It was Pope John Paul II who declared the 2nd of February the day of the holy lives, the day of the religious orders in 1997. The pope wanted to spread the knowledge and recognition of religious orders and give a chance to monks to marvel at the beauty of their lives and the miracles the Lord mediates through them for the sake of the church and the world.

A religious order is a lineage of communities and organizations of people who live in some way set apart from society (usually in monasteries) in accordance with their specific religious devotion, usually characterized by the principles of its founder’s religious practice. Religious orders exist in many of the world’s religions.

A great number of male and female religious orders can be found in Hungary. Probably the most famous and most visited is the Pannonhalma Archabbey, which was founded in 996 by the members of the most ancient Western religious order on a sacred mountain dedicated to St. Martin. It is an active Benedictine monastery and World Heritage Site. The monastery quickly became an important centre of Christianity and medieval culture in Eastern Europe. The monks of Pannonhalma Abbey successfully converted the unruly Hungarians to Christianity, founded Hungary’s first school, and produced the first document in the Hungarian language in 1055. It welcomes visitors to explore its forested grounds and buildings, which include a 13th-century Gothic church with Baroque additions, a beautiful 19th-century library, and a modern reception building.

The only order found by a Hungarian is the Order of St. Paul the Hermit, also known simply as Pauline Fathers, is a monastic order of the Roman Catholic Church. The Order of St. Paul the Hermit was founded in 1215 in Hungary. The founder of the Order was Blessed Eusebius, Canon of Esztergom. The members of the Order were actually hermits who lived in caves in Hungary.

The monastic order spread throughout the countries of Hungary, Poland, Croatia, Austria and Bavaria. After a period of time the government ordered the closing of many monasteries. However, they persevered in Poland, where they furthered devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and also at the main monastery in Czestochowa, where they still continue to reside. The order’s Hungarian centre is in Pécs, but a well-known Pauline place is the Sziklatemplom as well.

The Sapientia College of Theology is the main institution of the after-growth of religious orders in Hungary. It is a joint institution of three religious orders with great tradition in the Catholic Church: the Benedictines (OSB), the Friars Minor (OFM) and Piarists (SchP). The Sapientia College has two aspects: on one hand, it is a young and dynamic academic community, and on the other, it has a vivid tradition of the Catholic faith and a theological heritage drawing from the various spiritualities lived out in the state of the consecrated life.

Photo: www.facebook.com/PannonhalmiBencesek

Copy editor: bm

Source: Daily News Hungary

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