Father Pius, a witty refugee who taught languages at the Priory, dies at 88 | July 4, 2018 | Almanac | Almanac Online |


Community - July 4, 2018

Father Pius, a witty refugee who taught languages at the Priory, dies at 88

The Rev. Pius (Laszlo) Horvath, a priest in the Order of Saint Benedict, died June 22 in the Benedictine monastery at the Woodside Priory, a day after celebrating his 65 years in the priesthood.

Horvath taught the Latin and German languages at the Priory and was known for his wit and subtle humor, according to a Priory statement. He was 88.

Born in Hungary, Horvath lived through his native country's alliance with Nazi Germany, the deprivations before, during and after World War II, and the subsequent occupation by the Soviet Union.

He was ordained in 1953 despite the difficulties the Communist regime placed in his path to the seminary. It was in 1956 during the revolt against Communist rule that Horvath left the country "in a daring and dangerous journey by night" across the Austrian border, the statement said.

He became fluent in the French and German languages after moving to Fribourg, Switzerland, where he attended the local university.

Horvath emigrated to the United States and arrived at the Priory in 1960, joining fellow Hungarian clergy who had established the school and a monastery in what would later be the town of Portola Valley.

He did graduate work at Stanford University and eventually led the language department at the Priory.

Horvath served in the Archdiocese of San Francisco and provided assistance to many other parishes over the years, including conducting services at St. Denis Church in Menlo Park and Our Lady of the Wayside Church in Portola Valley.


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