Zoltán Balog, the former human resources minister, was ordained as the Reformed Bishop of Dunamellék in Nagykőrös, in central Hungary, on Pentecost Monday. Never before has a former minister been elected bishop in Hungarian history. Just months after becoming a Bishop, the Fidesz-led governments’ former minister Zoltán Balog was made president of the Reformed Church’s new General Synod.
Balog was elected bishop of the Reformed Diocese of Dunamellék in November last year, but his ordination ceremony had to be postponed due to the coronavirus epidemic.
Addressing the ceremony, Parliamentary Speaker László Kövér greeted Balog, noting his career of service, and highlighting how had gone from being the Reformed priest of a village to a member of the Orbán government, before returning to the service of the church.
“Throughout his career, endurance was prevalent,” the Fidesz politician said. “First as a pastor and then serving as a minister, he was a true and trusted believer in the notion that Jesus showed the way to follow.”
Zoltán Balog with House Speaker László Kövér (Fidesz). Photo by Márton Mónus/MTI
Cardinal Péter Erdő, Hungary’s Catholic leader, emphasised the need for Christians to stay united at a time when communities faced new challenges and opportunities.
“We must work tirelessly towards keeping all Christians united, and cannot accept superficial compromises,” Erdő said.
Lutheran Bishop Tamás Fabiny said that Balog had always been known for his solidarity and support for the vulnerable and those left to fend for themselves.
At the ceremony, Balog said his duty would be “to fight for the people, for each and every one of them”.
“Let us fight for the stumbling and aimless young people, for the abandoned elderly and for those praying for a child,” Balog said. “Let us find them, let us knock on their door if they do not come by themselves. This is the most important service of the diocese and the church.”
The ceremony was also attended by Tamás Sulyok, the president of the Constitutional Court, Deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Semjén, Gergely Gulyás, the prime minister’s chief of staff, Katalin Novák, the family affairs minister, and Anikó Lévai, the wife of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.
Featured photo by Márton Mónus/MTI