President Áder: Hungary was first to recognize "freedom of conscience" in 16th century
"It became natural in Transylvania and all of Hungary to have villages where churches of up to two or three different denominations would coexist peacefully instead of them having a single state or provincial religion,” the president said
President János Áder has highlighted how the freedom of conscience was recognized on a Hungarian territory as early as the 16th century while Europe “burned in the religious impatience of rival teachings”.
The president made the remarks during an event marking the 500th anniversary of the start of Reformation in Wittenberg on Tuesday. President Áder was the only foreign speaker at the event, also attended by German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Chancellor Angela Merkel and Latvian President Raimonds Vejonis.
“Barely more than 50 years after the historic events in Wittenberg, in 1568, the Diet of Transylvania passed a law in the city of Torda [now Turda in Romania] declaring that all people and communities have a right to choose their religious denominations, priests and churches,” President Áder said.
“This was how it became natural in Transylvania and all of Hungary to have villages where churches of up to two or three different denominations would coexist peacefully instead of them having a single state or provincial religion,” the president added.
President Áder also pointed out that when Hungarians look back at the past 500 years, they can easily list the “gifts” of the Reformation, which he said included the honesty of Protestantism, the right to challenge views, the search for truth through debate and the freedom of thought.