Who is the new patron of Košice?

Naming the new patron symbolically closes a circle as the saint has been worshipped in the city for centuries, according to the mayor.

The ceremonial mass in St Elizabeth's Cathedral in Košice.The ceremonial mass in St Elizabeth's Cathedral in Košice. (Source: TASR)

The eastern Slovak city of Košice has a new patron saint.

The picture of St Elizabeth of Hungary exhibited at the vestibule of the historical town hall in Košice was blessed on November 16 by Košice Metropolitan Archbishop Bernard Bober on the occasion of naming her the patron of the city.

The painting by an unknown artist depicts St Elizabeth giving alms. It was painted in 1737 to celebrate 500 years since she was canonised, the TASR newswire reported.

The cult has been around for centuries

The new patron of Košice was ceremonially announced a day later, on November 17, during a mass held at the St Elizabeth’s Cathedral.

On this occasion, Bober gave a decree confirming the patronage to Mayor Jaroslav Polaček. The decree was issued in October by the Vatican-based Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, after the proposal was approved by the city council and the archbishop back in April.

“We symbolically close the circle since the cult of St Elizabeth has been present in Košice for centuries, while the city councilmen were using her picture on seals already in the 13th century,” Polaček said, as quoted by TASR. “She has not been declared the city patron though.”

Who was St Elizabeth of Hungary?

St Elizabeth of Hungary, also known as St Elizabeth of Thuringia, was born in 1207 as the daughter of King Andrew II of Hungary and his wife, Gertrude of Merania.

Elizabeth was married at the age of 14, and widowed at 20. After her husband’s death, she sent her children away and regained her dowry, using the money to build a hospital where she herself served the sick.

She became a symbol of Christian charity after her death at the age of 24 and was canonised in 1235.

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