A Short History of the Monastery

In 996 Prince Géza settled monks from Bohemia on the Sacred Mount of Pannonia. The monastery erected in honour of Saint Martin of Tours had become the eastern bridgehead of medieval European culture as the Prince intended. Even Saint Stephen (1000-1038), the first Hungarian king was a frequent guest within its walls.

Abbot Uros (1207-1243), the commissioner of the still existing church fought off the Mongols from the walls of the monastery-stronghold. In the time of Abbot Máté Tolnai Pannonhalma acquired a distinguished position among the Hungarian Benedictine monasteries and in 1541 it became an archabbey. During one and a half centuries of the Turkish Occupation, the monks, however, had to flee for shorter or longer periods of time. Only later could they start the reconstruction of the damaged buildings. During the time of Archabbot Benedek Sajghó a major baroque construction was in progress in the monastery.

The 18th century, the era of the Enlightment also influenced the life of the monasteries. The state and the monarchs judged the operation of the communities according to immediate utility, and basically they found only those orders justifiable which practised nursing and education. Since the tradition represented by the Rule of Saint Benedict does not place the emphasis on the work of the community but on community life itself, Joseph II, in 1786, supressed all the monasteries of the Hungarian Benedictine Congregation.

The order was restored in 1802 and received secondary education as its primary field of activity.

After 1945 the properties of the Order and the schools run by the Benedictines were confiscated by the communist state. From 1950 on, however, the government permitted the secondary schools in Győr and in Pannonhalma to function again. Even in those hard times the community remained devoted to the service of God.

The Archabbey has been engaged in the renewal of the liturgy following the guidelines of the Second Vatican Council. A workshop of monks prepares the Hungarian translation of the monastic Liturgy of Hours with tunes and melodies fitting to the Hungarian psalm texts.
Since the end of communism in Hungary, the Benedictine community of Pannonhalma, besides continuing educational work, has been trying to find funds to make it possible for them to fulfil their role in the Church and in secular life as well.

You can read more about medieval Benedictine monasteries here: http://paradisum.osb.hu