The article examines the symbolic impact of the 1956 Hungarian uprising, and focuses on the relationship of the Catholic circles with insurgent violence. The Italian Church was characterized by an impressive liturgical mobilization, which was hierocratic and fiercely anti-Communist, implementing and reworking the papal entourage’s approach. The rhetoric and images used by the Church offered a highly ambiguous reading of the uprising, revolving around martyrdom. The sacralization of those who died in Budapest swung between legitimating armed resistants and celebrating defenseless victims. Although there were significant differences, the second model prevailed. Italian Catholics contributed to strengthening the "postheroic" paradigm of the martyr. In this context, victims’ ability to suffer and sacrifice themselves until death - rather than their willingness to fight, if necessary, by force - was crucial to the notion of martyrdom. Somewhat paradoxically, this trend was often expressed using the apparently discordant language of the patriotic cult of the fallen.
Keywords: Hungary, Revolution, 1956, Catholicism, Martyrdom, Anti-communism