Abbot, canon, librarian of the University library of Buda, and important Hungarian historian, b. at Ersekujvár, 11 Sept., 1723; died in Pesth, 23 Sept., 1801. His family came from the Tyrol. He studied in Pozsony, entered the Society of Jesus in 1745, spent two years in the Jesuit college (St. Ann's) in Vienna, and completed his higher studies at Nagy-Szombat. He taught at Nagy-Varád, Trencsén, Nagy-Szombat, and Pozsony. In 1754 he was ordained and continued teaching in Rozsnyó and in the Theresianum at Vienna, where he was professor of political science, and, at the same time, tutor to the princesses of Salm. He was professor in Györ (1758), Nagy-Szombat (1759), and Buda (1760), where, among other subjects, he lectured on moral theology. At the suppression of the Jesuits (1773), he went to the Archdiocese of Gran, and Maria Theresa appointed him imperial historiographer, with a yearly income of 400 florins. When the University of Nagy-Szombat was transferred to Pesth (1777), Pray was given charge of the library ; he resigned this position in 1780, but resumed it in 1784. During this year he surrendered his manuscripts and collection of documents to the university library for a life annuity of 400 florins. He became canon in Grosswardein (1790), and was sent by the chapter as its representative to the Hungarian Reichstag. Later he became Abbott of Tormowa. His literary activity embraced the history of Hungary, especially the early centuries, the history of the Catholic church in Hungary, and editing the sources of Hungarian history. He was the first to draw attention to the oldest coherent text in the Hungarian language, "Oratio funebris", dating probably from 1199, which was called after him "The Pray-codex". Among his works may be mentioned: "Annales veteres Hunnorum Avarorum et Hungarorum, 210 ad 997" (Vienna, 1761); "Annales regum Hungariæ, 997-1564" (5 vols., Vienna, 1763-70); "Vita S. Elizabethæ" (Vienna, 1770); "Specimen Hierarchiæ Hungariæ" (2 vols., Presburg, 1776-9).
The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.
Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.
No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.
Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912
Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online