Blessed Paul, Founder of the Hungarian Province

Stained glass window from St. Dominic’s Church in Washington, D.C. Photo by Fr. Lawrence Lew, O.P.
Stained glass window from St. Dominic’s Church in Washington, D.C. Photo by Fr. Lawrence Lew, O.P.

The following reflection is part of an ongoing series about the life of St. Dominic & the Order of Friars Preachers.

At the Second General Chapter, held in Bologna in 1221, the Dominican Order’s expansion throughout Christendom was planned in detail. The chapter fathers appointed Paul (d. 1241), a doctor of canon law from Bologna, to lead Dominican missionaries in Hungary, Poland, Albania, Russia, and Mongolia. On the mission to Hungary, in order to cover the territory more effectively, the Polish speaking brothers took the right side of the Danube while the Hungarians took the left. The latter party went up the Danube as far as Raab, where there was a Benedictine abbey, and established the first Dominican convent. In Veszprem, Paul founded a monastery for women, setting its cornerstone into the ground himself. Paul and ninety of his brothers were martyred by the Cuman Tartars, who terrorized the borders of Hungary. These Dominicans have been venerated since.

Fr. Lawrence Lew, O.P. (a member of the English Province) was invited by the Dominican Foundation to take pictures of some of the locations where our friars serve throughout the Northeast. During his time in Washington, D.C., Fr. Lew photographed the interior of the Church of St. Dominic. St. Dominic’s has been the church where our friars are ordained to the priesthood each May. Surrounding the church, is a collection of beautiful stained glass windows that chronicle the life of St. Dominic & the foundation of the Order of Preachers. Fr. Lew accomplished a great work by capturing the splendor of these windows, and in the process, the life of a towering saint.