Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Godollo, Hungary

During my European studies, I had the opportunity to visit St. Stephen University in this small town northeast of Budapest.

Beautiful, ain't she?

Well, it's also good to know that this state-run university was at one time a great Premonstratensian Abbey (The Canons Regular of Premontre, O.Praem.). This monastery was founded by 160 Norbertine Canons in exile from the Abbeys of Nagyavarad and Yasov, which exile was occasioned by the 1923 treaty which ate away at 60% of the old Austrian-Hungarian Empire, gobbled-up by Romania, Slovakia, and Croatia. The Abbey building (see picture above) was constructed with amazing rapidity, requiring only eight years to complete, and thus the common life of the canons was resumed without further interruption. It was also designed along the lines of the abbey at Nagyavarad, with the gimnazium (school) built right into the Abbey structure.

(Canons of Godollo, c. 1928/29)

(The Abbot of Godollo with students from the gimnzaium, 1930)

Enter the Reds (not Cincinnati)
During the communist occupation of Hungary, the monastery was seized (Viva Communism!), forcing the canons out of their home and into exile once more. After the fall, however, the Hungarian government did offer to return the abbey building to the Premonstratensians (Hungary, unlike certain other former iron-curtain countries **cough**Romania**cough** were actually quite eager to make restitution to the Church for all injustices commited by communism), but they refused, opting to build a smaller, more "manageable" Priory in the vicinity.

I do not have a picture of the new Priory. I did not take one. On purpose. Not after seeing what they could've gotten back and what they decided to build instead.

St. Ladislaus, pray for us.

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