Saint Gisela – the first Queen of Hungary

In contrast to Steven, the first king of Hungary, little is known about his wife Gisela. Only a brief overview over her life is available:


birth of Gisela, daughter of the bavarian duke Heinrich II and his wife Gisela of Burgundy
Gisela brought up very devotional, most likely by bishop Wolfgang of Regensburg as her mentor and governor.


Gisela marries prince Steven of Hungary; Bishop Adalbert of Prague and bishop Wolfgang support the wedding. The wedding took place most likely in either Scheyern or in Regensburg.


Steven and Gisela appointed King and Queen


Birth of second son Emmerich. Not much is known about her other children (2 sons died as infants, 2 daughters about whom we know very little)

King Steven wanted to make Hungary a Christian country, which is why Gisela gave many generous gifts and sponsors to various bishop regions and abbeys. She sponsored the cathedral in Veszprem and she helped equip the churches with the necessary liturgical instruments and scripts.


Emperor Konrad II (1024 – 1039) attacks Hungary; a joined Bavarian-Hungarian force conquers him.


Son Emmerich dies, which causes arguments over an heir for Steven: Steven arranges that his nephew Vazul be blinded as he doesn’t approve of him; Gisela prefers their Nephew Peter Orseolo.


Steven dies.
Peter Orseolo confiscates Gisela’s properties and puts Gisela under arrest; Samuel Aba, who followed Peter on the throne, continues this policy.


Emperor Heinrich III attacks Hungary and he frees Gisela; however, Heinrich’s intervention causes the anti - Christian and anti-German attitude in Hungary to grow; rebellion follows.


Gisela and many Bavarian settlers leave Hungary; she joins Niederburg convent in Passau and becomes the abbess.

On the 7th of Mai 1060/1065, Gisela dies and is buried in Niederburg.

In 1975 Gisela was declared a saint. Memorial days: Mai 7th and 1st of February.

Additional Information in German.


edited by: Kathrin Scheuer
translation: Sebastian Lindemann

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