Nicolaus Olahus

Nicolaus Olahus (January 10, 1493, Sibiu - January 15, 1568, Trnava/Nagyszombat) was regent of Hungary, Governor of the Netherlands, Primate of Hungary, and a distinguished Roman Catholic prelate.

Nicolaus Olahus (Latin for Nicholas the Vlach; Hungarian: Oláh Miklós; Romanian: Nicolae Olahus; Olahus, Oláh are forms for Wallachian, Valah - Romanian) was the grandson of Iancu de Hunedoara (John Hunyadi). His autobiographical notes and correspondence throw light on his life. After having studied at Sibiu, Orăştie and at the Chapter School of Oradea from 1505 to 1512, he became a page at the court of Ladislaus II, but shortly afterwards chose an ecclesiastical career, and was ordained a priest in 1516 or 1518. While acting as secretary to Georg Szatmáry, Bishop of Pécs, he was appointed a canon of that chapter, later of Esztergom, and 1522 became Archdeacon of Komárom. In 1526 he was made secretary to King Louis II, but was transferred to the service of Mary of Habsburg. After the battle of Mohács, Olahus attached himself to the party of King Ferdinand I, but retained his position with the queen-dowager.

In 1527 he was appointed Custos or head of the Chapter of Székesfehérvár, and accompanied the queen-dowager in 1530 to the Imperial Diet at Augsburg. When in 1531 she became Governor of the Netherlands, he went with her to what is today Belgium, where he remained (with a brief interruption in 1539) until his return to Hungary in 1542. In the following year he was made Royal Chancellor and Bishop of Agram (Zagreb) by King Ferdinand.

In 1548 he became Bishop of Eger, and in 1553 Archbishop of Esztergom. As such, he crowned Maximilian King of Hungary, and performed the solemn obsequies (1563) over Ferdinand I. As Archbishop of Esztergom, Olahus' first care was to put order into the finances and property of the archdiocese. He enforced yet again the Jus Piseti, i.e. the right of supervision over the mint at Kremnica (Körmöcbánya), for which surveillance the archdiocese enjoyed a large revenue. At his own expense, he redeemed the hypothecated provostship of Turiec (Turócz), also the encumbered possessions of the Diocese of Nitra. As Archbishop of Esztergom, Olahus exercised a supervision over the Diocese of Eger, and (with the consent of the Holy See) administered the Archdiocese of Kalocsa, vacant for 20 years. After the capture of Esztergom by the Ottomans, the new archiepiscopal residence was moved to either Nagyszombat or Bratislava (Pressburg).

Among the publications initiated by Olahus were Hungaria sive de originibus gentis, regionis, situ, divisionis habitumatque opportunitatibus (where he demonstrate the latin origin of the Romanians), Attila, sive de rebus bello paceque as suo (1536), the Breviarium Ecclesiae Strigoniensis (1558), and the Ordo et Ritus Ecclesiæ Strigoniensis (1560). The revival of the custom of ringing the Angelus was due to him. As chancellor and confidant of Ferdinand I, Olahus possessed much political influence, which he exercised in the special interest of the Catholic religion. In 1562 he acted as Regent. He was a diligent writer and a friend of Erasmus of Rotterdam.