Budapest, January 5 (MTI) – The guidance of 12th century saint Thomas Becket is much in need today, when Europe is seeking a solution to its crisis but fails to endorse the Christian foundations of its culture, state secretary István Mikola said on Thursday.
Mikola told a conference marking Thomas Becket memorial day that Becket had found guidance in the Christian faith and its firm values in a “stormy period”, and had held on to his faith until martyred in 1170. Only three years after his death he was canonised by the Pope, and Lucas, Archbishop of Esztergom, had a church built in northern Hungary in Becket’s honour not much later, he added.
In the second half of the 20th century, the freedom of the church was severely restricted in Hungary but during the 1970s, Cardinal László Léreligiiokai, who was then the Archbishop of Esztergom, created a tradition of delivering prayers in the presence of Becket’s relics in the chapel dedicated to the saint on his memorial day, Mikola said.
Esztergom and Canterbury have maintained cultural and church relations since the 12th century, when Becket and Lucas studied together and made friends in Paris. Lekai, who was president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Hungary from 1976 until his death in 1986, presented some of Becket’s relics held in Esztergom to Canterbury because all of Becket’s relics in England had been destroyed on the order of Henry VIII.