Stephen II, Bishop of Zagreb

Stephen II (Croatian: Stjepan, Hungarian: István; 1190/95 – 10 July 1247) was a CroatianHungarian prelate of the Catholic Church who served as Bishop of Zagreb from 1225 until his death in 1247.

Bishop of Zagreb
Stjepan II. Zagreb (1225-1247.).jpg
Seal of Stephen (1227)
Term ended10 July 1247
PredecessorStephen I
SuccessorPhilip Türje
Other post(s)Provost of Arad
Personal details
Died10 July 1247
Čazma, Croatia in personal union with Hungary
BuriedChurch of St. Mary Magdalene, Čazma

Theories of originEdit

Stephen II was born between 1190 and 1195.[1] Croatian historian Ivan Kukuljević Sakcinski thought that Stephen originated from the Babonić noble family, which argument was also accepted by majority of scholars in Croatia, including Neven Budak and Lejla Dobronić.[2] In contrast, Baltazar Adam Krčelić regarded him as a relative of Prince Coloman and kings Andrew II and Béla IV.[1] Both Krčelić and Pavao Ritter Vitezović considered Stephen belonged to the Hungarian clan Hahót (or Buzád).[3] Hungarian historian Judit Gál shared this argument,[4] while Gábor Barabási mentioned Stephen's "possible Hungarian origin".[3] In his last will and testament from 1227, Hungarian ispán Sal Atyusz referred to Stephen as his "relative" (Latin: consanguineus), which assumes that Stephen originated from the Atyusz clan, but he may have been related to the genus only on maternal branch.[3][5]

Stephen studied at the University of Paris, where, according to Krčelić, he spent twelve years.[1] He obtained the honorary title of "magister" there, reflecting his education and literacy.[3] Upon his return to the homeland in 1224, he was appointed chancellor of Andrew II.[6] Beside that he also functioned as the provost of Arad.[7] The next year was consecrated as bishop of Zagreb.[1] He was referred to as bishop-elect in that year.[8]

Bishop of ZagrebEdit

He styled himself as "Stephanus secundus" in order to distinguish himself from his immediate namesake predecessor.[8][9] In his charters, he also indicated the number of his regnal years beside the date in order to differentiate.[9] His contemporary Thomas the Archdeacon described Stephen as "rich, pompous and benevolent, but glory seeker" in his work Historia Salonitana.[10] During his episcopacy, the diocese of Zagreb saw cultural, educational, and economic flourishing. The foundation of Franciscan, Dominican, Cistercian and Pauline monasteries in Zagreb, Čazma, Virovitica and Ivanić Grad contributed to this advancement. The Dominicans established liberal arts and theology studies for priests and laypeople in their friaries in Zagreb and Čazma. Influenced by his experience in Paris, Stephen II contributed to the education of local clergy and published Liber quaestionum et sententiarum (the Book of Questions and Meanings). Inspired by the ascetic life of the Franciscans and Dominicans, Stephen II solved the issue of the tithe on the benefit of the poor strata.[1]

Stephen moved to the Roman Curia in 1226 where he managed to get Pope Honorius III to reopen the lawsuit with the Abbey of Pannonhalma over the tithes in the lands beyond the Drava river, despite the fact that the Diocese of Zagreb had previously lost the lawsuit in Hungary. Thereafter, the pope granted the title of papal subdeacon to Stephen.[11] The bishop donated the surrounding tithes and incomes (including Gorizia) to the cathedral chapter of Zagreb in 1227.[11] Upon Stephen's request, Pope Gregory IX confirmed the former land donations of kings Emeric and Andrew II to the diocese in July 1227. The former donation letter of Andrew II (1217) was, in fact, a forgery compiled by Stephen and his chancellery at the turn of 1226 and 1227 for the lawsuit against the Pannonhalma Abbey, which was such a well-executed document that it even deceived the royal chancellery later, which confirmed and transcribed it in 1269 and 1271.[10]

Stephen II reorganized the parishes in the Diocese of Zagreb and in 1232 established a collegiate chapter in Čazma (also known as Bjenik or Pobjenik) with twelve canons, where he constructed a nearby settlement of Nova Čazma. The chapter had the opportunity to elect their provost from among the four candidates of the bishop of Zagreb, all of whom were members of the chapter of Zagreb.[9] Historian Csaba Juhász analyzed the unique arenga (prelude) of the founding diploma of the Čazma Chapter, which paraphrases many wisdoms from the works of Saint Gregory the Great. He argued Stephen and his chancellor Andrew actively participated in the drafting of the document.[12] Stephen invited Dominican friars to his diocese in order to counterbalance the spread of Bogomilism.[13] During the First Mongol invasion of Hungary in 1241, Stephen left his diocese and fled to the coast of the Adriatic Sea. There, he joined the accompaniment of Béla IV, who took refugee in the well-fortified Trogir.[13]

