a crossin whichthere was a piece of theHoly Rood. This crosswas wornby St. Stephen'sson, Prince Imre, who later became known as St. Emericus.30In addition, thereis in the archiepiscopal at treasury Gran (Esztergom)a Byzantine cross casket,whichhas been preservedfrom theeleventh century. It bearsa Greek inscription. It is, by theway, characteristic thaton Hungarian territory aboutthirty Byzantine reliquaries have beenrecovered. The marblesarcophagus whichis held by tradition to be the repository of the holy king's corpseis also in theByzantine style.Likewise, his coronation pall was madeafter Byzantine designs. The cathedrals from St. Stephen's period also point to strongByzantineinfluences, especially the fragmentary remains of the one at Veszprem.Recently, tracesof eleventh-century Byzantine stylewere recognized on the fragment of the altar of Zalavtr and on the churchof Tarnaszentmaria. Recordsmention thattherewere Greek stonemasonsworking on the church at Buda, whichSt. Stephenhad built.3'Thus it is not surprising thatat O-Buda,not long ago, tracesof a church of the eleventh in theByzantine century stylewere discovered amongthe ruinsof a building. On the frescoes of the church in Feldebrbwe can also see Byzantine influences; theyprobably thetenth datefrom and eleventh theoldestrecord centuries, in painting whichhas come down to us. Records mention that therehad been some Greeks livingin Hungaryduringthe reign of St. Stephen.32 Bishop St. who playeda leading Gerardus, roleat thecourtof St. Stephen, was of Venetian but he knew Greek. It has been provedby the origin, latestdiscoveries thathe used a Greek sourceforone of his works.

A. F. Gombos, -Catalogus fontiumhistoriae Hungaricae(1937-1938), Scriptores rerum II, 386, 4,19. Hungaricarurm, Gombos, op. cit.,Vol. II, No. 3673.

Vol. II, No.

29 30 31

Scriptores rerum Hungaricarum, I, 317.

Ibid., I,
192, 303;

II, 63,


The Byzantine in Medieval Hungary Church


showsaffinities with Admonitions, a workattributed to St. Stephen, In some of theirelements, these the Byzantine Mirrorof Princes. veneer. Let us take,forexample, workshavea specifically Byzantine "Quis regeret Latinos the famoussentencefromthe Admonitions: Grecos Latinismoribus?""3 Grecismoribus, aut quis Latinusregeret which,at all events, provesthatthe Greeks playeda greatrole in themindof theHungarian king. ecclesiastical influence are comFragmentary tracesof Byzantine in Greek whichtestifies to the pletedby theCharter of St. Stephen Although thiswork has existence of a nunnery in Veszpremv6lgy. of a transcription written in I i09 comedownto us onlyin theform recentresearch has provedthat during the reignof King KalmAn, we have here an originalauthentic copy of St. Stephen'scharter. theRenovatio, it is clearthatthe FromKing Ka'lma'n's textin Latin, of a scrolland was sealed with original document was in the form St. Stephen's concurs withthegeneral appearseal. This description ance of Byzantine The Greek textof the charter imperial charters. a nunnery at Veszpr6m reports thattheHungarian Kinghad founded inhonor oftheMother ofGod forthereposeofthesoulsofhiswife, his children, and himself, and for the whole of Pannonia.Then of giftsand privileges followsthe enumeration bestowedupon the The charter witha curseon thosewho desecrate nunnery. concludes of thenunnery.84 theproperty From the Latin text of King Kalmin's Renovatioof ii09, it of the appearsthatin accordance withthe languageof the founder theoriginal in Greek, "iuxtalinguam nunnery, charter was written of the auctoris monasterii." Thus, St. Stephenwas not the founder withhim. closelyconnected nunnery, but another personevidently and endowed The Hungarian thefoundation sanctioned kingmerely as John withthe necessary in the same manner funds the nunnery case of the in the done Comnenus had of Byzantium, II, Emperor the Pantocrator founded by his wife, EmpressIrene,a monastery herdeath,he issueda charter Hungarian princess, when,following in 11-36. Some believethatit was Queen Gisella,St. Stephen's wife; othersthinkthatit was his sister,the exiled wife of the Bulgar auctoris iuxta Czar Gavril-Radomir. linguam However,theexpression thatSt. can hardlybe appliedto eitherof these.The hypothesis of the Gyula, who was baptizedat Stephen'smother, daughter


