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Greek Catholics ‘Bring the Light of the East,’ Says President Novák

MTI-Hungary Today 2023.04.14.

The strength of a nation lies in remaining true to its spiritual and material heritage, Hungarian President Katalin Novák said at the opening of the Nyíregyháza Greek Catholic Museum on Thursday. Speaking about the museum, she said that it will fill a long-standing gap in the cultural life of the nation, and will be a meeting and orientation point for the Greek Catholic past and future.

President Novák was on a two-day visit to Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg county as part of her countrywide tour. She said that Greek Catholics are important to Hungarians because they bring the light of the East to Western Christian culture. The Head of State added that it is a fundamental Hungarian experience, “in our genes,” that East and West cannot exist without each other, and that this duality has always been present in the minds of Hungarian poets, writers, and artists, but few have been as clear and understandable as the Greek Catholics.

With them, culturally, Eastern Christianity comes to Western Christianity, and from this encounter comes not only peaceful coexistence, but the enrichment of Christian faith and culture.

In her speech, the president emphasized that the strength of a nation lies primarily in remaining true to its spiritual, intellectual, and material heritage, and since Hungarian statehood is contemporaneous with Hungarian Christianity, our values can only be understood within this framework, in the “interaction of national and Christian thought.”

“Christianity has been the point of reference that has preserved our country in the labyrinths of history, our churches are the institutions that have provided refuge and hope in the most difficult times, that have given us role models and leaders even when the state was not able to do so, or not for the whole country,” said Katalin Novák.

She added that today, the fundamental values of the world are as important as ever, despite the efforts of many to make us believe otherwise, and the increasingly loud reinterpretation of the smallest, most fundamental and strongest core of the community, the family, which is being declared obsolete, or the practice of faith undesirable.

Our values are the same as they were two thousand, a thousand or a hundred years ago, and we will not and cannot give in to this,”

the Head of State made clear, stressing that this is why Hungary needs churches to provide spiritual support, to teach, educate, nurture, and heal.

The Greek Catholic Church is an active participant in this work, having strengthened its organizational structure in recent years, carrying out reliable work in the public interest, providing outstanding assistance to refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine, and being a partner of the Hungarian government, she added.

Novák also said that

churches are important “beacons of light” in the turbulent modern world, with millennia of experience and knowledge, giving faith, courageous stand for values, hope, and a future to humanity.

Today, in many places in Europe and the world, there is indifference towards Christian values, more and more people are turning away from the churches, but Hungary is strengthening and valuing its churches, building on the solid foundation they provide for the nation,” said Novák, thanking the work done by the churches in Hungary.

She stressed that in the past ten years, three thousand churches have been renovated and two hundred new prayer houses built in the Carpathian Basin, the number of students in church schools has more than doubled since 2010 to 241,000, and 327,000 children attended religious education in 2022.

Christianity Is the Most Persecuted Religion in the World, Warns State Secretary
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Featured photo via MTI/Czeglédi Zsolt

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