4115 – The Emperor a Saint?

The Santuario di Montegrisa is an interesting, modern church on a mountain (more a high hill, actually) north of Trieste. When we were there for the last time (I don’t know, 20 years ago?), it was closed. I was not sure what to expect, but I hoped to at least be able to take some images from the outside.

To our surprise the church was open and busy with a lively community. About the first thing that I saw (and certainly the least expected) was a painting of Austria’s last Emperor, Charles I.

I had known that there were attempts at his beatification, and I had always ridiculed it. He was a weak Emperor, a weak politician, a weak leader and when he ascended to the throne after his father’s death, the war was already decided. It was clear that the Central Powers couldn’t win, it was clear that he was a puppet of the German Emperor William II, and Charles’ attempt at secret peace negotiations might have been meant well, but thats’s all there is to it.

A Saint? More like a tragic figure, but then, I can think of worse tragedy than to be born into a reigning family, living most of one’s life in extreme splendor, and finally ending it in exile on an evergreen island in the Atlantic.

Nevertheless, Charles’ fan community among Austria’s and Italy’s royalists has managed to get him beatified, and there you see his painting in a modern church in Italy.

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