34 Criticaled. by G. Czebe, The Greek Text Diplomaof Veszpre'mv6lgy (Budapest, of the

Ibid., II, 626.




was thefounder Constantinople, is muchmoreprobable, although it does notsufficiently explaintheexpression quotedabove or thefact thatSt. Stephennevermentions his mother in the Charter.Thus everysignpointsto the conclusion thatwe mustseek the founder amongSt. Stephen's nextof kin. In the variousversions of the St. Margaret legend we readthat theparentage ofthewifeofSt.Emeric, Stephen'sson, is contested. According to some stories, her father was the Greek emperor;accordingto others,her father was the Romanemperor. With reference to St. Emeric's Byzantine relations, some sourcesmaintain thatabout iio9 therewere rumors to the effect thatat the -hourof Emeric'sdeatha Greek archbishop saw angelscarrying his soul to heaven.35 In contemporary records, there is, however, no traceof thewifeof St. Emerichaving beena Greek princess, so thisquestion must be left openforthetimebeing. Should thereport of theMargaret legendprovetrue,themystery enveloping the person of the Veszpremvblgy nunnery's Greek speaking founder wouldsurely be dispersed. Older scholars in connection withSt. Stephen's charter surmised, in Greekand thenunnery of Veszpremv6lgy, thatthere wereItalian and German-Byzantine influence respectively. However, since it turned out thattheterminology of thecharter is typically Byzantine and thatits language corresponds entirely to theByzantine vernacular, documentary language,thishypothesis comes to nought. The chartercan be explainedonly on the grounds of the atmosphere of Byzantineculturemaintained in Stephen'scourt, for it was evidently a Greek priestlivingat the courtwho drafted the document,mostlikelyabout ioio. All thisproves,on the otherhand, thatalthough St. Stephen withthe community alignedhis country oftheWestern Church, form ofChristiannevertheless theByzantine ityalso found its way intohis court. Not longafter thereign ofSt. Stephen, newtraces oftheByzantine Church in Hungary came to light. King Andreas I (I047-60) founded two monasteries, to contemporary records:one according at Tihany,theothernear Visegrad.Y Owing to numerous reasons, we are justified in assuming that bothwereBasilite monasteries. The latestinvestigations make it seem highly probablethatthe site of Tihany had been formerly the dwellingplace of certainGreek hermits and thatthemonastery fortheir had beenfounded benefit.37 of 1221, reports Pope HonoriusIII, in a letter thatin themonastery
35 36

Scriptores rerum Hungaricarum, II, 456. Ibid., II, 503. 37 Unpublished researchof J. Csemegi.

The Byzantine Church in Medieval Hungary


of Visegratd Greek monkshad been livingof old,38 so it is obvious thatthe monastery founded by AndreasI followedthe pattern set As Anastasia, monks. thewifeof Andreas by theBasilite I, who had spent sometime before hisaccession onRussiansoil,was thedaughter dismiss thetheory of PrinceYaroslavofKiev, we cannot thatalong withtheGreeksthere were also Slav monks living in themonastery of Visegratd, and thatwhenthe monksof the Sazave monastery in Bohemia fled to Hungary in 105 5, they found refuge in themonastery of Visegr'd.39The name of AndreasI also pointsto ByzantineRussianconnections, forit is a knownfactthatSt. Andreasplayed the same role in theEasternChurchas St. PetertheApostlein the Western to thelegendhe was thefounder Church, and according of the RussianChurch.The name of the town of Szentendre, in the neighborhood of theVisegratd monastery, whichwas consecrated to to this saint.In addition, St. Andreas,is also a reference another reference to the Byzantine relations of AndreasI is the so-called "Constantine Monomachuscrown," preservedin the Hungarian National Museum,which,to all appearances, the Hungarianking as a present between1042 and o055 from obtained Byzantium.40 so fareffected we havesurecogniBy reasonof theinvestigations zanceof three suchGreekmonasteries in theeleventh whichexisted on Hungarian Fromlaterdata,however, century territory. we know of 1324, whichhas appeared even moreof them.Froma document we learnthaton the site of the modern recently, villageof Dunaof PentelewhereGreek nuns there had beenthemonastery pentele sivemoniales Grecales hadlived("ubi Beginae condam-commorabantur"); It is evident thatthenameof thusthistoo was a Greek monastery. the villageis connected with the martyrcalled 'agios Panteleemo'n (d. 305) of the Greek Church.This monastery was mentioned as there was reference in a but no made to its as early 1238 document, of thismonastery Greek character.41 couldnothave The foundation it in thirteenth was much takenplace the century; earlier, probably The monastery in the eleventh at Patsztoalso musthave century. as will be seenlater.We havereliable evidence beenofGreekorigin, of a Greek monastery at Szatvaszentdemeter, which of theexistence in theletter ofPope HonoriusIII in 12I8. A letter is first mentioned
I, 29.
39 40 38

