The Roman Catholic parish church of Our Lady of the Snows, whose history you are holding in your hands, stands in the heart of the Kristina-town district of Buda. Around the end of the 16th and beginning of the 17th century the inhabitants of Buda were being decimated by repeated bouts of the plague. At the time a wealthy burgher living on the Castle Hill, the master chimney-sweep Peter Paul Franczin, made a vow: should he and his family escape he will go on pilgrimage to the shrine of the Blood-weeping Virgin in the North-Italian Vigezzo Valley. From there he returned on foot, with a copy of the relic from that shrine, to Buda, where he had a wooden chapel built to house it. At that time it was known as the "Blood Chapel".
In the fire of 1723 the chapel burnt down, but the picture survived this intact. Soon the chapel was rebuilt and became a much frequented pilgrimage shrine. In 1757 Pope Benedict XIV gave his permission to the celebration of the Blood Chapel's patronal feast on the 5th of August, the feast day of Our Lady of the Snows, and granted plenary indulgence for the octave of the feast on the usual conditions.
By 1795 a new, considerably larger church was already needed, whose foundation-stone was laid on the 13th September of that year and which was completed in two years. The icon was placed in the principal position again.
The beautiful pictures for the side-altars - St Anne, Mater Dolorosa, St John Nepomuk and Mary-Magdalene - were added between 1811-1815.
Until 1821 Franciscans ministered in the church, within the framework of the Castle Parish. At that point it became an independent parish; Jacobus Majsch serving as its first parish priest.
The "Greatest Hungarian" Count Stephen Szťchenyi got married here in 1836, and the "Saviour of Mothers", Dr Ignatius Semmelweiss in 1857.
The church received its current shape by its brilliant extension in 1940. During the Second World War the parish priest was Imre Szabů, later Bishop; he stood by his parishioners heroically during the upheavals of the war.
In 1993 the St Gellťrt [Gerard] Catholic School that functions under the supervision of the parish was founded; in 1997 this was enlarged with a secondary school too. This achievement bears witness to the efforts of the then parish priest Stephen VŠrhegyi.
On the little square between the church and the school stands the capital's most ancient Immaculate Conception statue.
This publication has been compiled from reliable historical documents.
© Krisztinav√°rosi Havas Boldogasszony Pl√©b√°nia