27 June 2011

27 June - Saint Ladislaus of Hungary

Weather: If it rains today, it will rain for seven weeks.


Saint Ladislaus, King of Hungary (born circa 1040, died 29 July 1095), eldest son of Duke Bela (later King Bela I) of Hungary and his wife, Adelaide (or Richeza) of Poland.  For most of his life, he was involved in the intermittent civil wars caused by rival claimants to the crown of Hungary, first by his father who, in accordance with Hungarian tradition, claimed the throne as the eldest member of the royal family after the death of his brother Andrew I, setting aside the claims of Andrew's son, Solomon.  However, as Solomon had already been crowned and maintained control of most of Hungary, Bela and his sons had to flee the country on several occasions.

After the deaths of his father (1063) and his elder brother Geza (1077), Ladislaus was chosen by the Hungarian nobles to be their king.  More battles followed until 1087 when Solomon died without an heir.  He was chosen Commander-in-Chief of First Crusade, but died in 1095, before he could he could lead the armies against the Saracen.

Ladislaus was a very popular  ruler with his subjects, and if half the encomiums heaped on him by Reverend Alban Butler are true, he is fully deserving of that popularity:

By the pertinacious importunity of the people he was compelled, much against his own inclination, to ascend the throne in 1080, the kingdom being then elective. He restored the good laws and discipline which St. Stephen had established, and which seem to have been obliterated by the confusion of the times.  Chastity, meekness, gravity, charity, and piety were from his infancy the distinguishing parts of his character; avarice and ambition were his sovereign aversion, so perfectly had the maxims of the gospel extinguished in him all propensity to those base passions. 

His life in the palace was most austere: he was frugal and abstemious, but most liberal to the Church and poor. Vanity, pleasure, or idle amusements had no share in his actions or time, because all his moments were consecrated to the exercises of religion and the duties of his station, in which he had only the divine will in view, and sought only God’s greater honour. He watched over a strict and impartial administration of justice, was generous and merciful to his enemies, and vigorous in the defence of his country and the Church.