1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Pázmány, Péter

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PÁZMÁNY, PÉTER (1570–1637), Hungarian cardinal and statesman, was born at Nagyvárad on the 4th of October 1570, and educated at Nagyvárad and Kolozsvár, at which latter place he quitted the Calvinist confession for the Roman communion (1583). In 1587 he entered the Jesuit order. Pázmány went through his probation at Cracow, took his degree at Vienna, and studied theology at Rome, and finally completed his academic course at the Jesuit college at Graz. In 1601 he was sent to the order’s establishment at Sellye, where his eloquence and dialectic won back hundreds to Rome, including many of the noblest families. Prince Nicholas Esterházy and Paul Rákózy were among his converts. In 1607 he was attached to the archbishop of Esztergom, and in the following year attracted attention by his denunciation, in the Diet, of the 8th point of the peace of Vienna, which prohibited the Jesuits from acquiring landed property in Hungary. At about the same time the pope, on the petition of the emperor Matthias II., released Pázmány from his monkish vows. On the 25th of April 1616 he was made dean of Turócz, and on the 28th of September became primate of Hungary. He received the red hat from Urban VIII. in 1629. Pázmány was the soul of the Roman Catholic reaction in Hungary. Particularly remarkable is his Igazságra vezetó Kalauz (Guide to Truth), which appeared in 1613. This manual united all the advantages of scientific depth, methodical arrangement and popular style. As the chief pastor of the Hungarian church Pázmány used every means in his power, short of absolute contravention of the laws, to obstruct and weaken Protestantism, which had risen during the 16th century. In 1619 he founded a seminary for theological candidates at Nagyszombat, and in 1623 laid the foundations of a similar institution at Vienna, the still famous Pazmanaeum, at a cost of 200,000 florins. In 1635 he contributed 100,000 florins towards the foundation of a Hungarian university. He also built Jesuit colleges and schools at Pressburg, and Franciscan monasteries at Ersékújvár and Kormoczbánya. In politics he played a considerable part. It was chiefly due to him that the diet of 1618 elected the archduke Ferdinand to succeed the childless Matthias II. He also repeatedly thwarted the martial ambitions of Gabriel Bethlen, and prevented George Rákóczy I, over whom he had a great influence, from combining with the Turks and the Protestants. But Pázmány’s most unforgettable service to his country was his creation of the Hungarian literary language. As an orator he well deserved the epithet of “the Hungarian purple Cicero” Of his numerous works the chief are: The Four Books of Thomas à Kempis on the imitation of Christ (Hung., 1603), of which there are many editions; Diatribe theologica de visibili Christi in terris ecclesia (Graz, 1615); Vindiciae ecclesiasticae (Vienna, 1620); Sermons for every Sunday in the Year (Hung., Pressburg, 1636); The Triumph of Truth (Hung., Pressburg, 1614).

See Vilmés Fraknói, Peter Pázmány and his Times (Hung Pest, 1868–1872); Correspondence of Pázmany (Hung. and Latin), published by the Hungarian Academy (Pest, 1873). (R. N. B.) 

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