Europe Hungary
church of Saint Matthias

A brief description.

The Dominicans in Buda.

The Dominicans in Buda received the request by the German community to build a 'Liebfrauenkirche' in 1255. This church was completed in 1269 and received the protection of the Kings of Hungary. Károl Róbert of Anjou was there crowned as King in 1309 and Zsigmond in 1387.

The church has been popularly named after the greatest Hungarian King, Matthias Corvinus, "Matthias the Just", known in Hungarian as Mátyás király, who ordered the construction of its original southern tower. In many respects, the 700 year history of the church serves as a symbol (or perhaps a reminder for Hungarians) of the city's rich, yet often tragic history.

Any Hungarian historian of note will tell you that the darkest period in the church's history was the century and a half of Turkish occupation. The vast majority of its ecclesiastical treasures were shipped to Pressburg (present day Bratislava) and following the capture of Buda in 1541 the church became the city's main mosque. To add insult to injury, ornate frescoes that previously adorned the walls of the building were whitewashed and interior furnishings stripped out.

The church was also a place of the so called Mary-wonder. In 1686 during the siege of Buda by the Holy League a wall of the church collapsed due to cannonfire. It turned out that an old votive Madonna statue was hidden behind the wall. As the scuplture of the Virgin Mary appeared before the praying Muslims, the morale of the garrison collapsed and the city fell on the same day.

On 02.09.1686 the Turkish army was defeated by Carol of Lorraine and the Jesuits completed the church in Baroque-style, and built a house and a seminary. Between 1874 and 1896 Frigyes Schulek rebuilt the - Dominican and Jesuit - Matthias church into a neogothic church.

Not only was the church restored to its original 13th century plan but a number of early original Gothic elements were uncovered. By also adding new motifs of his own (such as the diamond pattern roof tiles and gargoyles laden spire) Schulek ensured that the work, when finished, would be highly controversial. Today however, Schulek's restoration provides visitors with one of the most prominent and characteristic features of Budapest's cityscape.

                                          Church of Saint Matthias with the Trinity Statue.

Inside, visitors tend to head straight for the Ecclesiastical Art museum which begins in the medieval crypt and leads up to the St. Stephen Chapel. The gallery contains a number of sacred relics and medieval stone carvings, along with replicas of the Hungarian royal crown and coronation jewels.

In 1994, Serb terrorists have attempted to blow up the church by placing a bomb near the Gara chapel. Part of the church was indeed blown up, but fortunately nobody got hurt. In 1995, the church was fully repaired.

Spurces: Wikipedia
            :  Others


Ancient city and fortresss of Buda with the churches
of Saint Nicholas and of Saint Matthias.

Hungary 1936, Mi 538,539,542; Sc  498, 499, 502.    

The church of Saint Matthias

                                                                On order (Man).

Hungary 1943, Mi 721, Sc -

Church of Saint Matthias and the Hilton Hotel with remains
of the Dominican priory and church of Saint Nicholas.

Hungary 1958, Mi 1570, Sc C200.



View (1470) on the Casttle Hill (Vár-hegi) with
at the right,
with the great tower, the church of Saint Matthias.

   Hungary 1971, Mi 2646, Sc B284.



The churches of Saint Matthias and Saint Nicholas
on an engraving of Buda 1638.

Hungary 1971, Mi 2648, Sc





On the hill at the left side the church of Saint Matthias.

Hungary 1984 Mi Bl 174, Sc 2859.



The church of Saint Matthias on the left side.

Hungary 1985, Mi 3735, Sc 2904.


Post card of Budapest honouring the spring festival
with the church of Saint Matthias and the Hilton
hotel, where are remains of the priory of the

Hungary 1989. Post card.



The Castle Hill (Vár-hegi) of Buda with the churches of Saint
Matthias and Saint Nicholas, and a horseman courier. 
Engraving by Ferenc Helbing (1870-1959).

Hungary 1992, Mi Bl 221; Sc 3364.



Engraving from 'Weltchronik' by Schedel (1493):
The church of Saint Matthias and the priory and church of Saint Nicholas.

Hungary 1987, Mi Bl 191, Sc 3085.




Return to    REGISTER B              Return to   HOMEPAGE