Szent István was the first official king of the Magyar state. He was also the first Hungarian ruler to embrace Christianity, converting his pagan Magyars subjects and forging union with Rome. István – or St. Stephen as he is often Anglicized, had 40 mostly prosperous years of rule and has been honored as the father of the Hungarian state ever since. The cave church beside his statue was turned into a field hospital for the army of Nazi Germany during World War II and was sealed shut during the years of communism. Yet it has survived the tumult of history and is still an active parish to this day.