Statement of Bishop Szabó Concerning Horthy Statue Unveiling

2013. november 07., csütörtök

Statement of Bishop István Szabó (Danubian District of the Reformed Church in Hungary) in relation to the unveiling of the statue of Governor Miklós Horthy at the Budapest-Szabadság square Reformed Congregation.

On Sunday, 3 November alongside the worship service, a bust of Miklós Horthy, a polarizing political figure in Hungarian history, was unveiled in front of the Szabadság Square Reformed Church, in Budapest. According to the Jobbik party website, the ceremony was co-organized by the party to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Vienna Awards and to commemorate the laying of the Szabadság Square church cornerstone. Whether the action went against the RCH's Synod decision in 1998 that states there cannot be programs held in local congregations, which serve the aims of civil organizations whose basic laws are incompatible with the doctrines and the theologies of the church, will be examined in the legal process started by competent church authorities.


Since the unveiling, the statue and event have been met with critical reaction. In fact, several pastors from the RCH began circulating a petition to express their disapproval and condemnation of the congregation's disregard of church declarations. 

Budapest, November 4. 2013.

Undersigned, as the Bishop of the Danubian District of the Reformed Church in Hungary, I have asked the Dean of the respected Presbytery to conduct an expedited examination into the events of Sunday, November 3, to establish the responsibility of those involved in order to introduce disciplinary actions if deemed necessary. I made this request with a special focus on whether the behavior of the Rev. Lóránt Hegedűs Jr. coincides with the church's regulation on ministers, especially points 1)a, h; i; j of paragraph 91.: had the before mentioned done his best for the good reputation of the church, had the before mentioned avoided scandalizing behavior, had the before mentioned avoided to act in a way which would divide the church community.

Until the end of the examination process I can but express my shock over neglecting our church's common understanding and declarations, furthermore to shame the Christian community, there was a provocative political action organized at Budapest-Szabadság square Reformed church. The political profit of this action anybody can see just now, but the shame caused to the dignity of the church and the credibility of the ministry of our pastors is unforeseeable.

Bishop István Szabó

 

A bust of Regent Miklós Horthy, Hungary's leader in the interwar period and during WWII, was inaugurated in Budapest on Sunday amidst protest by left-wing demonstrators. The bust was unveiled by radical nationalist Jobbik lawmaker Enikő Hegedűs in front of a Calvinist church on Szabadság Square in downtown Budapest.

 

The commemoration of Horthy, who led the country from 1920 to 1944, was attended by about 400 people, some of whom had WWII military or gendarme uniforms on or wore the uniform of the banned Hungarian Guard. Addressing the event, Jobbik MP Márton Gyöngyösi called Miklós Horthy (1868-1957) Hungary's greatest statesman in the 20th century, and criticised the post-1990 governments for their failure to rehabilitate him.

 

The event provoked a flash mob, with hundreds of counter-demonstrators gathering on the square, many wearing the yellow star. Portraits of great Hungarian artists, scholars, athletes and writers of Jewish origin were held up. Several banners showed Horthy and Hitler together with an inscription suggesting that they had brought Hungary to ruin together.

 

Excerpt from an article published on 4 November

Hungarian News Agency www.hungarymatters.hu

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