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Thomas Becket, Martyr Archbishop Of Canterbury, Remembered In Hungary

By Tamás Székely // 2017.01.06.

The guidance of 12th century saint Thomas Becket is much in need today, when Europe is seeking a solution to its crisis but fails to endorse the Christian foundations of its culture, state secretary István Mikola said on Thursday.

Esztergom, 2017. január 5. A Rudnay Sándor Kulturális és Városvédõ Egyesület és a Rudnay Sándor Alapítvány Becket Szent Tamás-napi emlékülésének résztvevõi a Magyar Nemzeti Múzeum Esztergomi Vármúzeumának Lovagtermében 2017. január 5-én. MTI Fotó: Kovács Tamás

Thomas Becket of Canterbury memorial day was held in Esztergom, Hungary (photo: Tamás Kovács – MTI)


Mikola told a conference marking Thomas Becket memorial day that Becket had found guidance in the Christian faith and its firm values in a “stormy period”, and had held on to his faith until martyred in 1170. Only three years after his death he was canonised by the Pope, and Lukács (Lucas) Bánfi, Archbishop of Esztergom, had a church built in northern Hungary in Becket’s honour not much later, he added. In the second half of the 20th century, the freedom of the church was severely restricted in Hungary but during the 1970s, Cardinal László Lékai, who was then the Archbishop of Esztergom, created a tradition of delivering prayers in the presence of Becket’s relics in the chapel dedicated to the saint on his memorial day, Mikola said.

The memorial day was marked with conference in Esztergom as well as an ecumenical service at the hillside chapel that bears Saint Thomas’s name. Ties between the archiepiscopal seats of Esztergom and Canterbury go back to the 12th century, when Thomas Becket and Lukács Bánfi formed a friendship during their studies in Paris. Some of the saint’s relics were salvaged and kept in Esztergom in 1538 after King Henry VIII ordered their destruction. After more than four centuries, Cardinal László Lékai donated some of them to the Archiepiscopacy of Canterbury.

via and MTI