Alexander Rudnay

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His Eminence
Alexander Rudnay
Cardinal Archbishop of Esztergom
Alexander Rudnay.jpg
Appointed 28 July 1819
Term ended 13 September 1831
Predecessor Karl Ambrose Ferdinand von Habsburg
Successor József Kopácsy
Ordination 12 October 1783
Consecration 21 April 1816
by Sigismund Anton von Hohenwart
Created Cardinal 15 December 1828
Rank Cardinal
Personal details
Born 4 October 1760
Szentkereszt, Kingdom of Hungary (today Slovakia)
Died 13 September 1831
Esztergom, Kingdom of Hungary
Buried Esztergom Basilica
Nationality Hungarian
Denomination Roman Catholic
Parents Andrej (András) Rudnay
Anna Dőryová (Dőry)
Previous post Bishop of Transilvania, Erdély, Siebenbürgen (1816-1819)
Signature {{{signature_alt}}}
Coat of arms {{{coat_of_arms_alt}}}
Bilingual (Hungarian and Slovak) plaque in Esztergom

Alexander Stefan Rudnay de Rudna et Divékujfalu[1][2] (Hungarian: rudnai és divékujfalusi Rudnay Sándor István; 4 October 1760 – 13 September 1831) was a Hungarian Roman Catholic priest of Slovak[3] ethnicity. He started as a parish priest, but later he became the Archbishop of Esztergom, the Prince Primate of the Kingdom of Hungary[4] and a Cardinal.


Alexander Rudnay was born to a family of lower nobility,[5] which originated from the ancient Hungarian gens (clan) Divék.[6] The Rudnay family also preserved its coat of arms from the genus: a brown bear under an extensive foliage of tee with blue background.[7][8] His parents were András (Andrej) Rudnay,[9] a servants' judge (Hungarian: szolgabíró; Latin: iudex nobilium) and Anna Dőry[2] (Dőryová).[10] He studied in secondary school (gymnasium) in Nitra (Nyitra), later in Emerican in Pressburg, philosophy in Trnava (Nagyszombat), theology in Buda and, finally, in the general seminary in Pressburg.

He was ordained on October 12, 1783 in Trnava and, in April 1784, he received his doctor degree in theology. In January 1785 started his spiritual career, and he was sent as a chaplain to Častá (Cseszte). Afterwards, he served in Hronský Beňadik (Garamszentbenedek), Trnava and Krušovce (Nyitrakoros). In 1805 he became the canonical clergyman in Esztergom, 1806 rector of the priest seminary in Trnava and, a theology professor, 1808 a titular bishop, a general vicarius in Esztergom, and a viceroy's councilor. He was appointed as the bishop of Transylvania seated in Gyulafehérvár in 1816. In December 1819 Alexander Rudnay obtained the papal bull with his nomination to archbishop of Esztergom and primate of Hungary.[2] Upon the emperor's personal request, he moved his seat 1820 from Trnava to Esztergom. He was further the member of the Table of the Lords, secretary of the royal chancellery, and of the Secret Council. He adhered to the imperial court in Vienna and supported the Slovak culture, especially he saw that Slovak parishes were assigned to Slovak priests. In 1828, pope Leo XII named him a Cardinal.[2] It is from this period that his most famous statement comes: „Slavus sum, et si in catedra Petri forem, Slavus ero.“ (I am a Slav, and I shall remain one, even if I were to sit in the Chair of Saint Peter.)[4]


Inspired by the movement of Enlightenment this progressive clergyman supported the spiritual development of Slovaks and their national revival. In 1822 as archbishop of Esztergom and primas of Hungary, he began the construction of the Esztergom Basilica. personally contributing 815,696 forints. It is also the place of his final rest.

  • Erköltsi Keresztény Oktatások különösen a fenyitö házakban raboskodónak remélhetö megjobbitásokra (Christian Moral Teachings especially for the Betterment of Prisoners), 1819
  • Kázne príhodné, ai iné, to gest: 82 reči duchownich.. (Occasional and Other Sermons, i.e.: 82 spiritual speeches...), 1833
  • various pastoral letters, speeches, preaching published individually


  • Esztergom, Hungary: One of the main squares of Esztergom named after Sándor Rudnay. His plaque located at the wall of Szent Anna church.
  • Váchartyán, Hungary: Suburban estate Rudnaykert ("Rudnay Garden") named after him.
  • Bratislava, Slovakia: The square in front of St. Martin's Dome named after him.
  • In 2002, the Slovak Postal Office issued a stamp with a face value of 17 crowns in his remembrance.

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External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
József Mártonffy
Bishop of Transylvania
Succeeded by
Ignác Szepesy
Preceded by
Archduke Karl of Austria-Este
Archbishop of Esztergom
Succeeded by
József Kopácsy