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Order of Saint Stephen
Order of St Stephen of Hungary Grand Cross with Collar.png
Awarded by
Imperial Standard of Austria-Hungary (1915-1918).svg
The Head of the House of Habsburg
TypeDynastic order
Established1764
Royal houseHouse of Habsburg
Religious affiliationRoman Catholic
SovereignArchduke Karl
Grand MasterArchduke Georg
ClassesGrand Cross
Commander
Knight
Precedence
Next (higher)Military Order of Maria Theresa
Next (lower)Order of Leopold (Austria)
Ord.S.Stef.Ungh..png

Ribbon of the order

The Order of Saint Stephen (Hungarian: Szent István rend) was an order of chivalry founded in 1764 by Maria Theresa. In 1938, Miklós Horthy took the rights and activities of Grand Master as Regent of Hungary. The name of the Order changed to the Royal Hungarian Order of Saint Stephen (German: Königlich Ungarischer Sankt-Stephans-Orden, Latin: Ordo Equitum Sancti Stephani Regis (Hungariae) Apostolici). The Order was terminated at the time of the proclamation of the Second Hungarian Republic in 1946. It was recreated in 2011 as the Hungarian Order of Saint Stephen, and to this day remains the highest order in Hungary.[1][2][3]

Royal Hungarian Order of Saint Stephen, Grand Cross
Royal Hungarian Order of Saint Stephen, Grand Cross
Cape and gown of a knight of the order
Cape and gown of a knight of the order

Significance to Hungarians

The order is named after Hungary's most famous king, Stephen I, whose reign (997–1038) was marked by his consolidation of the monarchy, the establishment of the medieval state of Hungary,[4] and his adoption of Christianity as the state religion. His coronation, as recognized in the Church, is dated 1001.[5] He died August 15, 1038, during the Feast of the Assumption. His feast day in Hungary is August 20. Canonized by Pope Gregory VII in 1083 along with his son Imre (who preceded him in death in 1031, after a hunting accident) and Bishop Gerhard of Hungary, St. Stephen is the patron saint of "Hungary, kings, the death of children, masons, stonecutters, and bricklayers." Though its exact provenance is somewhat disputed, the Crown of St. Stephen is said to have been a gift from Pope Silvester II, upon Stephen's 1001 coronation.[6]

Creation and qualifications for membership

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Maria Teresa, founder of the Order and first Grand Master, wearing the robes of the Order
Maria Teresa, founder of the Order and first Grand Master, wearing the robes of the Order
Grand Cross breast star
Grand Cross breast star

Empress Maria Teresa and her son, Emperor Joseph II, made several political concessions to ease tensions within their empire—most especially between Austria and Hungary, among them being the creation of the Order. Membership was available to various members of the Hungarian nobility. To receive the Order, according to collector and historian Stephen Herold,

one had to have at least four quarterings of arms showing as many generations of noble status. It helped promote her (Maria Teresa's) position as Queen of Hungary and reinforced the quasi independent position of Hungary in the Empire. The original statutes allow for only 20 Grand Crosses, 30 Commanders and 50 Knights who are to be "distinguished for virtue and merit and noble birth". Grand Cross Knights were considered so important that the Emperor was to address them as "Cousin". These insignia were to be returned to the Chancellery of the Order on the death of the holder. There was no military application of this order. It is rare, and even modern awards of St. Stephen are seldom seen. Perhaps more than any other Austrian order, this one approached the ideal character as put forth in its statutes and regulations.

Insignia

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Grand Cross
For ceremonial purposes, a full set of robes were prescribed, following the tradition of other orders, such as the Austrian and Spanish Orders of the Golden Fleece and Great Britain's Order of the Garter. The robes were crimson and green, and were lined with ermine. A collar of gold was worn about the neck and shoulders, with the badge of the Order suspended from the collar. For normal occasions and every-day wear, a sash of crimson, edged with green, was worn over the right shoulder and extended to the left hip, the distinctive badge of the Order suspended from the sash at the hip. An eight-pointed star was worn on the left breast. During the waning days of the monarchy, especially during the Great War, a less formal option was also authorized, whereby a miniature (a so-called “kleine Decoration”) of the breast star was affixed to the center of the ribbon of an ordinary knight's cross, and was worn on the left breast with other orders and military medals, in order of precedence.
Knights Commander
Wore the badge of the Order at the throat, suspended from the crimson edged with green ribbon about the neck. During the Great War, the informal wear of the miniature, gold, Crown of Saint Stephen kleine Decoration was worn on an ordinary knight's cross, to delineate them from ordinary knights and Grand Cross knights, and worn on the left breast with other orders and military medals, in order of precedence.
Knights
Wore the badge of the Order, suspended from a tri-fold ribbon of crimson, edged in green, on the left breast with other orders and military medals, in order of precedence.

Partial list of members

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The following is a partial list of knights of the Royal Hungarian Order of Saint Stephen, as compiled from a variety of sources listed in the bibliography. A nearly complete list, MAGYAR KIRÁLYI SZENT ISTVÁN REND, is available in the Hungarian language, online.