A. Theiner, Vetera monumen historica (Rome, I 859), Hungariamsacramillustrantia

See St. Kniezsa, Archivum VIII (0942), EuropaeCentro-Orientalis, I59-i6i. "The Crown oftheEmperorConstantine See M. Bairainy-Oberschall, Monomachos," in Memoryof Archaeologia Hungarica, XXIV (I9c37), 89-90; Moravcsik,JubileeVolume King St. Stephen, I, 94-95. 41 See Moravcsik,Jubilee in Memory Volume of King St. Stephen, I, 4I9.



from Pope ClemensVI in 1334 clearlystatesthatin thismonastery andSlavs had livedseparated Greeks,Hungarians, from one another eversinceitsfoundation.42 The magnitude ofthecongregation ofthe EasternChurchis illustrated further by the factthatin ii64 the and clergy of theprovince of Sirmium population received Emperor in statewhile singing Manuel of Byzantium ecclesiastical songs.4 We also know thatBacs was the ecclesiastical centerof Sirmium in the twelfth century and thattherea prelateof the Greek rite, If we now consider a metropolitan, heldhis seat.44 evidently thata in Hungary statistical listputsthenumber of monasteries before the invasion at aboutsix hundred Mongolian (so far,onlyfour hundred ofthesehavebeenlocated),andthat records concerning earlier times are extremely scarce,and moreover that,as will be seen later,the Greek monasteries subsequently passed into the handsof Western monastic orders, thenwe cometo theconclusion thatthenumber of on Hungarianterritory Greek monasteries must have been very in the eleventh considerable and twelfth centuries. This conclusion is borneout further by theveryscantydata whichhas come down to us concerning life and literary of Greek the spiritual activities and monks. monasteries monasteries Greek books is That medieval contained Hungarian Even if we do not acceptas final the clearlyprovedby documents. thatSt. Gerardushad access to Greek sourcesin the supposition of themonastery at Marosvar,we knowfrom an old record library in thelibrary thatthere had beena Psalterium Graecum of theAbbey in the eleventh At the beginning of the of Pannonhalma century. whose personis not familiar, twelfth a certain century, Cerbanus, intoLatin some but who was evidently a Basilitemonk,translated Maximus partsof theworksof two Greek Fathersof theChurch, a Greek manuscript in thepossession of andJohn Damascene,from ofPaszt6 had also beenGreek.The translation was made monastery andthetranslator hiswork fortheAbbeyofPannonhalma, dedicated (I to David, Abbot of Pannonhalma for the 3I-50), in gratitude to note thatthe first he thereenjoyed.It is interesting hospitality
42 43

the monasteryat Paszto.'

From this it follows that originallythe

Kinnamos, ed. Bonn,p. 2 2 1. I. Raicz,Byzantina poze6mata peri tonouggrikdn ekstratei6n touautokratoros Manouel [Ouggroellenikai Meletai] (Budapest, I94), pp. I9-20, 45. 44 Kinnamos, ed. Bonn,p. 222. 45 Ed. R. I. Szigeti, Translatio Latina IoannisDamasceni(De orthodoxa fide l.III.c. 1-8.) saeculoXII in Hungaria confecta [OuggroellenikaiMeletai 3] (Budapest, I940). A. B. Terebessy, Translatio Latina SanctiMaximi Confessoris ad Elpidium *. I-IV) (De caritate saeculo XII. in Hungariaconfecta [Ouggroellenikai Meletai 25] (Budapest, I944).

