The Hungarian civic government will never sacrifice any of its national communities on the altar of the daily interests of imperial power politics, and would likewise never expect anything of the kind from other states, Gergely Gulyás, the Minister heading the Prime Minister’s Office said on Monday at the ceremonial inauguration of the Reformed church of Palágykomoróc (Palad’-Komarivtsi), near Ungvár (Uzhhorod), refurbished from grants provided by the Hungarian government.

In his welcome address delivered as part of a Thanksgiving Service, Mr Gulyás looked back upon the tribulations of the church built in the 13th century and the local Hungarian community in the past one hundred years. He stressed that “the Hungarian nation can only survive if its own communities are able to foster their past and traditions, and to preserve their faith. Therefore, it is important that the 800-year-old Palágykomoróc church has been restored to its original beauty, serving the advancement of the local Reformed Church community.” He added that “when we speak of a unified Hungarian nation, in practice we realise this in such a way that the Hungarian State and Government help Hungarian communities beyond the borders which seek to preserve their values, and which wish to survive.”

Referring to the history of the Hungarian community in Palágykomoróc and in Transcarpathia in the 20th century, the Minister highlighted that “in this part of Europe – we can say on the basis of our historical experience – it is hard for one nation to be free if the other one which lives beside is not, if it is not allowed to use its mother tongue, if it is not allowed to pray and to learn in its own language”. He stressed that “the Hungarian civic government will never sacrifice any of its national communities on the altar of the daily interests of imperial power politics, and will likewise never expect anything of the kind from other states.”

Regarding Ukrainian-Hungarian relations, the politician pointed out that Hungary has a vested interest in a strong and rising Ukraine which it also proved by having condemned, together with the V4, Russian aggression against Ukraine in the clearest possible terms, and by having been one of the most ardent supporters of granting visa-free travel to Ukraine in the European Union. “Though we have been disappointed more than once before, and we need a great deal of faith to be hopeful again, we sincerely believe that the changes that are currently under way and have taken place in recent months in Ukraine’s state leadership open the way for the satisfactory settlement of the issue of the usage of the mother tongue in public education, the restoration of regulations that minimum correspond to those in effect before, and the strengthening of good neighbourly relations and of Ukraine,” he pointed out.

Mr Gulyás spoke in words of praise about the activities of the Teleki László Foundation which started the refurbishment of the church in 2006 and completed it in the past few years with grants from the Rómer Flóris Plan. The Foundation’s activities focus on the preservation of Hungarian built-up heritage beyond the borders.

With reference to the upcoming 100th anniversary of the Treaty of Trianon, Mr Gulyás said “we cannot rewrite the past. Yet, even upon the passage of a century, we still have national communities, and our churches are being refurbished. While others – in particular, in societies in Western Europe – have lost their national identity even within their own state borders, we – ‘weakened, but not spent’ – have preserved our Hungarian identity also beyond the state borders.”

In his speech, László Diószegi, Director of the Teleki László Foundation said the Palágykomoróc Reformed church is an extremely valuable structure, in the interior of which restorers discovered highly valuable frescos and a number of architectural artefacts, including a crypt where Count János Butler known from the author Kálmán Mikszáth’s novel entitled A Strange Marriage sleeps his eternal sleep. He pointed out that while today the region is divided by borders, one of the sisters of the Palágykomoróc church can be found in Csaroda in Hungary, while another one in Kistoronya in Slovakia, which indicates that the region once formed a single unit – as does the Hungarian community today.

Stressing the importance of unity, Attila Kovács, minister of the some 220-strong Palágykomoróc Reformed Church congregation recalled that, in addition to experts from Transcarpathia, architects from Hungary and restorers from Marosvásárhely (Targu Mures, Romania) also took part in the refurbishment of one of Transcarpathia’s most valuable churches, a project which took some 20 years to complete. The refurbished House of God proves that with unity and faith it is possible to conquer any obstacle, he said. At the same time, he thanked the Hungarian government and the Teleki László Foundation for the grants they provided for the restoration of the church.

(Prime Minister's Office/MTI)