Grand Masters

Josef II, second Grand Master, wearing the robes of the Order
Josef II, second Grand Master, wearing the robes of the Order
Emperor Franz I of Austria, fourth Grand Master, wearing the robes of the Order
Emperor Franz I of Austria, fourth Grand Master, wearing the robes of the Order
Emperor Franz Josef I of Austria-Hungary, sixth Grand Master, wearing the robes of the Order
Emperor Franz Josef I of Austria-Hungary, sixth Grand Master, wearing the robes of the Order

Order of St. Stephen – Kingdom of Hungary (1764–1918)

Knights, Grand Cross

Cardinal Rudolf, Archduke of Austria, wearing a variant of the Grand Cross insignia on his clerical robes
Cardinal Rudolf, Archduke of Austria, wearing a variant of the Grand Cross insignia on his clerical robes
Prince Metternich, the Minister of State, wearing the Grand Cross sash and star on his court uniform. Portrait by Sir Thomas Lawrence
Prince Metternich, the Minister of State, wearing the Grand Cross sash and star on his court uniform. Portrait by Sir Thomas Lawrence
Crown Prince Rudolf, wearing the Grand Cross sash and star on his Austrian general officer's uniform
Crown Prince Rudolf, wearing the Grand Cross sash and star on his Austrian general officer's uniform
Grand Cross "kleine decoration" as worn on a knights medal. This was authorized for wear on the service dress uniform in lieu of the sash or breast star
Grand Cross "kleine decoration" as worn on a knights medal. This was authorized for wear on the service dress uniform in lieu of the sash or breast star
Giustino Fortunato, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies
Giustino Fortunato, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies
German Emperor Wilhelm II, wearing the Grand Cross sash and star of the Order, and the Hungarian uniform of an (honorary) Field Marshal of Austria-Hungary. 1902
German Emperor Wilhelm II, wearing the Grand Cross sash and star of the Order, and the Hungarian uniform of an (honorary) Field Marshal of Austria-Hungary. 1902

Knights Commander

Commander's Cross, Royal Hungarian Order of Saint Stephen
Commander's Cross, Royal Hungarian Order of Saint Stephen
Gen. Géza Fejérváry, eventual Prime Minister of Hungary (and Grand Cross knight), wearing the Knight Commander's cross about his neck, ca 1894
Gen. Géza Fejérváry, eventual Prime Minister of Hungary (and Grand Cross knight), wearing the Knight Commander's cross about his neck, ca 1894
Knight Commander of the Royal Hungarian Order of Saint Stephen. The lesser decoration worn on a Knight's Cross was authorized during the Great War for those who preferred it to wearing it suspended at the neck.
Knight Commander of the Royal Hungarian Order of Saint Stephen. The lesser decoration worn on a Knight's Cross was authorized during the Great War for those who preferred it to wearing it suspended at the neck.

Knights

Franz, Baron von Zeiller, wearing the cross of a knight of the Royal Hungarian Order of Saint Stephen. Portrait by Anton Siegl
Franz, Baron von Zeiller, wearing the cross of a knight of the Royal Hungarian Order of Saint Stephen. Portrait by Anton Siegl
Knight's Cross of the Royal Hungarian Order of Saint Stephen
Knight's Cross of the Royal Hungarian Order of Saint Stephen

The Royal Hungarian Order of Saint Stephen – Kingdom of Hungary (1920–1946)

After the dissolution of Austria-Hungary, Hungary and Austria could not make a legal agreement on the rights of the Order. The base of the argument was whether Maria Theresa founded the Order de jure as the sovereign of Hungary, or the sovereign of Austria, or as Holy Roman Empress. In 1938, when Austria as a de jure successor state of Austria-Hungary ceased to exist by becoming part of Germany, Horthy issued an addendum to be attached on 4 November 1938 to the statutes of the Order which declared that as long as the Regent was the head of the Kingdom of Hungary, he also held the powers and duties of the Grand Master.

Knights, Grand Cross

Knights Commander

See also

Notes

  1. ^ "Kitüntetések". www.keh.hu. Archived from the original on 26 July 2019. Retrieved 21 August 2018.
  2. ^ "Kiállítás nyílt a Szent István-rend világáról a Magyar Nemzeti Múzeumban". Retrieved 21 August 2018.
  3. ^ Lajos, Csordás (8 May 2014). "A zöld szárú kereszt lovagjai". Retrieved 21 August 2018.
  4. ^ "20th August". augusztus20.kormany.hu. Retrieved 21 August 2018.
  5. ^ "Message to the Hungarian Nation on the first Millennium of St Stephen's coronation (August 21, 2000) – John Paul II". www.vatican.va. Retrieved 21 August 2018.
  6. ^ "Stephen I – king of Hungary". Retrieved 21 August 2018.
  7. ^ Kelly's Handbook to the Titled, Landed and Official Classes, 1918. Kelly's. p. 1250.In view of the fact Austria-Hungary were at war with Britain from August 1914 it is highly likely his award was made before that month. He had entertained Archduke Franz Ferdinand at his English estate in 1913.
  8. ^ Sauer, Arthur (1889). Almanak Administrativo, Mercantil e Industrial (in Portuguese). Rio de Janeiro: Laemmert & C.

References