A New "sancta et fidelis societas" for Saint Sigismund of Burgundy: His Cult and Iconography in Hungary during the Reign of Sigismund of Luxemburg
Examining both written and pictorial evidence, this study addresses the diffusion of St. Sigismund’s cult from Bohemia to Hungary during late-14th century and the saint’s subsequent transformation during the 15th century into one of the Hungarian Kingdom’s patrons. In so doing, it assesses the significance of King Sigismund’s actions to promote his personal patron in Hungary and shows that the king emulated the model of his father, Charles IV of Luxemburg. King Sigismund promoted his spiritual patron within his country and associated him with St. Ladislas, the traditional patron of Hungary; he succeeded thus to accommodate the foreign saint to a new home and to transform him for a short interval into one of Hungary’s holy protectors. The natural consequence of this “holy and faithful fellowship” was the cult’s transfer from royal milieu to the kingdom’s nobility. Willing to prove their loyalty to the king, Hungarian noblemen decorated their churches with St. Sigismund’s image and depicted him in the company of sancti reges Hungariae, i.e. Sts Stephen, Emeric, and Ladislas. The study’s larger aim is to illustrate how a period’s political transformations could facilitate the spreading of a new saint’s cult from his cult center to another region, and that a saint’s veneration could be sometimes motivated politically.