Archive for the ‘Andronicus I Comnenus’ Tag

Feast of Blessed Irene of Hungary (August 13)   1 comment

Above:  Emperor John II Commenus and Empress Irene with the Madonna and Child

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED IRENE OF HUNGARY (1088-AUGUST 13, 1134)

Hungarian Princess and Byzantine Empress

Also known as Piroska

Blessed Irene of Hungary comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via the Roman Catholic Church.

In the olden days, royal marriages were frequently political, sealing alliances between kingdoms and empires.  Thus, in 1105, the new alliance between the Kingdom of Hungary and the Byzantine Empire (which always called itself the Roman Empire) came into existence with the marriage of the Hungarian princess Piroska and the heir to the Byzantine (Roman) throne, the future Emperor John II Comnenus (reigned 1118-1143).  The immediate threat to the Byzantine (Roman) Empire in the west came from Normans, and the threat in the east came from the Seljuk Turks.

Above:  Map of Southeastern Europe in 1105

Image in the Public Domain

Piroska, born in Esztergom, Hungary, was a daughter of Queen Adelaide of Swabia and King St. Ladislaus I (reigned 1077-1095; feast days = June 27 and 30).  Piroska, as Irene, was the Byzantine (Roman) Empress from 1118 to 1134.  She gave birth to eight children, including the Emperor Manuel I Comnenus (reigned 1143-1180).  A grandson was Manuel I’s son, Emperor Alexius II Comnenus (reigned 1180-1183).  Andronicus I Comnenus (reigned 1183-1185), descended from Isaac, brother of John II.  Subsequent rulers of that dynasty descended from Theodora, sister of John II and Isaac.

(Aside:  My source for the family tree of Emperor John II Comnenus and Empress Irene, within the Comnenus Dynasty, is a dynastic family tree chart on page 232 of the sixth edition of The Encyclopedia of World History (2001), Peter N. Stearns, General Editor.   Certain sources on the internet disagree with the genealogical chart in this reference work.  They list other Byzantine (Roman) Emperors as being sons of our saint.  Not all sources are equal.)

Blessed Irene also gave generously to worthy causes.  She gave to help to poor, finance the construction of Christ Pantocrator Monastery in Constinople, and to fund the hospital (open to all) associated with that monastery.

Blessed Irene, aged about 46 years, died in Constantinople on August 13, 1134.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 4, 2021 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF CHARLES SIMEON, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND PROMOTER OF MISSIONS; HENRY MARTYN, ANGLICAN PRIEST, LINGUIST, TRANSLATOR, AND MISSIONARY; AND ABDUL MASIH, INDIAN CONVERT AND MISSIONARY

THE FEAST OF HENRY SUSO, GERMAN ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYR, PREACHER, AND SPIRITUAL WRITER

THE FEAST OF JOHN EDGAR PARK, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN THEN CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF PAUL CUFFEE, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MISSIONARY TO THE SHINNECOCK NATION

THE FEAST OF THOMAS HORNBLOWER GILL, ENGLISH UNITARIAN THEN ANGLICAN HYMN WRITER

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Almighty God, you have surrounded us with a great cloud of witnesses:

Grant that we, encouraged by the good example of your servant Blessed Irene of Hungary,

may persevere in running the race that is set before us,

until at last we may with her attain to your eternal joy;

through Jesus Christ, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever.  Amen.

Micah 6:6-8

Psalm 15

Hebrews 12:1-2

Matthew 25:31-40

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 724

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