A bronze medal of Cardinal Mindszenty, as well as a relic of the martyr of Communism, was offered to the Holy Father through the diplomatic representatives of the Hungarian and Russian embassies during the general audience on May 8, 2019.
The bronze offered to Pope Francis is a replica of the monumental work sculpted by Vladimir Surovtsev, for the city of Esztergom—the Hungarian seat of primacy—in 2015, on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the death of József Cardinal Mindszenty.
The statue, which presents the prelate absorbed in prayer, had itself been offered by the Russian foundation “Artisans of peace by peace” to the Franciscans of Esztergom, in the name of the “purification of memory and reconciliation between the Russian and Hungarian nations,” said the Hungarian Embassy on May 13, 2019.
The Ambassador of Hungary to the Vatican, Eduard Habsburg Lotharingiai, presented the present to the Holy Father, accompanied by Alexander Paklin, charge d'affaires of the Russian Embassy near the Holy See.
Also present were the sculptor, Mr. Vladimir Surovtsev, and the president of the Russian foundation, Mr. Andrei Chizhik.
For his part, Gergely Kovacs, secretary of the Mindszenty Foundation—who organized the pilgrimage to Rome marking the 44th anniversary of the Hungarian prelate’s recall to God—presented to the Holy Father a relic of the deceased cardinal, a small fragment of a robe, inlaid in a marble tablet. The pope, venerating it, exclaimed: “Mindszenty is a martyr!”
The cause for beatification was opened in 1996. On February 12, 2019, Pope Francis signed a decree recognizing the heroic virtues of the primate of Hungary. Sacrificed by Paul VI to the Vatican Ostpolitik, Cardinal Mindszenty remains the symbol of Hungarian Catholic resistance to Communism and a model of a holy bishop.