King Béla's younger brother, Duke Coloman governed Slavonia since 1226. Stephen was considered his most loyal confidant in the province, where the overwhelming part of the territory of the Diocese of Zagreb laid.[14] Their cooperation was described as the era of "little Renaissance" in the 13th-century Slavonia by Croatian historian Vladimir P. Goss.[10] They jointly built the Church of St. Mary Magdalene and the surrounding monasteries in Čazma around 1230.[10] Coloman already initiated the merger of the Archbishopric of Split and the Bishopric of Zagreb, which would have extracted the latter diocese from the administration of the Hungarian ecclesiastical organization. However, Pope Gregory IX reminded him in June 1240, that the two dioceses could not be united without the consent of the archbishop of Kalocsa – superior of the bishop of Zagreb – and the chapters of their sees. Some historians argued Stephen was ambitious to the elevation of his diocese to the status of an archdiocese. Accordingly, Stephen and his successors would have been the "Primate of Dalmatia, Croatia and Slavonia", instead of the archbishop of Split. Coloman was mortally wounded in the Battle of Mohi in April 1241, Stephen left without a protégé.[15]

Despite that, Stephen was elected Archbishop of Split by the local laity and clergy in 1242, when he resided in the town along with Béla and the royal court.[16] His dual jurisdiction would be brought the unity of Croatia (Split) with Slavonia (Zagreb). He was mentioned as archbishop-elect in the period between July 1242 and November 1243.[4] Without prominent support (there was also a long-standing sede vacante in the Holy See from 1241 to 1243), Stephen had to renounce the episcopacy in Split.[1] According to Thomas the Archdeacon, his successor as archbishop-elect, Stephen insisted on a set of conditions that the recently elected Pope Innocent IV found unacceptable, which forced Stephen's withdrawal from the position.[17]

Thereafter, Stephen returned to Slavonia and actively supported the reconstruction policy of Béla IV after the Mongol withdrawal.[13] The Diocese of Zagreb also suffered heavy damages and losses.[18] Stephen died in Čazma on 10 July 1247.[1] He was buried in the local Church of St. Mary Magdalene.[18]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Hrvatska enciklopedija.
  2. ^ Dobronić 1995, p. 43.
  3. ^ a b c d Juhász 2017, p. 2.
  4. ^ a b Gál 2020, p. 51.
  5. ^ Zsoldos 2011, pp. 309–310.
  6. ^ Zsoldos 2011, p. 108.
  7. ^ Kovács 2018, pp. 151, 159.
  8. ^ a b Zsoldos 2011, p. 102.
  9. ^ a b c Juhász 2017, p. 1.
  10. ^ a b c d Font & Barabás 2017, p. 111.
  11. ^ a b Markó 2006, p. 306.
  12. ^ Juhász 2017, pp. 6–8, 11.
  13. ^ a b c Markó 2006, p. 307.
  14. ^ Font & Barabás 2017, p. 110.
  15. ^ Font & Barabás 2017, pp. 115–117.
  16. ^ Gál 2020, p. 54.
  17. ^ Gál 2020, p. 141.
  18. ^ a b Font & Barabás 2017, p. 118.


  • "Stjepan II". Hrvatska enciklopedija. Leksikografski zavod Miroslav Krleža. Retrieved 11 December 2020.
  • Dobronić, Lelja (1995). "Stjepan Babonić [Stephen Babonić]". In Franko, Mirošević (ed.). Zagrebački biskupi i nadbiskupi [Bishops and Archbishops of Zagreb] (in Croatian). Školska knjiga. pp. 43–45. ISBN 953-0-60597-8.
  • Font, Márta; Barabás, Gábor (2017). Kálmán, Halics királya, Szlavónia hercege, 1208–1241 [Coloman, King of Halych, Duke of Slavonia, 1208–1241] (in Hungarian). Magyar Történelmi Társulat–Kronosz Kiadó. ISBN 978-963-467-000-1.
  • Gál, Judit (2020). Dalmatia and the Exercise of Royal Authority in the Árpád-Era Kingdom of Hungary. Arpadiana III., Research Centre for the Humanities. ISBN 978-963-416-227-8.
  • Juhász, Csaba (2017). "A csázmai társaskáptalan 1232. évi alapítólevelének arengája [The Harangue of the Founding Charter of the Collegiate Chapter of Čazma (1232)]". Magyar Könyvszemle (in Hungarian). 133 (1): 1–12. ISSN 0025-0171.
  • Kovács, István (2018). "Az aradi káptalan elöljárói: a prépostok (1135–1526) [Provosts of the Medieval Episcopal See of Arad (1135–1526)]". In Czeferner, Dóra; Böhm, Gábor; Fedeles, Tamás (eds.). Mesterek és Tanítványok 2. Tanulmányok a bölcsészet- és társadalomtudományok területéről (in Hungarian). University of Pécs. pp. 147–163. ISBN 978-963-429-223-4.
  • Markó, László (2006). A magyar állam főméltóságai Szent Istvántól napjainkig: Életrajzi Lexikon [Great Officers of State in Hungary from King Saint Stephen to Our Days: A Biographical Encyclopedia] (in Hungarian). Helikon Kiadó. ISBN 963-208-970-7.
  • Zsoldos, Attila (2011). Magyarország világi archontológiája, 1000–1301 [Secular Archontology of Hungary, 1000–1301] (in Hungarian). História, MTA Történettudományi Intézete. ISBN 978-963-9627-38-3.
Political offices
Preceded by
Cletus Bél
Succeeded by
Bulcsú Lád
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Provost of Arad
Succeeded by
Giovanni Capocci
Preceded by
Stephen I
Bishop of Zagreb
Succeeded by
Philip Türje
Preceded by
Archbishop of Split

Succeeded by