Central Europe set a model for the world 450 years ago which it could do this time around again, the Hungarian parliamentary speaker said in Turda (Torda), in western Romania, on Saturday.
László Kövér addressed a ceremony marking the 450th anniversary of the Torda Edict, the very first law to declare freedom of religion.
Convened in 1568, the Diet of Torda issued an edict also known as Patent of Toleration as an early attempt to guarantee religious freedom in Christian Europe. Seen as a brave move toward religious toleration and a direct renunciation of national establishment of a single religion, the Edict of Torda legally applied to Roman Catholics, Lutherans, Calvinists and Unitarians.
Kövér said at the ceremony that accepting the call of Transylvanian representatives, he would initiate that the Hungarian parliament declare January 13 a memorial day for religious freedom to mark the Torda Edict.
He said that
the errors committed in the 20th century must not be repeated again today.
“I call on all of us to live and realise our national self-identities and endeavours not against one another, but with the mission to strengthen one another, in the spirit of national fairness,” he said.
“We must believe in this notion even if the recent unprecedentedly harsh and irrational political attack at Transylvania’s Hungarian community seems to contradict it,” Kövér said, referring to recent remarks by the Romanian prime minister.
Remarks by Mihai Tudose concerning Hungarian autonomy efforts were strongly rejected by the Hungarian foreign minister, who summoned the Romanian ambassador over the issue on Friday.
It is beyond doubt that recent remarks by Tudose which involved “basically threatening a national community and its representatives with execution are completely unacceptable and incompatible with European values and the 21st century,” Péter Szijjártó told a press conference.
Addressing the ceremony in Turda, Hungarian Human Resources Minister Zoltán Balog said
the message of the Diet 450 years ago is not simply the importance of religious tolerance and a respect towards all religions, but the importance of fighting for justice with noble tools.
While the enemy in 1568 was the Ottoman Empire, today it is the forces that not only reject but want to completely destroy Christian culture, he said.
In his address, Hunor Kelemen, leader of the ethnic Hungarian RMDSZ party, said it had been possible to take a decision 450 years ago that had prevented serious conflicts.
“We need such decisions today, in the 21st century,” he said.
The RMDSZ leader expressed hope that members of the Hungarian community “would not be hanged, as has recently been pledged” for any action taken in the interest of preserving their national identity and their freedom to decide their community’s future.