Cruciferi Sancti Stephani Regis
(SZENT ISTVÁN LOVAGREND)
The end of the first millennium AD and the beginning of the next millennium brought the persecution of the Christians and the destruction of the churches on the Holy Land. This hard period in 1017 AD ended with securing the freedom of religious practices and this was the beginning of the return of the Christians and rebuilding the churches. This was when the Christian Knightly Orders began to form. In the 1020’s a pilgrim hostel and a hospital was built honouring Saint John, also here was founded the Maltese Order of Knights by the middle of the XII. century. In 1027 AD the rebuilding of the Holy Grave Temple started and with this came into being the Order of the Holy Grave Knights by the mid 1100’s. From 1017~1018 AD Saint Stephen, the king of Hungarians started building pilgrim hostels from Jerusalem to Rome that brought along the foundation of the Cruciferi Sancti Stephani Regis (original name in Latin) between 1150 and 1160. The mother-house of the Order was in Jerusalem. As all knight orders, the Order of Saint Stephen Knights was also subject to the Pope. The first house of Stephaniten in Hungary was in the town of Esztergom and this was their centre after the fall of the Holy Land. The Turkish occupation of Hungary disrupted their history for a long time.
The Hungarian knightly ideals have been very important elements from the beginning of the sovereign, Christian, Hungarian statehood. King Saint Stephen personally laid the organisational foundation of this Knight Order when he had the hospitals and pilgrim houses founded. Saint Ladislaus, the “knight-king” carried on this work. King Géza the 2nd completed this work by establishing the Cruciferi Sancti Regis Stephani knight order in the middle of the XII. century. (The Hungarian version of the name is: Szent István Lovagrend.) The Kings of Hungary helped the other Christian knight orders also, such as the Maltese Knight Order, the Holy Grave Knighthood, etc., everywhere in the country. Following the tradition, these Knight Orders started functioning in Hungary at the end of the XX. century due to the hopeful signs of change in history. After a long ground-breaking work Cardinal Dr. Ladislaus Paskai, Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest on 20th August 1993 permitted the functioning of the Order of Saint Stephen Knights as canonical consociation private in the Catholic Church.
The Cruciferi Sancti Stephani Regis functions within the legal framework of the Catholic Church and for this reason it is a canonical (and through this secular) legal person. It is under the supreme jurisdiction of the Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, who also is the Chief Patron of the Order. The “fatherland” of the Order is Hungary, and within this the Esztergom-Budapest diocese. The Order has a catholic and a protestant class, and beside the Catholic Christians, Calvinist and Lutheran Christians also can become members. The head of the Order is always a Catholic. Every christian man or woman may apply for admission into the Order based on voluntary decision and subject to meeting the conditions. The Stephanitens consider the self-restraining life and the christian marriage great virtue.
The basic goal of the Order is to promote the Glory of God through the lives of the members, of the Faith and of the Christianity, as well as serving Hungarians and in general their fellowmen in need. For this it spreads and strengthens the virtues of love and brotherhood, it practices deeds of mercy, especially by helping pilgrims, refugees, exiles, the banished, the abandoned and the poor and strengthening their faith in God. It is also a very important activity of the Order to help the victims of disasters and wars.
The special task of the Stephaniten Order is to serve the interests of the Hungarian Nation standing on the foundation of the Christian faith and morals, to nurse the historical traditions and to turn with a special attention to Hungarians living beyond the borders of Hungary – especially in the Carpathian Basin.
The Order has two groups beside the main block inside Hungary, one in Transsylvania and one is in the USA.
The Order collects and accepts donations for reaching its goals. It operates spiritual and material means in the service of the Faith and subject to the unconditional success resulting from the practice of the knightly virtues.
For reaching these goals the Cruciferi Sancti Stephani Regis asks for the support, donations and collaboration of all compassionate souls.
Data of the Order of Saint Stephen Knights:
Church address: Saint Stephen Basilica of Budapest and the Holy Righthand Chapel
Address: H-1014 Budapest, Úri u. 49. Hungary
Telephone of the Magister Magnus: (+36)-1-3382-560
Home page: http://stefanitalovagrend.communio.hu//
Bank Acct.: Magyarországi Volksbank Rt. H-1088 Budapest, Rákóczi út 7.
Acct.No.: HUF (Ft) 14100000-34297249-01000005