Budapest (MTI) – The government has allocated 855 million forints (EUR 2.81m) for programmes to be organised at the Benedictine Abbey of Pannonhalma in north-western Hungary during the 2016 Saint Martin Year, Akos Kara, a state secretary of the national development ministry, said on Wednesday.
In March, the government declared 2016 a St Martin memorial year to mark the 1700th anniversary of the legendary bishop’s birth.
The government has allocated another 2.5 billion forints to the city of Szombathely in western Hungary for programmes between November 11, 2015 and November 11, 2016 and related development projects, the state secretary of the human resources ministry told a press conference in Pannonhalma.
An additional 100 million forints will be made available for programmes to be held in churches and parishes in Hungary and neighbouring countries with Hungarian communities throughout the memorial year, said Miklos Soltesz, who is in charge of church and minority relations.
“The memorial year and their programmes will carry a social, cultural and charity message in Hungary and the Carpathian Basin as a whole,” he said.
Martin was born in the Roman province of Pannonia near the city of Savaria, what is today Szombathely, in 316.
The son of a wealthy military officer, he was required to join the cavalry when he turned fifteen. He became baptized in 339. His good deeds and his compassion and empathy for the poor became legendary and by popular demand he was appointed to bishop of Tours in 371. Legend has it that Martin reluctantly allowed himself to be consecrated bishop. Upon realising the true purpose of his summons to Tours, Martin is said to have hidden in a barn full of geese whose frantic cackling betrayed his location.