Ukrainian-Russian conflict. What would you say to the Hungarians living in Subcarpathia during this critical situation in Ukraine? – this was the question that the reformed radio station (Sion) in Beregszász asked the Presidency Council of the Hungarian Reformed Church on 7 March. Below you can read the edited versions of their responses.
Gusztáv Bölcskei – Bishop of Transtibiscan Church District
“We are thankful to God that so far there has not been a bigger problem in Subcarpathia. But we are filled with worry because of the recent happenings that make daily life harder and create uncertainty and fear in our Hungarian brothers and sisters in Subcarpathia. David – according to his prayer – was encouraged during his time of distress by the hope that with God he too could jump over the stone wall. This is what we say to encourage ourselves and others. From where we are, we are trying to do everything we can to help, if they needed any help, we would give it to them.”
Lajos Csáti Szabó – Croatian bishop
"At the time of the Yugoslavian Wars, we also lived through what the people of Subcarpathia are experiencing. They are in a difficult situation, but we as reformed are not people of hopelessness because we know that Christ is with us until the end of the world. We have to look up to him, hold onto him and then we are able to bear what God has for us."
József Csomós – Bishop of Cistibiscan Church District
"The present and the future are in the hands of God. We experience this in our private life every day. Let us accept this even when worldwide powers are in strained relations. Situations may change but God does not. The lord of our private life is the lord of world history as well. One of Zoltán Gárdonyi’s choral works comes to mind in which the male parts are competing with each other:
'He creates kings, he overthrows kings' // 'Blessed be the name of God because he creates and overthrows kings'"
István Csűry – Bishop of Királyhágómellék Reformed Church District
“We cannot endure that innocent Hungarians living beyond the border are being put into dangerous situations because of other nations’ conflicts. We demand the Russian-Ukrainian conflict to be solved in a way in which people of Subcarpathia remain uninjured. We also call for the conscience of the great powers; even if the situation of many minorities is in order, the situation of the Hungarians is still unsolved. It is time for the great powers to turn their eyes on us.”
László Fazekas – Slovakian bishop
“We encourage those people of goodwill who try to promote the freedom of people living in Ukraine and promote their belonging to European nations. This goal however, can only be reached with peaceful tools. There are no borders in Europe today. The unity of the western part of the continent should be spread to Ukraine. If this succeeds, the Hungarian reformed unity becomes a more tangible experience for our sisters and brother in Subcarpathia."
Pál Huszár – Lay President of Transdanubian Church District
"We hope there will be peace and order in Ukraine soon. Hungarians living there are very important for us, but we also wish that the sons of other nations not become toys of great powers, but rather be able to live the way they really want to live."
Béla Kató – Bishop of Transylvania
“As humans, there are moments in life that seem to be dark, and even longer periods when our hearts are filled with fear. In those situations, we must realize that God is caring for us. Our history has also bared witness to this. If we did not believe God holds us in the palm of his hands and did not put us behind his back, the Hungarians living beyond the borders should have escaped their homeland a long time ago. Whatever happens, it is God’s will because he is the lord of history too. Because of sin, misery and war have always been part of our world, but it is no question that good will be victorious over evil. So, we must know: Whoever looks upon the future with faith lives, whoever does not is lost.”
Gábor Markó – Lay President of Transylvania
“In February, the Ukrainian Parliament withdrew the law ensuring minorities’ right to use their languages. A country wanting to join Europe has to accept the basic human rights. In Transylvania we well know: not everything is what it seems. Many times even if the law provides possibility, there is already a problem with its realization. However, Europe cannot let this happen. Everyone has a stake in peaceful coexistence and its pledge is providing minority rights and increasing the role of regions. This is also the requirement of economic growth too.”
József Steinbach – Bishop of Transdanubian Church District
“We are thankful to God that the Hungarian reformed Church was established in 2009, because now we can more deliberately declare to our brothers and sisters in Subcarpathia that they belong to us and we are standing with them. We trust in the comforting grace of God, and we are praying for Him to resolve this complicated situation soon.”
István Szabó – Bishop of Danubian Church District
“We have always held our Subcarpathian brothers and sisters in our love and prayers, and in the current situation we are paying even more attention to them. We encourage and ask them to defeat every fear with the bravery of faith, hold on and endure this hard situation with the wisdom of faith. We are praying for them to see the way prepared by God in the midst of chaos. As the old saying goes, even the midst of human chaos, God keeps and is working on plans he has made for our good."
Originally published in Reformátusok Lapja 2014/12