The Reformers’ Square was handed over in Budapest on Sunday. Zoltán Balog, Minister of Human Capacities told at the ceremony square built in Sashalom quarters: it is our shared responsibility to make it visible that Christians live in Hungary. Gergely Gulyás emphasized at the ceremony: the past, present and future of Reformation and Hungarians go hand in hand. According to the fraction leader of Fidesz, the struggle to practice Protestant faith in Hungarian history always coincided with the fight for survival of Hungarians as a whole.
Gergely Gulyás recalled the story of the 47 pastors condemned to galleys for their belief in 1674, adding that Hungarian Protestants did not have any other chance for centuries but “to adhere adamantly to their faith and conviction, to the teaching of Christ and their church.” “The stubbornness of Calvinists became part of our national character”, he noted.
The story of the galley-slaves is alive in the consciousness of Hungarians for some centuries, and, even to this day, teaches that Christian and Hungarian people cannot give up their motherland, faith or religion, said Gergely Gulyás. He noted: the 500th anniversary of Reformation is a celebration not only for Protestants, but also for all Hungarians, which reminds us to the role of Reformation in the survival of Hungarians. Zoltán Balog, Minister of Human Capacities said in his welcome speech: it is our shared responsibility to ensure that the confession of faith in statues or other symbols are not some kind of church obligation, and that it is not kept between the four walls of churches, but we should be “in the space” that was “given to us” during the times of history.
“It is our shared responsibility to make it visible that Christians live in Hungary.”, told the Minister. He added: he wishes to see more and more people in this country publicly admitting their faith, not make it an unostentatious act, but referring to the source from which we all are being fed. Kristóf Szatmáry (Fidesz) member of the parliament, founder of the Foundation for the worthy celebration of the 500th anniversary of Reformation told that the square that was built is be largest memorial place of Reformation in Central Europe. The politician also told that, just as any other change, Reformation started with violence and turmoil. Eventually, Reformation did not fall in the battle, but nor did it become the exclusive religion, and in this duality, it had a productive effect on everything in Europe, then around the world. By this, it showed how thought coming from true faith can influence the whole world, he added.
Péter Kovács (Fidesz-KDNP), Mayor of District 16 in Budapest said that reformists did not through religion and faith away 500 years ago, but reformed it. In the Mayor’s view, this is what happed to this square too: in its abandoned state it meant nothing for the people living there, but it has been reshaped so that it can be a square where people in the suburbs can look around and think about other things in their lives or environment that needs reforming. The memorial was blessed by Rev. István Bogádi Szabó, Pastoral President of the Council of the Reformed Church in Hungary and Péter Gáncs, President-Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Hungary. The square on 12,000 square metres at the end of Sashalom Street in District 16 of Budapest features a Reformation memorial in its centre, and was built from HUF 336.5 million. This square laying at the same altitude above sea level as Gellért hill has a 17-metre tall lookout, a 80-square-metre café, pedestrian streets and parking areas.
In the centre of the square Mária R. Törley designed a round fountain with a diameter of three metres and made of white stone, and features a sphere in the middle onto which water is flowing from three directions. The most important thoughts of reformists were inscribed into the brim of the fountain, and next to the fountain the statue of two church-founders, Martin Luther and John Calvin as well as that of István Bocskai, Prince of Transylvania, who signed the Treaty of Vienna, which ensured the freedom of religion.