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Votive Church, Vienna, Austria

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posted by Darcey Prout alias Darcey Prout on Sunday 31st of July 2022 02:30:47 PM

The Votivkirche (English: Votive Church) is a neo-Gothic style church located on the Ringstraße in Vienna, Austria. Following the attempted assassination of Emperor Franz Joseph in 1853, the Emperor's brother Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian inaugurated a campaign to create a church to thank God for saving the Emperor's life. Funds for construction were solicited from throughout the Empire. The church was dedicated in 1879 on the silver anniversary of Emperor Franz Joseph and his wife Empress Elisabeth. The origin of the Votivkirche derives from a failed assassination attempt on Emperor Franz Joseph by Hungarian nationalist János Libényi on 18 February 1853. During that time, when the Emperor was in residence at the Hofburg Palace, he took regular walks around the old fortifications for exercise in the afternoons. During one such stroll, while walking along one of the outer bastions with one of his officers, Count Maximilian Karl Lamoral O'Donnell von Tyrconnell, the twenty-one-year-old tailor's apprentice attacked the twenty-three-year-old Emperor from behind, stabbing him in the collar with a long knife. The blow was deflected by the heavy golden covering embroidered on the Emperor's stiff collar. Although his life was spared, the attack left him bleeding from a deep wound. A civilian passer-by, Dr. Joseph Ettenreich, came to the Emperor's assistance, and Count O'Donnell struck Libényi down with his sabre, holding him until the police guards arrived to take him into custody.As he was being led away, the failed assassin yelled in Hungarian, "Long live Kossuth!" Franz Joseph insisted that his assailant not be mistreated. After Libényi's execution at Spinnerin am Kreuz in Favoriten for attempted regicide, the Emperor characteristically granted a small pension to the assassin's mother. Dr. Ettenreich, who quickly overwhelmed the attacker, was later elevated to nobility by Franz Joseph for his bravery, and became Joseph von Ettenreich. Count O'Donnell, who up until then was a count in the German nobility by virtue of his great-grandfather, was afterwards made a Count of the Habsburg Empire and received the Commander's Cross of the Royal Order of Leopold. His customary O'Donnell arms were augmented by the initials and shield of the ducal House of Austria and also the double-headed eagle of the Empire. These arms are emblazoned on the portico of No. 2 Mirabel Platz in Salzburg, where O'Donnell later built his residence. After the unsuccessful assassination attempt, the Emperor's brother, Maximilian — later Emperor of Mexico — called upon communities throughout the Empire for donations to a new church on the site of the attack. The church was to be a votive offering for the rescue of Franz Joseph and "a monument of patriotism and of devotion of the people to the Imperial House." The church plans were established in an architectural competition in April 1854. 75 projects from the Austrian Empire, German lands, England, and France were submitted. Originally, the plans were to include the neighbouring Allgemeines Krankenhaus and create a campus fashioned after the plans of Oxford and Cambridge University.

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  • Published 10.03.22
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