August the twentieth reminds us that we are citizens of one of Europe’s most ancient states, Gergely Gulyás, the Minister heading the Prime Minister’s Office stated in an address delivered on Tuesday in Budapest on the occasion of the presentation of state decorations and ministerial commendations.

Our statehood with a history of one thousand and twenty years has enjoyed few quiet centuries, few centuries during which decades passed in peace and advancement, few centuries during which families were able to live in security, and to build villages and towns without having to fight and to defend themselves, the Minister recalled.

He highlighted that much more frequently we had to fight for the survival, freedom, language, faith and community of the nation.

He added that the past never disappears without a trace, it is here with us in its consequences and in our creations, “the present feeds from it, and the future is built upon it”.

On this day when we celebrate the history of a thousand years, we must establish that all in all, despite all difficulties, “our country is in better shape than our continent is,” Mr Gulyás stated, highlighting that we are witnessing “in a number of countries around Europe the mindless destruction of an old ghost which was rather shabby already upon its birth, but which is now all the more violent.”

He said “in the spirit of making a clean slate of the past,” according to “customs adopted from the New World” statues can be demolished, and citizens insisting on their past can be beaten up and harassed. We are shocked to see images of Budapest from 2006, this time in Belarus; blatant disregard for freedom of assembly. We are observing the ever more open persecution of Christians around the world, and the gradual weakening of Christian communities in Europe, he said.

He added that we can also see groups of the intelligentsia forced to remain silent, “and everything that went and goes together with the communist liturgy we know all too well: enforced self-criticism in response to peer pressure, people expected to distance themselves from certain notions, enforced apologies,” churches burnt down, destroyed or turned into cafes, and newly-erected statues of Marx and Lenin.

Mr Gulyás stressed that Central Europe is making every effort to oppose this part of today’s defining spirit, quoting a passage of St. Stephen’s admonitions according to which those who disregard the laws laid down by their ancestors care nothing for divine laws either.

For us freedom is important, the state serving its citizens is important, the community which perseveres in its culture even under attack is important, he stated, observing that the Hungarian State which is more than a thousand years old provides the framework and protection for this.

(MTI/Cabinet Office of the Prime Minister)