Putting Christianity “back in the centre of collective identity” is the only way to halt the “decay” of western civilisation, Levente Magyar, state secretary of foreign affairs, said on Friday.
Hungary is making efforts to establish a system based on Christian values, guarantees freedoms and recognises the dignity and achievements of individuals, Magyar said in a lecture marking the memorial day of Saint Thomas of Canterbury in Esztergom, in northern Hungary.
“Our sometimes sharp critical remarks concerning the shortcomings of the European system are motivated by concern and responsibility for our common future as well as the awareness that we represent the true cause based on our faith rather than on momentary interests,” he said.
The memorial day was marked with an ecumenical service at the hillside chapel that bears Saint Thomas’s name.
The event was attended by Iain Lindsay, UK Ambassador to Hungary, and Péter Szabadhegy, Hungary’s former ambassador to Britain.
Ties between the archiepiscopal seats of Esztergom and Canterbury go back to the 12th century, when Thomas Becket and Lukács Bánfi, who would become the Archbishop of Esztergom, formed a friendship during their studies in Paris. Some of the saint’s relics were salvaged and kept in Esztergom from 1538 after King Henry VIII ordered their destruction. After more than four centuries, Cardinal László Lékai donated some of them to the Archiepiscopacy of Canterbury.