President of the Republic Katalin Novák meets with Transcarpathian Hungarians at the Roman Catholic Church of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross in Berehove, August 22, 2023.
I bring you the strength of fifteen million Hungarians today – said President of the Republic Katalin Novák on Tuesday, at the first public place of her visit to Ukraine, at the St. Stephen’s Day ecumenical service in the Church of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross in Berehove (Beregszász, in historical Hungary).
At the Roman Catholic Church, the President of the Republic commemorated King St. Stephen together with the faithful of the historical churches of Transcarpathia. The ecumenical service included the blessing and consecration of the bread personally baked by Katalin Novák on the occasion of the national holiday.
President Katalin Novák at the Roman Catholic Church in Berehove, Ukraine. Photo: Facebook/Novák Katalin official
In her speech, Novák remarked that despite all the difficulties, it is good to celebrate together with the Hungarians of Transcarpathia. The last time she lit the first candle with them was last Advent.
I thanked and would like to thank all those who persevere, who are here, who build communities and who lead these communities,”
Novák stressed that during her talks in Kiev, she will say: “Those who are under attack, those in trouble can count on Hungary. Hungary helps.” She added: “We expect Hungarians to live here in Transcarpathia in a way that is worthy of them and of Europe.”
Referring to the war in Ukraine, she emphasized the need to gather strength, mentioning that she was there to help achieve this. “Today, I bring the strength of 15 million Hungarians to Berehove, Transcarpathia in Ukraine”, the President stated, adding that
we must also draw strength from Ukrainian friends who can be counted on.”
Novák expressed hope that “we will have a common future, even if we cannot see the path to it now.”
We can and must draw strength from our shared history of a thousand years, from the members of the community, from the work of the aid organizations that have been here to help since the first day of the war, the President underlined. Most of all, she said, “we must draw strength from our common Christian faith.”
The president prayed for peace with the faithful who filled the church.
Afterwards, Novák visited the bust of King Stephen and laid a wreath. She then held talks with Hungarian political, religious, and educational leaders from Transcarpathia.
In Berehove, the head of state met, among others, the mother of a soldier who died in the war, and local large families.
Featured image: MTI/János Nemes