Prime Minister Viktor Orbán received Armenian Catholic Patriarch Raphael Bedros XXI, who handed over the Holy Cross Medal of Gratitude to the Hungarian Prime Minister on Wednesday.
“We greatly appreciate your unconditional commitment to Christians, to protecting their lives and preserving their moral and social values,”
according to the laudation.
In his acceptance speech, Orbán quoted Hungary’s first king, St. Stephen, who – in his admonitions already a thousand years ago – stressed the importance of the Hungarian State supporting Christianity and the church at all times.
Transylvanian Prince Michael Apafi authorized the resettlement of about 600 Armenian families from Moldavia in 1672, of which 55 families were later elevated to nobility. They were allowed to establish their own trading towns, the most famous of which was Szamosújvár (now Gherla, Romania), called Armenopolis (Armenian Town) or Hayakaghak (Հայաքաղաք). In Hungary, Catholic Armenians played an important role as merchants, farmers, officers, civil servants, artists, poets, and politicians. In cooking and worship, Armenian characteristics are guarded to this day, but surnames have been largely ‘hungarized.’
Well-known Hungarian personalities of Transylvanian Armenian origin include: Vilmos Lázár (1817-1849) and Ernő Kiss (1799-1849), both generals and martyrs of Arad, Pongrác Kacsóh (1873-1923), composer, Gergely Csiky (1842- 1891), playwright, Gergely Pongrátz (1932-2005), hero of the 1956 revolution.
Featured photo via Miniszterelnöki Sajtóiroda/Fischer Zoltán