“Celebration is necessary. Even now, and indeed especially now, we truly need to look at our common life from a perspective that helps us understand our past, see our present realistically, and make wise choices to help us in our future. It is now that we must rise to new heights and seek in-depth as to how we can find the natural cohesion of a nation,” President Katalin Novák said in Székesfehérvár earlier today honoring St. Stephen’s Day.
According to President Novák, August 20 is a celebration of joy. In her words, not even the communist dictatorship could take away this day completely, even though they cowardly renamed it and tried to strip it of its essence. “Secretly they knew even then: We are the people of Saint Stephen, and this root cannot be torn from the hearts of the Hungarian people,” Novák said.
Commending the actions of Saint Stephen, President Novák said that “our fate is intertwined with that of Europe, we are chained together.”
“We cry together, we laugh together. In the footsteps of Géza, our founding king, we chose Christianity and the West, and we confirmed the same commitment when we joined the European Union,” she added.
“Today, the question is not where we belong, but whether in 20 years, let alone 1,000 years, the natural home of the Hungarians — Christian Europe — will still exist. Will it survive the test of time? We need the community of European countries, and they need us,” President Novák said.
In President Novák’s view, today we are living in tough times, and even more sobering times lie ahead. “To restore and preserve order in the world, including in Europe, we now need courageous, decisive and wise leaders capable of upholding law and justice,” she said, adding that today Hungary is being tested.
In order for Hungary to come out strong from this test, we do not simply need good leaders but sober, understanding, and wise people as well.
“Hungarians are crisis-resilient and have the capacity to stick together, even if it is often not visible,” President Novák said. She further called upon Hungarians around the world to unite their forces so that in 20 years, and even 1,000 years, our national prayer will still be sung in Hungarian on St. Stephen’s Day.
“Today, we celebrate the foundation of our Christian state. The foundation of a state is similar to the foundation of a family. It requires courage, faith, determination and hope for the future. Without the courageous decision of Saint Stephen, there would be no independent and strong Hungary today. Just as we would not be here today without the courageous decisions of our great-grandparents, grandparents and parents. We needed them to dare to say yes. To say yes to life, to say yes to us. It is from these yeses that our community was built,” President Novák said.
Coming to her closing remarks, President Novák wished for every Hungarian to always have fresh bread on the table and people with whom they can sit around the table. “As long as we are capable of caring for our parents and grandparents, and as long as our children and grandchildren feel the need to tell us stories, we will always have someone to make bread for,” she concluded.
Read the full text of the speech here.