Transcript of the Catholic hymn to Virgin Mary of Honvédhalom, Hungary



Transcript of the Catholic hymn to Virgin Mary of Honvédhalom, Hungary
A honvédhalmi kegyhelyen énekelt Mária himnusz átirata


These pictures depict the handwritten and transcribed version of a Catholic hymn addressed to the Virgin Mary of Honvédhalom. The 33 verses of the hymn were noted down by an informer.
The hymn seemed dangerous from the perspective of the secret police as it encouraged participation at Honvédhalom, a pilgrimage site of regional importance in the Eger Archdiocese, in northern Hungary. Apparitions at this site, and the associated pilgrimages, date back to the late 18th century but the popularity of the place reached its peak between 1947 and 1975. The Archdiocese did not approve of believers visiting the Honvédhalom pilgrimage site nor the local holy well and the Church authorities prohibited attendance at the illegal pilgrimage site. A circular was issued by the archbishopric in 1975 in order to prevent people from going to the “anti-religious and fake pilgrimage site.” In the circular, the Archbishop of Eger expresses his request that all statues and alters be removed from the site and housed in nearby churches and graveyards. It is also revealed in the circular that the water of the holy well at Honvédhalom had been inspected by the Heves county Public Health and Disease Control Office and the water was found to be infected. Eventually, in 1975 state authorities decided to take the drastic measure of blowing up the holy well of Honvédhalom.
The file in which the hymn is found consists of reports on various issues from the Eger Archdiocese between 1957 and 1960. Among many other ecclesiastical issues, agent ‘Asztalos János’ collected information on the illegal pilgrimage site of Honvédhalom. The reports from 1959-60 recount the history of the pilgrimage site, introduce some of the main propagators and organizers of rituals. Asztalos also notes that locals collected money in order to build a chapel at Honvédhalom. The detailed description in the file also gives us a good understanding of the rituals that evolved around the pilgrimage site. We learn that pilgrims – mainly Catholics but Baptsits as well - arrived from various locations on horse carriages and buses in organized groups. According to the accounts, pilgrims pray, preach the end of the world and some have visions of the Virgin Mary when at the pilgrimage site. These apparitions are shared with the pilgrims and they listen in awe. Collective singing formed an organic part of these pilgrimages. Asztalos reports that he finds the hymn especially dangerous as the 33-verss local Marian hymn contains messages against the socialist system and irredentist lines such as asking Virgin Mary to restore the ‘Great Hungary’.

The translation of verses 14, 15 and 16 reads as follows:
Oh, healer of the sick,
Consoler of sufferers.
Our Lady of Ransom,
we beg you to bring them home.
Protect their body and soul,
and martyr life. […]
We were better Christians before,
we have faulted.
Blasphemy, desecration,
you hear more than devotion.
If we do not convert,
We are doomed eternally.
Virgin of Honvédhalom,
Hungaria is lost and wasted
we are persecuted for our faith
and our hearts numbed.
Give use your sacred heart,
and embrace your people.

The agent also recounts a legend according to which the building materials carried away by the local council could not be used for anything by the authorities as they were collected for the Honvédhalom pilgrimage site and when they tried to use it for building the ‘hand of God’ appeared in the form of a fire or illness.
In the 2000s, the local community decided to restore the holy well, however, its popularity does not compare to that between 1947-1975.

The handwritten and transcribed version of the hymn is included in file ÁBTL 3.1.2 M–13238.

For related entries see:


Communism and Christianity--Europe, Eastern
Communism--Europe, Eastern--History--20th century
Secret police (secret service)
Religious groups


Kinga Povedák


Állambiztonsági Szolgálatok Történeti Levéltára, 3.1.2. M-13238




Állambiztonsági Szolgálatok Történeti Levéltára








Állambiztonsági Szolgálatok Történeti Levéltára, 3.1.2. M-13238


20th century

Bibliographic Citation

Kinga Povedák, "Transcript of the Catholic hymn to Virgin Mary of Honvédhalom, Hungary,"

Date Created


Site pages

New Tags

I agree with terms of use and I accept to free my contribution under the licence CC BY-SA.