Friday, October 27, 2017

Icon of Blessed Karl of Austria Presented to the Pope

On October 14, the Emperor Karl League of Prayer recently presented to the Holy Father an icon of the Blessed, the work of Bulgarian iconographer Alexander Schelekow; this was done during a private audience in commemoration of the centenary of the initiative of Pope Benedict XV to end the First World War. Thanks to our friend Jordan Hainsey, who is very active in the League and consulted the iconographer, for sharing this with us.

Part of the description of the icon, from the League’s website: “Blessed Karl is shown in arrested movement. He is portrayed in stillness because he is becalmed by God. His eyes are shown in an open gaze because they are keenly and prayerfully aware of our world. His lips are closed, expressing true contemplation which requires total silence. Karl is surrounded by a halo of radiating light and is standing against a sheet of gold, showing that he is living in the light of God.

In one hand Karl bears a budded Cross. The four arms with four buds symbolize the four Evangelists and invite discipleship in Christ's ministry. The softness of the buds evoke peace and recall Karl's tireless work for peace during WWI. His left hand is open, inviting contemplation of Christ's salvific work through the Cross.

Above Karl, angels present two crowns. The angel on the left clothed in red, the color of royalty, presents the Crown of Saint Stephen, worn by Karl for his Coronation as King of Hungry on December 30, 1916. The angel on the right clothed in blue and green, the colors of life and heaven, bears a crown of thorns, recalling the suffering that Karl bore working for peace for his country and peoples. Together, both crowns recall Karl's view of his Kingship as Divine Right and the sufferings and sacrifice he was called to make throughout his office and life.”

The Pope’s address to the members of League: “With affection I greet you and all the members of the Emperor Karl League for Prayers for Peace Among Nations. I thank the president, Msgr. Fernand Franck, for his words.

Your annual assembly in Rome takes place in the context of the centenary of the initiative for peace undertaken by Pope Benedict XV and, among political leaders, supported only by Blessed Emperor Karl, with the strong desire to bring an end to the slaughter of the First World War. The three aims of the League for Prayers underlined by your president – to seek and observe God’s will, to be committed to promoting peace and justice, to atone for the injustice of history – were, so to say, the recurrent motif of the life of Blessed Karl as a statesman, as a husband and father, and as a son of the Church. Delivering himself to God’s will, he accepted suffering and offered his own life as a sacrifice for peace, always sustained by the love and faithfulness of his wife, Servant of God Zita.

The challenges of our time require the collaboration of all men of good will and, in particular, prayer and sacrifice. I invite you, therefore, to keep your promise to take part, with prayer and personal commitment, in the many efforts of the Pope in favour of peace. Without the support of the prayer of the faithful, Peter’s Successor cannot fulfil his mission in the world. I count on you too. I entrust you to the maternal protection of Mary Most Holy and to the intercession of Blessed Emperor Karl, and heartily impart my apostolic blessing to you and your loved ones.”

More recent articles:

For more articles, see the NLM archives: