There is an inscription at the right entrance of the lounge reminding us of a magnificent vision the Basilica could see in 1906: "The ashes of prince Francis II Rákóczi, his heroic mother, Ilona Zrínyi and his companions in exile were placed to rest between these holy walls on October 28, 1906, our apostolic king Franz Joseph I having decided to have them transported home after two centuries of deportation.”
This event was followed by the majestic day of the laying of the keystone on December 8, 1906. Baron Károly Hornig, bishop of Veszprém representing Archbishop Kolos Vaszary marches in the basilica in full pontifical robes, in the company of the priests.
Right at 11.00 o’clock, at the time that the festival was signalled to start, the cart of Franz Joseph pulls up in front of the building and the king utters a few words: “I was very happy to come to this beautiful celebration. I thankfully accept your reverence."
While the bells are ringing, the keystone is carried behind the high altar in a touching atmosphere, where it is placed in the indenture under the altar and walled up on the next day.
Finally the king and the members of the court go to view the church. The lord mayor introduces the parish priest of the church and the artists, from whom the king enquires about all the details. “You have a wonderful church”, says the king to the parish priest, who answers as follows:
“I am happy, Your Majesty, that Providence has led me into this wonderful church.”
“The pictures and the marble covers are also very beautiful”, the king continues. He is particularly interested in the structure of the cupola, the painting by Gyula Benczur and the Calvary. “This is a magnificent church indeed!”, - says the king in farewell.
The choir starts singing the national anthem, the bells are ringing and people are cheering as the king leaves the staircase.
It was already announced on May 23, that the International Eucharistic Conference would be organized together with the anniversary year of St Stephen, so the Basilica was to be enveloped by the glory of two festivals of utmost beauty in 1938.
(Excerpts from: Dr. Tarnóczi János: A Szent István Bazilika éneklő kövei)