The Cult of Saint Katherine of Alexandria in Medieval Upper Hungarian Towns
Eötvös Loránd University, School for Historical Studies, Medieval Hungarian History Doctoral Program
The aim of this article is to survey the cult of St Katherine of Alexandria in towns of medieval Upper Hungary (today mostly in Slovakia). In the first part, I briefly summarize the origin of the veneration of St Katherine and the beginning of her cult in Hungary. The geographical scope of my own research is the Upper Hungarian region, mainly the towns. The veneration of St Katherine has left most traces in the towns settled by Germans. Some of her earliest churches were established by families of German origin in the thirteenth century. Interestingly, St Katherine’s cult became significant in several mining towns, presumably from the fourteenth century, and her popularity there suggests that she might have been venerated as a miners’ saint (together with St Barbara). The heyday of Katherine’s cult was the late Middle Ages, when her veneration spread to other towns: confraternities and altars were dedicated to her honor and her life was depicted on several altarpieces.