Theiner, op.cit., I, 9-I



The Byzantine Church in Medieval Hungary


Latin translation of the work of JohnDamascenewhichwas made in Hungary influenced laterLatin translations. theologians, Western and amongthemPetrusLombardus, became acquaintedwith this of greatGreek Fatherthrough thistranslation.46 Fromthe survival of the translation the manuscript in Austrian and from monasteries the translation we may the influence had on Westerntheologians justlyconcludethatGreek monasteries in Hungaryplayed an imrolein theeleventh Some portant mediating and twelfth centuries.47 of Greek ecclesiastical of theproducts literature reachedthe West translations made in Basilitemonasteries in Hungary,and through to the West more than one Byzantine legendand saga migrated them.This is borneout by the factthatmanyHungarian through medievalsagas and legendsare of Byzantine origin.Thus, forexample, the story about ChieftainLel of Hungarian chronicles containssome principles fromthe Byzantine Salamonlegend,and reminisone episodeof theHungarian St. Ladislauslegendis highly cent of the legendsof militant saintsso popularin Byzantium;48 the legendof St. Demetrius saintof who was thepatron especially Thessalonica,although the real birthplace of his cult was in the provinceof Sirmium, where the place names of the Hungarian hismemory. and of theSlavicMitrovica Szatvaszentdemeter preserve it is no coincidence thaton theenamel Suriely plaqueson thecrown presented to Geza I, King of Hungary, in 1075, by Michael Ducas is visible.49 of Byzantium, the imageof St. Demetrius II, Emperor The old cathedral to St. Demetrius. In of Szeged was also dedicated his feastday used to be celebrated on October26, as was Hungary in the EasternChurch,and not on October 8 as in the customary WesternChurch. Besides St. Demetrius,there were also other life. saintsreveredin medievalHungarianecclesiastical Byzantine withthem Mentionhas been made of the Magyarshavingbrought the relicsof St. George, from Skoplje,in the timeof St. Stephen, revered who appearsto have been particularly by them.According whenBishopCsanad defeated to tradition, Ajtony,he did so under the protection of St. George. When in 1072 the hosts of King back as faras Nis, theybrought Salomonand PrinceGeza marched the them the hand St. which with of later,in Procopius Martyr,
See Szigeti, op. cit.,pp. 2 2-3 5. See E. v. Ivainka, "Griechische Einfliisseim westlichen Geistesleben des XII. Archivum 2 I I-2 I7. Jahrhunderts," Philologicum, LXIV (1940), Meletai 48 See G. Saintha, Le Leggende dei santicombattenti [Ouggroellenikai bizantine 22] (Budapest, I943). 49 See G. Moravcsik, "The Holy Crown of Hungary," Hungarian Quarterly, IV (1938), 656-667.
46 47



ii64, the EmperorManuel had taken back to Nis.50Further investigations, theexamination ofmedieval especially Hungarian place names,will increase thenumber of Byzantine saints in Hungary. The extentof the influence of the Byzantine Church,how farreaching it had been,and whatparticular colorand character it gave to Hungarian is fully Christianity disclosed onlyby themostrecent research.5' It came to light that in the course of the eleventh century the HungarianChurchhad been characterized by several features whichare eminently In a Hungarian Byzantine. missalat Zagreb, which reflects the Hungarianliturgyfromthe eleventh century faithfully, thereis a formula forthe consecration of water which,as the words "ut mosestGraecorum" pointout,is merelya from theGreek. It is also significant translation thatthemarriage of priestswas authorized for a time in Hungary,just as it was in When the adherents Byzantium. of the Gregorian movement protestedagainst this,theHungarian headedby King Ladislaus bishops referred to the decree of the Council of Trullos (Concilium Quinin 691-92 whichthe Churchof Rome had neverrecogquesextum) nized. It was not until I 112 thatKing Kalmin assertedthe conofRome.The mostsurprising ception wereyielded results, however, the examination of fastingcustoms.In 1092 the Council of by the Hungarianway of fasting, Szabolcs defended which,in conwith the formity Byzantine lastedsevenweeks; whilethe practice, Latin Church a fastof six weeks,thatis, forty imposed days. Since the old Byzantine customwas superseded by an eight-week fastin the seventh we mustconcludethattheHungarian century, practice retained the obsoleteByzantine customfrom theperiodbeforethe So seventh the of how thiscameaboutcannotcentury. far, question be satisfactorily answered.The supposition thatthe Magyarshad knowntheold Byzantine way of fasting whenstillon theshoresof the Black Sea and had preserved it unchanged for so long hardly seems probablefor chronological reasons; the Onogurmissionary was onlyinstituted in themiddle bishopric oftheeighth thus century, a strong Byzantineinfluence can be considered only fromthat timeforward.52 the meansof adopting Yet, whatever the old Byzantine fasting thistoo provesthat practice, alongwithother things, though Hungarian Christianity followedthe Romanrite, definitely Kinnamos, ed. Bonn, p. 227. See P. Vaczy, "Les Racines byzantines du christianisme hongrois,"NouvelleRevue de Hongrie, XXXIV (I94I), 99-i08. 52 See G. Moravcsik, AmericanSlavic and East EuropeanReview, V, Nos. 14-15
50 51 (1946), 41-42.

