Because St. Stephen, Hungary’s first king, founded a Christian country and wanted an independent state, Christianity and independence form the foundations of the Hungarian nation to this day, the ministerial commissioner for ethnic Hungarians abroad said in Düsseldorf on Friday.
In a speech marking Hungary’s August 20 national holiday at the Hungarian consulate general, Péter Szilágyi said that “although many are silent on the essence of Christianity, we should not be afraid to say that St. Stephen founded a Christian country in Europe”.
St. Stephen’s Christianity goes hand in hand with the issue of Hungarian independence, Szilágyi said, noting that the king’s openness to the Roman Catholic Church was in part related to him wanting an independent state.
Szilágyi said that though Stephen had maintained good relations with Holy Roman Emperor Otto III and married Gisela of Bavaria, “when it came to his country, he favored an independent Hungarian kingdom”.
Hungarians and Germans have remained friends over the last thousand years, he said, adding that “our goal is to preserve this fruitful relationship.”
Szilágyi added that on the basis of the country’s independence and Christian foundations, Hungary also represented “the importance of a Europe of nations while placing our faith in the strength of the European Union”.
The commissioner emphasized that the Hungarian government prioritized the unity of the Hungarian nation. This, he said, was supported by the government’s policies for Hungarians abroad, the Hungarian Diaspora Council and the opportunity for ethnic Hungarians to acquire Hungarian citizenship and exercise their voting rights.
Featured photo illustration by Dániel Kiss/MTI