segunda-feira, 18 de julho de 2011

Who begs entrance? Otto, a mortal, sinful man. The exequies of Archduke Otto of Austria

On July 4th, 2011, at the venerable age of 98, died Archduke Otto of Austria, eldest son and heir of Blessed Charles, last Emperor of Austria and Apostolic King of Hungary. You can read a short biography of the late Archduke Otto on his official website

This is the telegram which Our Holy Father Pope Benedict sent to Archduke Karl, the eldest son and heir of the late Archduke Otto (NLM translation):

To His Imperial Highness Archduke Karl of Austria

It is with deep sympathy that I have learned of the passing of your father, H.I.R.H. Archduke Otto of Austria. In the hour of grief over this grievous loss I unite myself with you and the entire Imperial family in prayer for the departed. In a long and fulfilled life Archduke Otto became a witness to the history of Europe and its vicissitudes. Responsible before God and conscious of an important heritage, as a great European he worked tirelessly for peace, harmony between peoples, and a just order on this continent. May God our Lord amply reward his manifold work for the good of men and grant him the life in abundance in His heavenly kingdom. Through the intercession of Mary the Mother of God I willingly impart to the relatives and all who mourn Archduke Otto and pray for his eternal salvation my Apostolic blessing.

The exequies of Archduke Otto began with his chapelle ardente in the church of St. Ulrich in Pöcking, the village on Lake Starnberg in Bavaria where the Archduke had lived since the 1950s. The Blessed Sacrament was exposed for adoration.

Next, the first pontifical requiem was celebrated in the church of St. Pius, also in Pöcking, by the local bishop, Msgr. Konrad Zdarsa. Mozart's requiem was sung.

The next pontifical requiem was celebrated in the Bavarian capital by the archbishop of Munich and Freising, Cardinal Reinhard Marx. The requiem took place in the church of the Theatines, one of the burial places of the Kings of Bavaria. Haydn's requiem was sung.

From Munich, the remains of Archduke Otto were taken to Mariazell, the most important Marian shrine of Central Europe and in particular the old Austro-Hungarian Empire. He was reunited there with his late wife Archduchess Regina, née Princess of Saxe-Meiningen, who had died last year and had been provisionally interred in her family's crypt in Thuringia, where her heart remains. Like the entire Imperial Family, Archduke Otto and his wife had a great devotion to Our Lady of Mariazell - Magna Mater Austriæ, Magna Domina Hungarorum, Alma Mater Gentium Slavorum - and among many visits celebrated their silver and golden wedding anniversary there.

The Archduchess had donated her wedding jewelry to Our Lady, and a crown had been made out of it. It was this crown the statue of Our Lady wore when the coffins of Otto and Regina where carried into the church - after having been carried around it, a last time in pilgrimage, as it were -, and first to her altar to greet her:

The Rosary was prayed, and the next day the third pontifical requiem was celebrated by the local ordinary, Msgr. Egon Kapellari. Cardinal Count Schönborn took part as personal representative of Pope Benedict.

On Saturday, 16 July, Archduke Otto's remains were taken to St. Stephen's Cathedral of Vienna.

There, the Archbishop of Vienna, H.E. Cardinal Count Christoph of Schönborn, again being the personal representative of Pope Benedict, and also Grand Chaplain of the Order of the Golden Fleece, celebrated another pontifical requiem. Bishops from various former parts of the Austrian Empire - among them the Archbishops of Prague (Duka O.P.) and Tyrnau (Bezák C.Ss.R.), the Bishops of Brünn (Cikrle), Banja Luka (Komarica) and Ostrau (Prince Lobkowicz), as well as the Auxiliary of Laibach (Jamnik) - concelebrated, as did the Grand Master of the Teutonic Order, the former abbot of Heiligenkreuz, Count Henckel-Donnersmarck (himself a member of the Golden Fleece, who is going to celebrate another requiem for the Order today at the Carmel of Mayerling), the superior of Mariazell, and Father Paul von Habsburg, an Archduke of the Hungarian Palatine branch of the family. In addition to the descendants of the deceased and the wider Imperial Family (referred to in German as the "Erzhaus", i.e. "Archhouse"), the requiem was attended by heads of state and representatives of Royal Families and governments, including the President, Chancellor and various government ministers of Austria, the Kings of Sweden, Bulgaria and Romania, the President of Georgia, the Grand Duke of Luxemburg, the Prince of Liechtenstein, the Prince and Grand Master of the Order of Malta, the Prime Minister of Croatia, and Princesses of Spain and Belgium.

The Cardinal of Vienna wore an 18th century chasuble made for the funeral of Prince Eugene and using parts of his uniform, and used a pastoral staff which Blessed Emperor Charles had presented to the last bishop conserated during his reign, his court chaplain Ernst Seydl, who accompanied him into exile and remained with him until his death.

Then the funeral cortège began, which led from St. Stephen's through the inner city and the Hofburg Palace to the Capuchin crypt and was approximately 1.5 km long.

At the entrance to the Capuchin Crypt, the famous ceremony took place. This time, there was a slight variation, in that instead of the shortened version of the titles of the deceased, the second response enunciated his offices and the honours he had received.

The herold taps three time on the gate with his rod.

Capuchin friar: "Who begs entrance?"

Herold: "Otto of Austria, once Crown Prince of Autria-Hungary, Prince Royal of Hungary and Bohemia, of Dalmatia, Croatia, Slavonia, Galicia, Lodomeria and Illyria; Grand Duke of Tuscany and Cracow, Duke of Lorraine, Salzburg, Styria, Carinthia, Carniola and Bucovina; Grand Prince of Transylvania, Margrave of Moravia; Duke of Upper and Lower Silesia, Modena, Piacenza and Guastalla, of Auschwitz, Zator, Teschen, Friuli, Ragusa and Zara; Princely Count of Habsburg and Tyrol, Kyburg, Görz and Gradisca; Prince of Trent and Brixen; Margrave of Upper and Lower Lusatia and in Istria; Count of Hohenems, Feldkirch, Bregenz and Sonnenberg, etc.; Lord of Triest, Cattaro and in the Windic march; Grand Voivode of the Voivodeship of Serbia; etc. etc."

Capuchin friar: "We know him not."

The herold knocks again.

Capuchin friar: "Who begs entrance?"

Herold: "Dr. Otto von Habsburg, President and Honorary President of the Paneuropean Union, Member and Father of the House of the European Parliament, honorary doctor of numerous universities and honorary citizen of many municiplaities in central Europe, member of venerable Academies and Institutes, bearer of high and highest state and Church decorations, orders and honours, which were granted to him in recognition of his decade-long struggle for the freedom of peoples, for what is right and just."

Capuchin friar: "We know him not."

The herold knocks for the third time.

Capuchin friar: "Who begs entrance?"

Herold: "Otto, a mortal, sinful man."