terça-feira, 19 de julho de 2011

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 or his obituary in the Telegraph.

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.

Here we see the newborn Otto in the arms of his father, Bl. Charles:

And with his father and mother - the late Empress Zita, whose cause of beatification has also been opened - at the funeral of his great-great-uncle, the Emperor Francis Joseph, in 1916:

Receiving Holy Communion from Bl. John Paul II:

With Pope Benedict, wife Archduchess Regina and eldest son Archduke Karl:

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.

Afterwards, the absolutions took place outside the church:

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.

They were received by the Archabbot of the Benedictine Territorial Abbey of Pannonhalma, Hungary, where Archduke Otto's heart will be interred, and the Superior of the local Benedictine community which belongs to the Abbey of St. Lambrecht.

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.

Schubert's Deutsche Messe was sung by the Vienna Boys' Choir.

Following the ceremonies at Mariazell, the remains of the Imperial Couple were taken to Vienna and layed out in the Imperial Chapel of the capuchin church (in whose crypt they were eventually layed to rest), under the image of Our Lady Comforter of the afflicted, much venerated by the Imperial family and the people of Vienna, and opposite the tomb of Blessed Mark of Aviano, the "saviour of Vienna" and likewise a great patron of the Imperial family (many members, including all of Otto's siblings, bear his name).

On the last day, the orders of the Imperial couple were placed in front of the coffins, with the two most important ones placed directly before them: the Golden Fleece, whose Sovereign Archduke Otto was, and the Starry Cross, of which Archduchess Regians was High Protectress.

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.

In this picture, left to right, the wife of the Austrian President, King and Queen of Sweden, Prince and Princess of Liechtenstein, Grand Duke of Luxemburg, Master of the Order of Malta.

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.

Michael Haydn's requiem was sung. The sequence dies iræ was sung as song between the first reading (read by Archduke Otto's, eldest son and new Head of the Family, Archduke Karl) and the second reading (read by Karl's son, Archduke Ferdinand):

After the very good homily of the Cardinal (German original), the (excellent) interecessions were read by the seven children of the deceased, with the opening and final prayer read by Fr Paul von Habsburg.

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. Some impressions:

In this picture, before the Archbishop walks the Apostolic Nuncio to Austria, who at the beginning of the requiem had read the papal telegram which I have translated at the top of this post.

The coffin is surrounded by knights of the Golden Fleece wearing the collar of the Order; to the right you may recognize Prince Hugo-Mariano Windisch-Graetz, who is also a Gentleman of His Holiness and regularly involved with Vatican ceremonies.

At the entrance to the Capuchin Crypt, the famous ceremony took place which I had once described for Empress Zita. 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."