The heart of Otto von Habsburg, the son of the last King of Hungary, was interred in the Benedictine Archabbey of Pannonhalma, north-western Hungary, late on Sunday.
The politician Habsburg, who died at the age of 98 on July 4, was laid to rest in the Imperial Crypt under the Capuchin Church in Vienna on Saturday. But his heart was interred separately, at his own request, in the abbey where he was once a student.
The heart was interred in a ceremony with vespers, in Latin, and an ecumenical prayer.
Speaking before the interment, Archabbot Asztrik Varszegi said it was a matter of pride for the abbey that Otto von Habsburg had been true to what he had learnt as a Benedictine student till the end. He esteemed Habsburg as a confessing Catholic Christian, a cultured European politician, “a wonderful person who felt with a Hungarian heart” and a good father.
Afterward, Reformed Bishop Gusztav Bolcskei, Lutheran Bishop Tamas Fabinyi, Chief Rabbi Zsolt Markovics and Bishop Archabbot Varszegi said an ecumenical prayer of blessing as Habsburg’s two sons, Karoly and Gyorgy, brought the urn into the crypt where it was placed in the floor.
About a hundred Habsburg family members participated at the ceremony.
Deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Semjen represented the Hungarian government at the event, in the company of his wife.
Pannonhalma Prior Cirill Hortobagyi told MTI earlier that Habsburg graduated from the abbey’s secondary school, where he studied Hungarian language, literature and history. He recalled that Habsburg had visited the abbey in 1990, not long after the fall of communism, to place flowers on the graves of his former teachers. During an official visit to the abbey in 2002, Habsburg signed the guest book as “Benedictine student”.