The Byzantine Church in Medieval Hungary


it had, nevertheless, preserved untilthe beginning of the twelfth centuryseveral Byzantinecharacteristics. In addition,Byzantine has also from thisepochpalpablerecords, influence as forexample, fromthe twelfth the tabernacle with Greek inscriptions century at Beszterce. whichwas excavated In theage of King Bela III (i i63-96), new tracesof connections Churchappear.As a youngman,Bela lived for withtheByzantine severalyearsin the courtof Emperor Emanuelwherehe was confaith and took partin the Councilof Convertedto the Orthodox in I i66 as theprospective son-in-law of theEmperor stantinople of On his return to Hungary,the Archbishop Byzantium. of Gran refused to crown (Esztergom) him, evidently owingto hisacceptance of the Orthodoxfaith.In the troubled timesfollowing Manuel's to realize a Hungarian-Byzantine death,Bela attempted union,but This endeavor he did not succeed.53 accountsforthe undoubtedly of theByzantine doublecrosson theHungarian appearance coat of It was probably he who united arms.54 thetwo crowns-the crown withtheByzantine We also knowthatin I I 83 of St. Stephen one.55 the relics of St. Ivan of Rila fromSardica (Sofia) to he brought accountof this age is foundin the An interesting Esztergom.56 between Bela's correspondence Isaac Angelus son-in-law, Emperor of Esztergom II, -and Job,theArchbishop (about I I 90), concerning dogmatic questions. Amongsomeletters one written recently found, Demetrius in thenameof Emperor TornicesrevealsthattheArchofEsztergom himself hadvisited theCourtof Byzantium bishop and was personally who cherished acquaintedwith theEmperor, the thetwo churches dreamof uniting underhis own leadership.57 The door of the basilicaof Esztergom factthatthe triumphal whichhe afterthe modelof a Byzantine had made was wrought is pattern withthearchbishop's visitto Constantinople. connected of the thirteenth At the beginning life in the Greek century, underwent a greatchange.The most recentresearch monasteries out the connection has pointed betweenthischangeand the change
53 See G. Moravcsik, "Pour une Alliance byzantino-hongroise (seconde moitie du XIIe siecle)," Byzantion, VIII (I933), 555-568. 54 See L. B. Kumorowitz,"Das Doppelkreuz des ungarischen Wappens," Turul,LV

Echos XXXIX (1940), Hongrie," d'Orient,

See Moravcsik, "The Holy Crown of Hungary," HungarianQuarterly, IV (1938), 666-667. 56 See J. B6dey, "Die ungarischen Beziehungen der Legende des hig. Ivan von Rila," Archivum LXIV (1940), 217-2 2 1. Philologicum, 57 See V. Laurent,"Une Lettre dogmatiquede I'empereurIsaac I'Ange au primat de





