Servant of God József Mindszenty

Birth into heaven: 6 May 1975


József Mindszenty was born on 29 March 1892 in Csehimindszent, Hungary. He studied in Szombathely and he was ordained priest on 12 June 1915. His first book was published under the title "The Mother". The communist revolutionary government had the dynamic teacher of religion arrested on 9 February 1919, without any reason, and interned him to his village of birth. Following the fall of the proletarian dictatorship, he became parish priest of Zalaegerszeg at the unanimous request of the inhabitants of the town. He invited religious orders, founded schools and residences, organized associations, built homes for the needy, established a printing house and launched a newspaper. He also represented the interests of his faithful in the local political bodies. He carried out a unique pastoral, cultural and community work, as a result of which he became well-known in the whole of Hungary. His second book was published under the title "Life and Age of Márton Padányi Bíró, Bishop of Veszprém".

He became bishop of Veszprém on 4 March 1944. In fulfilment of his episcopal duties, he drafted the "Memorandum of the Bishops of Western Hungary" demanding the immediate termination of the war, also signed by bishop of Győr Blessed Vilmos Apor. He prohibited the celebration of the Mass of thanksgiving that the town leaders requested to celebrate the deportation of the Jews from Veszprém. The answer was not too long in coming: at the order of the government of the Arrow Cross Party, he was arrested and imprisoned together with the priests and seminarists who were trying to defend him. He was released in April 1945, after four months in prison.

On 2 October 1945, Pope Pius XII appointed him archbishop of Esztergom. His episcopal motto (Pannonia Sacra) and the main figure of his coat of arms, Saint Margaret of Hungary, both reflect his unfailing confidence in the power of prayer and expiation. He was a faithful pastor of his Church and a courageous advocate of his nation's freedom both in Hungary and abroad. He was the first to mitigate the post-war famine and to support the country's reconstruction. He was untiring in travelling around his archdiocese and the entire country in order to strengthen the faith and Hungarian identity of his faithful. Perhaps his most important pastoral initiative was the year of expiation and prayer that he proclaimed for 1947 in honour of Our Lady. He defended all those who were persecuted: the prisoners of war (both soldiers and civilians), the interned people, the political prisoners, the Hungarians persecuted abroad and the humiliated German inhabitants of Hungary.

The developing communist dictatorship could not stand his sincere voice, his popularity and his resistance for long. He was only allowed to exercise his episcopal office actively for three years. He was arrested on 26 December 1948, and after several weeks of torture, he was sentenced to life imprisonment based on feigned charges. His imprisonment marked the beginning of the four decades of persecution of the Hungarian Catholic Church.

He was released thanks to the 1956 revolution because his liberation and return were one of the revolutionaries' main claims. The crushing of the revolution was the beginning of his 15-year-long semi-captivity at the American embassy. He took up the heaviest cross of his life in 1971, when he obeyed the request of Pope Paul VI and left Hungary. He went to live in the Pázmáneum college in Vienna. Despite his advanced age, he tirelessly travelled around the world to visit the communities of exiled Hungarians. He published his Memoirs in the free world. He passed away on 6 May 1975.

He was temporarily buried in the church of Mariazell, rich in Hungarian memories. On 4 May 1991, after the fall of the dictatorship in Hungary, he was buried in the crypt of the primatial basilica of Esztergom according to his will. He was rehabilitated in 1956 and 1990, and he received complete legal, moral and political rehabilitation in 2012. Since the fall of communism, films, books, literary works and musical pieces about his life have been published one after the other. Statues, monuments and commemorative plaques mark all the important places of his life and historical service.

The veneration of the Servant of God József Mindszenty has been uninterrupted for decades, and his tomb has become a real shrine. His process of canonization began in 1994. There are hundreds of thousands of people who pray for it both in Hungary and in the whole world. They have fulfilled the Cardinal's wish of a community of (more than) one million Hungarians in prayer of expiation.

CCS protocol number: 1909

Diocesan inquiry
Competent forum: Archdiocese of Esztergom-Budapest
Competent bishop: Cardinal László Paskai, Cardinal Péter Erdő, primate and archbishop
Postulator: János Szőke SDB
Diocesan inquiry: 19 March 1994 –31 July 1996

Inquiry of the Holy See (CCS)
Postulator (CCS): Andrea Ambrosi
Decree on validity of diocesan inquiry: 8 November 1999
Promulgation of papal decree on heroic virtues:
Promulgation of papal decree on miracle:

Let us pray for his beatification!

Heavenly Father, You willingly accept the sacrifice of your faithful,

which they offer you united to Christ's sacrifice

in order to complete "what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the Church" (Col 1:24). We ask you to accept the humiliations and sacrifices of your servant József Cardinal Mindszenty,

which he, in his life, offered for the Hungarian Church and nation.

May his sufferings continue to be an acceptable sacrifice for the Church and Hungary.

United to him, we offer our prayers and sacrifices

for the spiritual renewal of the Hungarian nation.

If you so will, grant your faithful Hungarian people

to honour your servant József Cardinal Mindszenty among the saints of our Church.

Through Christ, Our Lord. Amen.


Short prayer for the canonization of the Servant of God

Almighty God, you chose József Cardinal Mindszenty

to be a faithful bishop and pastor till his death in times of persecution,

and a living testimony of truth and charity.

We pray you to grant your faithful the joy of

soon honouring him among the saints of our Church.

Through Christ, Our Lord. Amen.


Those who obtain favours through his intercession are asked to notify the
Office of the Archdiocese of Esztergom-Budapest
1014 Budapest, Úri u. 62.

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