Last modified on February 4, 2008, at 05:20

Crown of Saint Stephen

The Crown of Saint Stephen is a magnificent crown that was used to coronate every King of Hungary since Saint Stephen (Szent István), the canonized first Christian King of Hungary. Pope Sylvester II sent this crown to Saint Stephen near the end of A.D. 1000. On his deathbed Saint Stephen, who lacked any heirs, committed Hungary into the care of the Virgin Mary and declared her Patrona Hungariae (Patroness of Hungary).

Near the end of World War II, Hungarians transferred this national treasure to the safekeeping of the United States in order to prevent it from falling into enemy hands. For nearly 30 years the United States honored its pledge, but in 1978 President Jimmy Carter returned this crown over conservative objections to the Soviet-controlled communist dictatorship in Hungary. A lawsuit filed by conservatives to block this transfer was refused by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Today the crown sits in the Hungarian Parliament Building.