Moravcsik Gyula

andchurch at this time.58 was taking placeintheGreekstate which crusade, thefourth with in I 204 in connection As we already know, the oftheWestandthere thepossession into passed Constantinople and, at the same time,the Latin was established Latin Empire was what is called"Latinizaofthis The consequence patriarchate. thecontrol ofLatinarchwereputunder The Greek bishops tion." These tendencies wereestablished. andLatinmonasteries bishops, a letter felt alsoin Hungary. It maybe seenfrom madethemselves theideaof heentertained in 1.204, that III, written ofPopeInnocent into had fallen in Hungary, which theGreekmonasteries uniting into one of Hungarian bishops, decay owingto the negligence inthesame inanother III writes letter Innocent bishopric.59 separate of the in thecountry Greekmonasteries there aremany yearthat in king.60 thePope'splandidnotmaterialize; Hungarian However, in Constantinople oftheLatinEmpire to thefoundation owing fact, The Hungary. ofLatinization hadalsosetinthroughout theprocess torn ina Latinenvironment, isolated awayfrom Greek monasteries, theother intothe wentone after roots, their spiritual Byzantine Thus theCistercians took of Western monastic orders. possession in 12 2I, and in 1190, at Visegrad oftheGreeks at Patszt6 thepface inthecourse thirteenth The Greek ofthe century. atVeszpremv6lgy in themonastery ofSzatvaszentdemeter, heldoutthelongest monks It maybe changed. thesituation was restored, Empire Byzantine ofPopeClement in 1344, that for a a letter VII, written seenfrom ofSzavaszentdemeter was under theimmediate themonastery time of thePatriarch ofConstantinople, means it that which supremacy In theyearindicated, however, mone. was a so-called stauropegiake sincethedeath of thelastabbot(aboutten as it hadbeenvacant it fell thepossession into ofBenedictines.62 years), centuries thefourteenth the It seemsthatduring and fifteenth in the oftheGreek Church lived in large communities mainly flock A letter byPopeGregory written Tisza region andinTransylvania. that on theterritory ofthenewLatinbishopric, IX in 1234reveals oftheCumans, for theconversion there weresham-bishops founded who ritum tenentes) Graecorum of the Greekrites(pseudoepiscopi
58 See Et v. Ivainka, "GriechischeKirche und griechisches M6nchtumim mittelalterlichenUngarn," Orientalia Christiana Periodica, VIII, Nos. 1-2 (1942), 190-194.

his own rule.6'When the whichin 1218 Pope Honoriustookunder

59 Signiflcavitnobis 26. April, 1204 .. ., see ibid., p. i9 I. 60 Venientes ad apostolicam 14. September, 1204 . . . , see ibid., p.

Theiner,op. cit.,I, 62 Ibid., I, 667-668.




The Byzantine Church in Medieval Hungary


exertedtheirinfluence, not only on the Wallachs,but also on the The expansion Magyars.63 of the Wallachsand the Subcarpathian Ruthenians enhancedthe Byzantine ecclesiasticinfluence in these territories An interesting considerably. is cast on thisquestion light in a Greek document of 1391 from whichit appearsthatat K6rtvelyes of Mtrmoros,at one time,a monastery of St. Michaelhad existedwhose patronshad obtainedfromthe Patriarchof Cona grantthat the monasterybe raised to stauropegia stantinople that it was under which meant thedirect ofthePatriarch authority of The establishment of the Greek bishopricat Constantinople.64 in themiddle Munkacsalso occurred of the fifteenth This century. in all probability is connected with visit of Isidore, the former ofMoscow (ofGreekorigin), Metropolitan to Budain 1443.65 That the Greek Churchhad a considerable is provedby a congregation of Aeneas SylviusPiccolomini, declaration laterPope Pius II. In a in I450, he givesthefollowing writing adviceto LadislausV, later ". . . dicerem autemetiamilla (sc. Graeca)tibi kingof Hungary: si facultas nam et ad regnum Hungarie melius addiscenda, adesset; dirigendum, cuiGreci complures subsunt, non parum conducerent ...) .66 Fromthisit is clearthata largenumber of Greekslivedin Hungary who belonged to the Greek Churchand used the languageof the Greek ritual. As we know,there are Catholics evennowon Hungarian territory who followtheGreek rite-the so-called"Greek Catholics"whom Pope Pius X unitedin 1912 in the Bishopric of Hajdudorog. 'How to themedieval theseare related followers of theByzantine Church thecontinuity andwhether in thisrespect be proved, is a task might to decide. forthe future
63 In Cumanorum episcopatu 14. November, 1234 . . . , see Ivanka, "Griechische Kirche M6nchtumim mittelalterlichen und griechisches Ungarn," pp. 191-192. 64 65 66

Acta et diplomata, Miklosich-Miiller, II, 156-157. G. Papp, The Originof theEpiscopate of Munkdcs(Miskolc, 1940); RerumAustriacarum, Fontes Diplomataria et Acta, LXVII (1912),

in Hungarian.