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Pannonhalma Archabbey the “Bastion of Christian Europe,” Says President Novák

MTI-Hungary Today 2023.11.13.

The Benedictine monastery of Pannonhalma (Western Hungary) is the bastion of Christian Europe, President of the Republic Katalin Novák stressed on Saturday, opening the commemorative year of the 800th anniversary of St. Martin’s Basilica’s reconstruction and consecration. The event was attended by E. Sylvester Vizi, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Friends of Hungary Foundation, publisher of our Hungary Today and Ungarn Heute news portals.

Following the solemn Mass, the President said that the founder of our state, Stephen I (975–1038), asked the Benedictine monks to pray for the survival of the country at all times, and that they had kept his request and still do. The President of the Republic emphasized that

the education provided by the Benedictine monks in Pannonhalma can and should be an inspiration for the entire Hungarian school system.

Pannonhalma is the cradle of Hungarian education, where knowledge and faith, competitiveness and moral education are united, she highlighted.

Katalin Novák recalled that the organization of the Hungarian kingdom was only a dream when, in 996, at the request of Prince Géza, Saint Astrik of Pannonhalma came to Hungary and the first Hungarian Benedictine monastery was built on the Mount of Saint Martin. Astrik was the first abbot of Pannonhalma, the first and certainly the most effective diplomat of the future Hungarian state. He also succeeded in his mission to Pope Sylvester, who brought the crown to King Stephen from Rome, she added.

The church and the school on the hill can be seen from a distance, this landmark points the way,

noted Katalin Novák, emphasizing that the Benedictine monastery of Pannonhalma is a bastion of Christian Europe, with its everlasting rules, faith and values.

Photo via MTI/Koszticsák Szilárd

The Hungarian history of more than ten consecutive centuries is concentrated in Pannonhalma, especially in its main building, the basilica, consecrated 800 years ago this year, said Katalin Novák, adding that the city built on a hill, the living Christian spirituality gives hope to all of us.

Michael Wallace Banach, Apostolic Nuncio to Hungary and Katalin Novák. Photo via Hungary Today

The President of the republic underlined that the archabbey was never destroyed and it has survived the Tatar invasion, the Turkish invasion, a firestorm and the world conflagration for a thousand years.

Pannonhalma has endured bitter times, preserved its traditions, expanded and renewed its environment and never for a moment forgotten its Christian mission.

Katalin Novák recalled the fire at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, adding that we should be grateful that the Pannonhalma Archabbey was not destroyed or burnt down, but that it is now standing here, beautified and enlarged. “Let us be thankful that we can stand here strengthened and not weakened, that we can witness construction and not degradation. Let us also give thanks that these 800-year-old walls can command our respect, prompt us to introspection and serve as a place of prayer,” the President pointed out.

The archabbey. Photo via Facebook/Pannonhalmi Főapátság

The opening Mass of the commemorative year was celebrated by Michael Wallace Banach, Apostolic Nuncio to Hungary. In addition to the invited guests of honor, the entire Pannonhalma community – monks, students, teachers – took part in the first event of the series of celebrations marking the anniversary.

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Via MTI, Featured image via Facebook/Novák Katalin

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