Gisela of Hungary, the first queen consort of Hungary, played a crucial role in transforming pagan Hungary into a Christian state by marrying Hungary's first Christian king, Stephen I. Her duty was to help Stephen I in Christianising the country and building a modern, Medieval Hungarian state. However, what happened to her after her husband's death?
Gisela's Role in Founding a Modern, Medieval State
Gisela's role in founding a modern, Medieval Hungarian state was significant. She helped Hungary establish peace with the mighty Holy Roman Empire and receive help from the West to organise a smoothly running state. Along with Stephen I, she also played a key role in creating the coronation pall, the only contemporary artefact of Saint Stephen's age, which is displayed in the Hungarian National Museum.
Gisela's Difficult Situation After Stephen I's Death
After Stephen I's death, Gisela found herself in a challenging situation when Peter Orseolo, who was named Stephen's successor, failed to become a strong ruler. Neither Peter nor his adversary, Sámuel Aba, treated Gisela well. After Sámuel Aba died, Gisela fled Hungary in 1044 and went to Passau, where she joined a nunnery and worked as its head until she died in 1065.
Gisela's Legacy and Beatification
Gisela of Hungary's grave became a popular pilgrimage site, and in 1975, she was beatified. Although she was not buried with her husband, a millennium after their wedding, part of their remains, including Stephen I’s right hand (the so-called 'Holy Right') and a bone from Gisela's arm, were united and placed in the basilica of Veszprém, where she once lived. Her cross and bones are in Munich.
Gisela of Hungary's contributions to transforming Hungary into a Christian state and creating a modern, Medieval Hungarian state cannot be overlooked. Her legacy lives on with the coronation pall and the united remains of her and her husband.
Questions & Answers
Who was Gisela of Hungary? Gisela of Hungary was the first queen consort of Hungary, sister of Henry II, Holy Roman Emperor, and wife of Stephen I, Hungary's first Christian king.
What was Gisela's role in Hungary's Christianisation? Gisela's duty was to marry Stephen I and help him Christianise the country, thus establishing a modern, Medieval Hungarian state. Her marriage to Stephen also brought peace and support from the West in organising a smoothly running state.
How many children did Gisela have with Stephen I? Gisela and Stephen I had two sons, Otto who died as an infant, and Prince Emeric who died during boar hunting in 1031.
What happened to Gisela after Stephen I died? After Stephen I's death without a direct heir, Gisela found herself in a difficult situation. Stephen I named Peter Orseolo as his successor, but Peter was not a strong ruler. Neither Peter nor his adversary, Sámuel Aba, treated Gisela well, forcing her to flee Hungary in 1044. She joined a nunnery and worked as its head in Passau until her death in 1065.
Where is Gisela buried? Gisela was not buried with her husband. However, in 1996, a millennium after their wedding, part of Gisela's remains, a bone from her arm, was united with Stephen I's right hand (the 'Holy Right') in Veszprém Basilica, where she once lived. Her cross and bones are in Munich.
What was Gisela's contribution to Hungarian art? Gisela and her ladies created the only contemporary artifact of Saint Stephen's age, the coronation pall, which is displayed in the Hungarian National Museum. The pall is a depiction of Gisela of Hungary.
Was Gisela of Hungary canonized? Gisela was beatified in 1975, and her grave became a popular pilgrimage site.