Liberty Bridge (Buda side)
Located on Gellert Hill overlooking Liberty Bridge (Szabadsaq Hid) in Budapest, the Cave Church is a unique grotto chapel cared for by the Hungarian Paulite order of monks. Closed during the Communist years, it has since been reopened and offers a peaceful respite from the noise of the city.
This cave on Gellert Hill was originally home to Saint Istvan, a hermit monk who cured the sick with thermal waters that sprung in front of the cave. The Cave Church was founded in 1926 by expanding the hermit’s cave. The church was further enlarged in the 1930s by the Archbishop of Kalocsa to hold more worshippers, using the grotto at Lourdes as a model. In 1951, the Communist secret police arrested the entire order of Pauline monks. The superior Ferenc Vezer was condemned to death, while the others received 5- to 10-year prison sentences. The chapel was blocked up with a 2.25m thick concrete wall, behind which it stood silent for nearly 40 years. After the fall of Communism in 1989, the Cave Church was returned to the Paulite order and immediately reopened.
What to See
The Cave Chapel’s small interior, with natural rock walls and various niches filled with statues and altars, is atmospheric and peaceful. The acoustics of the cave make for a memorable experience when music is played during a service. Outside, there are fine views of Liberty Bridge and a modern statue of St. Istvan holding a church. (From: sacred-destinations.com)
The church carved in rock in 1926 as imitation of the cave of Lourdes at the southern slope of Gellért Hill, and the Pauline monastery built in 1934 are important stages in the twentieth-century reorganisation movement of the order.
In spite of the frequent dissolutions, the Paulines started again their activity in 1989 in their monastery at Buda. Their chapel is one of the most interesting ecclesiastical monuments of the capital.
The Pauline order founded by Hungarians had monasteries at Budaszentlõrinc, close to Buda, and at a part of Óbuda called Fehéregyháza. These monasteries were destroyed in the period of the Turkish Occupation, and the returning monks founded their new monastery in Pest at the site of the later university church. Joseph II. dissolved the order in 1786.
In the Modern Age several intents of reorganisation were made, in vain. Between the two World Wars the Paulines of Poland supported this reorganisation effort.
This is the period when finally, the Pauline monastery on the southern slope of the Gellért Hill and the chapel carved in rock in 1926, designed by Károly Lux imitating the cave of Lourdes, were built. This latter was consecrated in honour of Our Lady of the Hungarians. The Romantic style monastery was designed by Károly Weichinger in 1934. (From: budapest-travel-guide.info)
This church has a rich history and is worth seeing. To enter walk up the slope near the Gellért hotel and baths. Turn to your right and continue up the paved slope. An intersting sculpture stands at the entrance to the church, wich is also guarded by bars. You enter the hill and then enter a small door to the chapel itself. The walls are smooth rock and the floor is tile. They have installed TV screens and a secondary viewing area for mass to accomidate more people. Though I imagine this small space would fill up quikly. The space is temperate and quiet.