Our churches preserving time capsules

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In recent years, there has been a growing number of talks about paper sheets hidden in tiny containers that also hold objects from the past – memories of decades gone by. Their purpose is the same: to communicate and inform future generations about what was considered important at the time, whether it was a significant event or the completion of a building. There are three such time capsules stored in our archdiocese, and one of them can even be viewed from up close.

Also look for a chandelier in St. Stephen's Basilica in Budapest!

There is a chandelier in St. Mary's Chapel, which was found to hide a 115 years old time capsule during its restoration in 2014. The handwritten slip of paper – wrapped in a copy of the contemporary newspaper “Magyar Hírlap” inside a cardboard cylinder – slipped out of a hollow angel figurine of the chandelier, and contained the names of the craftsmen who had made it. During the restoration works, the original time capsule was put back into the angel figurine of the chandelier, along with a new slip of paper containing the names of those involved in the restoration.

Hidden in the roof cross of the Esztergom Basilica for 170 years

An even older time capsule can be seen in Esztergom Basilica, which was hidden at the highest point of the 100-metre-high building on 19 August 1845, during the final phase of its construction.  The airtight copper cylinder was lifted from the roof cross in the spring of 2021 by archaeologists, who found an ornate parchment briefly describing the history of the construction of the Basilica, and listing the names of the priests of the diocese at the time. The copper cylinder and the contents of the time capsule are now on display for visitors in the Panorama Room.

A photograph of a child was also found in the tower ball of Matthias Church

Few people know, but time capsules have also been found in the ornamental balls of the church's Matthias and Hussar towers, with documents containing the names of people involved in the various restoration projects. It is of particular interest that the restorers in the 1960s hid not only documents in the time capsule, but also memorabilia related to their families and the era. A kindergarten photo of one of the tinsmiths’ daughter, and a “Kossuth” brand cigarette were also found here.



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