Selected Passages from Hungarian-Ottoman Wars between 1372-1699

Why can we hear the bells at noon? 1456

Bells on display in front of the Matthias Church, Budapest

Lord Hunyadi János was considered an “Athleta Christi” and church bells still ringing in memory of his decisive victory over the Ottomans.

The “Pulsatio Meridiana”, the tolling the bells at noon was declared by Pope Callixtus III on 29 June 1456, saying that “a sign should be given to the Christians to pray for those who are fighting against the Turks”. Kapisztrán set out from Buda on 15 April 1456 and recruited 20,000 men to help Hunyadi. Capistran, the helper of Hunyadi in defeating the Ottomans in 1456, was canonized as a saint.
The news of the Pope’s “Pulsatio Meridiana” and of the victory of Hunyadi arrived in Vienna at the same time.
The Hungarians, quite naturally, connect the two things together as they can be indeed connected.
Later the Pope himself claimed that the victory was caused because the prayer had been issued before it. Who knows? It must have helped the soldiers, likewise the legendary motivation given by Capistran.
When the Pope got the news of the victory on 6 August, he turned the day into a great holiday of the Catholic Church and this is why we, Catholics celebrate Jesus’ Transfiguration on 6 August each year. Also, this is why we say the prayer called Angelus at noon…
There are two interesting things about bells: the inhabitants of Kőszeg city are tolling the bells every day at 11 AM in order to commemorate the heroic siege of the castle in 1532.

 

As for the bells in the Ottoman Occupied Lands of Hungary, in large, they were not allowed to be tolled during the Ottoman occupation but there were places where they were allowed. The attitude towards the local Christians was varied by Sanjaks: there were places where there was no tolerance at all and new churches were banned to be built and old ones were prohibited to restore, but there were places where the Ottomans allowed the building of churches.
Hungary was a rather different place from the rest of the Ottoman-occupied lands in the Balkan because of the old laws, customs and habits made it quite impossible for the Ottomans to handle the Hungarians; a parallel society was built out as a result of this.


 

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