Mr. Orbán said that today there are many who dispute – or even deny and reject – the intertwining of Christianity with the fate of Europe. However, he said, “We Hungarians believe that Christian culture is not just one source of strength among many, but the source of all strength. It is the cornerstone which bonds the structure of European civilisation together. Without it there is no freedom; and neither is there European life.”
According to the Prime Minister, today it is particularly important to remember that for two thousand years every major renewal in Europe has derived from Christianity, including the establishment of the European Union, which was “a project originally rooted in Christianity.”
The Prime Minister recalled that eighty years ago the people of Pesterzsébet decided to build a church, thus marking the beginning of “a great, elaborate and uplifting story”. He said there are times when grand plans end up at the back of a drawer, while in worse scenarios they are destroyed, and great enterprises must be abandoned. He said that such a fate is not confined to buildings: nation-building reforms, scientific projects, and indeed spiritual and intellectual construction can be similarly wrecked.
But, he continued, “at times like this, there is a turnaround, summed up in the phrase: ‘and yet…’ This is the key phrase in our history. ‘And yet’: despite all obstacles, harmful forces and external delays, the time comes for another door to open, for plans to be revisited, and for unity to be reborn. We even raise the funds, and those who persevered throughout are happy to see fulfilment.”
Mr. Orbán described the church consecration on Sunday as the celebration of such a fulfilment.
He also said that supporting church communities brings riches for the entire nation, because churches provide an act of service for the community “without which we would all be the poorer”.
The Prime Minster concluded his speech by saying that “Now, with hearts full of gratitude as we inaugurate the church of the Klapka tér Reformed Church congregation, we believe that we Hungarians will exist as a nation for as long as we are capable of such deeds.”
At the service István Bogárdi Szabó, Bishop of the Dunamellék Diocese of the Reformed Church in Hungary, said that eighty years ago the Klapka tér congregation was given the strength to build its church. Then, under communism, “they were presented with a great deal of nothing”, but after the fall of communism they were again given the strength to revive the old idea of building a church. He said that there is only one thing to thank communism for: that it came to an end.
The Bishop stressed that whenever members of the Reformed Church community start something they will see through to the end.
Gábor Veress, the minister of the Klapka tér congregation, said that Bálint Szeghalmy, the architect of the church, upheld the noblest traditions of Calvinist church-building. “We believe that our beloved church […] will be a bastion and a refuge,” he said.
Bálint Szeghalmy was commissioned to prepare the designs for the Klapka tér church in 1937. The groundbreaking ceremony was held in 1939, and the completed undercroft was consecrated in 1940. The congregation’s website states that construction work was abandoned due to the war.
In 2017 work began on completion of the church according to the original design. Reverend Veress said that construction costs amounted to HUF 375 million, with funds provided by the Government and the District XX local government.