President of the Republic Katalin Novák at the flag-raising during the St Stephen’s Day state ceremony in Kossuth Square, Budapest, 20 August 2023.
The life work of King Stephen reminds us that we have a lot to lose and therefore a lot to protect, said Tamás Vargha, Parliamentary State Secretary of the Ministry of Defense on the occasion of the national holiday, at the central ceremony of the Ministry and the Hungarian Defense Forces on Thursday at the Bálna Defense Center.
He said that King Stephen (975–1038) had determined the fate of the Hungarian nation in a unique way and to a unique extent, “his name and his work are synonymous with a just statesman, church founder and military leader”.
Copy of the Holy Crown on display at the City Hall in Székesfehérvár. Photo: Facebook/varghatamasjanos
He added that King Stephen inherited from his father, Prince Géza, a country in which “Christianity was still on very shaky ground”, while his relative, Koppány, claimed the throne for himself on the basis of ancient customary law. Tamás Vargha stressed that Stephen, recognizing that the stakes of the power struggle were the political order of the country and thus its future, decided to continue the German orientation inherited from his father; he defeated Koppány in 997, and his success enabled the introduction of a new political order that “made our country great for centuries”.
According to the Secretary of State, this was a huge task, taking at least as much work to defend the results, but
by around 1020 Stephen had consolidated his power “and ruled as a true Christian European sovereign”.
According to Tamás Vargha, it is this work of state-founding, state-organizing and rulership that we are commemorating these days. “We do this not only because it is our moral duty, but also because the legacy of King Stephen reminds us that we have a lot to lose and therefore a lot to defend,” he stressed.
St Stephen statue in Csömör, Hungary. Photo by Vargos csomor.hu via Facebook/Csömör aktuális
He added that this is of particular importance in the 175th anniversary of the founding of the Hungarian Defense Forces. “Today, we are building a new Hungarian Defense Forces, a modern, powerful, strong, 21st century, high-tech army”, he underlined, noting that a strong budget and good weaponry were “required and necessary”, but that “the country needs committed soldiers who love their country, have a strong spirit and will, and are well-trained”.
That is why our remembrance is only good and authentic if our founding fathers give us an example and strength for the Hungarian soldiers of today and tomorrow, he emphasized.
King Saint Stephen sacrificed his entire life for his people. We have no choice but to preserve this legacy, just as our ancestors did,”
Featured image: MTI/Máthé Zoltán