Good Friday to become a public holiday
15. 10. 2016.
“Good Friday will be a public holiday”, Prime Minster Viktor Orbán announced at the commemorative session of the Hungarian Reformed Church Synod.

In his speech at the session marking the 60th anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution and War of Independence and held in commemoration of the victims and the persecuted, the Prime Minister stressed: “The Reformation Year is an appropriate moment to facilitate the worthy celebration of Good Friday through this measure”.

Mr. Orbán stressed: “The cold reality of the dictatorship wears down human dignity and leaves behind only emptiness, a reduced vitality and the abandoning of self”.“However, in Hungary our heroes were victorious, because in the darkest period of Hungarian history, during the soviet occupation, they succeeded in giving us something to be proud of, although only in secret; they succeeded in leaving upcoming generations a legacy not of the forty years of the dictatorship’s depressing darkness, of human weakness and dissention, but one of endurance, bravery, heroism and the glory of greatness”, he added.

The Prime Minister explained: “Protestantism is one of the fundamental building blocks of modern European democracy and culture”. “The half century old tradition of having the courage to stand up for one’s beliefs is today once again setting a standard for Europe”, because it once again requires courage to state the simple truth that “modern European culture and today’s social system has Christianity to thank for its existence”, he pointed out.

The Prime Minister said that in his opinion today they not only “want to sever out roots on Europe’s political stage, but they also want to change the soil” from which Europe sprang to life, and we often lack sufficient strength to say even this out loud.

The Reformation Year is an appropriate moment to facilitate the worthy celebration of Good Friday through this measure Photo: Gergely Botár/
The Reformation Year is an appropriate moment to facilitate the worthy celebration of Good Friday through this measure
Photo: Gergely Botár/

The Hungarian Reformed Church bore within it the courage to keep faith even when “the communist dictatorship took away its historic schools, when it forced its leaders and learned bishops into exile, and when it replaced its leaders with peace priests and forced its pastors to live off charity”, Mr. Orbán said. But then came 23 October, which proved that “only the stars that top the spires of churches are lasting”, and the Hungarian Reformed Church came to life once again, he recalled. Revolutions “never come about on a drawing board”, they have no recipe, no script, and sometimes “gush forth from a repressed state of mind that cannot be expressed through words”, the Prime Minister highlighted.

Revolutions also have no attached timing device, “they burst forth from the deepest and most private layer of a nations’ frame of mind; they are extraordinary moments of grace when the world around us suddenly boils over without warning”, Mr. Orbán said. And accordingly revolutions can only be beaten down, never beaten, “they smoulder continuously under the soles of their suppressors”, he said.

The Prime Minister said that in his view a revolution can only fail if it loses the purity of its goals, when a community of brave citizens is transformed into an angry and ignoble crowd, and this is when “men of the soul” must take the stage.

Photo: Gergely Botár/
Photo: Gergely Botár/

With relation to this Mr. Orbán recalled Reformed Pastor Lajos Gulyás, who on 26 October 1956, when an angry mob wanted to lynch members of the secret police (ÁVH) after the authorities shot at protestors in Mosonmagyaróvár, risked his life to prevent the people from taking the law into their own hands because he knew that “the only way he could say yes to the Revolution was by saying no to chaos and murder”. “Later he was put on show trial, executed and buried in an unmarked grave”, he pointed out.
“We also commemorate those pastors who were imprisoned because they stood up for the revolution and for the reforming of the Church, and the fact that we had to wait until 1989 before the theologians who were killed during the Revolution could receive a commemorative plaque”, he added.

The Prime Minister stressed: “We owe a debt of gratitude to the members of the Reformed Church who took part in the fighting, in saving the wounded and the persecuted, and to those who remembered the Revolution and the revolutionaries and who bore the plight of Hungarian freedom and the pain of the mourners in their prayers. The example of the martyrs and confessors of the faith of 1956 is “a living past that remains with us today”, and which constitutes part of the history of the nation and the Church, he said.