The Holy Right Hand is housed in the St. Stephen Basilica in Budapest, and once a year, on 20th August is carried in the Holy Right Hand procession.

The death of king St Stephen was followed by a turbulent period characterized by struggles for the throne. The chapter of the coronation and burial town of the Hungarian kingsm Székesfehérvár feared that the embalmed and mummified corpse might be desecrated, therefore ordered its removal from the marble sarcophagus standing in the middle of the basilica where king Stephen was buried on 15th August, 1038 and hid it in the tomb under the basilica. It was at this time that the right hand of the king, which remained intact and was believed to have miraculous power, was detached and taken to the treasury of the basilica. Later on, a treasury ward called Merkur stole the holy relic, and hid it on his estate in Bihar – today Transylvania-. When king St Ladislaus in 1083 heard about the relic, he visited Merkur on his estate. He forgave the theft, and founded an abbey at the place where the Holy Right was found in honour of our first king and in order to provide a worthy place for the holy relic. This is how the public reverence, celebration and pilgrimages to the Holy Right started.

The journey of the Holy Right started in the 15th century. First it was taken to Székesfehérvár, then during the Osman Turkish reign to Bosnia and later (at about 1590 A.D.) to the Dominican monks of Raguza, the city known today as Dubrovnik. When Emperess Maria Theresa learnt of the relic’s location – trying to do all the favor for the Hungarians – did her best to get it back. After lengthy diplomatic negotiations, it was finally extradited by the monks of Raguza, and on 16th April  1771 it could already be viewed by believers of Vienna. After that it was transported to Buda with great pomp and ceremony. Emperess Maria Theresa appointed the Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary (called “Angolkisasszonyok” in Hungarian) to take care of the Holy Right and ordered a yearly public celebration on 20th August  the day of St Stephen. In the early 1800s, king Joseph II ordered that the Holy Right should be guarded by the male Order of Crusaders and from 1865, the Archdiocese of Esztergom was in charge of the safeguarding of the relic. During the early 1900s, it was taken to the Sigismund chapel in the Buda castle and remained there until 1944.

During World War II, the Holy Right was taken and hidden in a cave in Salzburg. Later it was found by the US army, which delivered the Right Hand to the archbishop of Salzburg for safekeeping. It was returned to Hungary, right on time for the procession of 20th August 20 1945 by three members of the American Military Mission. The Holy Right was hidden in the safe of the parish of St Stephen’s Basilica, as during the communist times it was no more allowed to revere the right of St Stephen in public procession. Today the Holy Right can again be carried around the Budapest and the country. Tens of thousands of believers welcomes the National Relic since 1989 in every year. The prayer procession is organised on St. Stephen’s day, 20th August.