Franciscan church in Pozsony
720th Anniversary of Pozsony Church
The oldest still functioning church in the Old City of Pozsony, that of the Annunciation, was consecrated in March of 1297 by the archbishop of Esztergom, with five other bishops and King András III also in attendance. The 720th anniversary was celebrated on March 24th this year with Mass in Hungarian and another Mass celebrated by the archbishop in Slovak. Other programs followed.
Some time later, in the 14th century, a Franciscan monastery was built next to the church, becoming the center of the oldest Franciscan province in Hungary. Over time, additional chapels and other buildings in varying architectural styles were added to the church complex. Earthquakes in the late 16th century caused enough damage to have the church rebuilt in Renaissance style. With rebuilding, expansion and redesign, Gothic and Baroque styles mingle within and without the church.
A relief depicting the Annunciation which had adorned the front of the church above the entrance unfortunately was destroyed over the years by wars and fires. The Gothic façade was rebuilt in Baroque style in 1745, with a statue of Mary flanked by two angels.
The church played an important part in the history of the city and of the country. This is where the mayors of Pozsony were elected, for over two centuries. But more importantly (between 1563 and 1830), it was also the site where immediately following the crowning ceremony, the newly crowned kings, in their first official act, knighted members of the nobility who were deemed worthy to become Knights of the Golden Spur.
These Hungarian Knights of the Golden Spur are not to be confused with the papal order of the same name. In Hungary, they were not an official order of knights; they had no special privileges nor duties, nor even organization nor regulations. Those having been dubbed knights with the sword of St. Stephen were merely entitled to put on a golden spur to add to the pomp of the coronation ceremonies.
References to this as part of the coronation ceremony have been found in ancient documents as early as the time of the kings of the house of Árpád (10th to the 14th centuries).
At first, there were no set standards for who could be dubbed a knight. At his coronation in 1563, King Maximilian of the House of Habsburg so honored some of those who had distinguished themselves in the fight against the Turks. But many people not worthy of this honor crowded in for the ceremony so that it had to be suspended.
Over time, not only members of the nobility were admitted to this chosen group, but members of all social strata were accepted.
By the 19th century, the prime minister submitted suggestions of who should be made a Knight of the Golden Spur.
King Charles IV, the last Hungarian king, dubbed a number of knights at his coronation in 1916, and donated a badge to each.
Probably due to Hungarian influence, the dubbing of knights at the coronation ceremony was also customary in Poland (from the 14th century on), and among the Czechs (since the 15th century).
Since the 1920 Treaty of Trianon, Pozsony is part of Slovakia and is now known as Bratislava.