Despite historic differences, such as strife over once commonly claimed territories, a new era has dawned for relations between Hungarians and Serbs. Both nations are standing strong for their religious and cultural traditions and thereby resisting the demands for woke transformation coming from the EU. Illustrating this new unity among onetime rivals was the Serb patriarch’s decision to bestow an award on Hungary’s conservative premier, Viktor Orban.
On September 5, Patriarch Porfirije presented Orbán with the gold degree of the Order of Saint Sava, which is the highest decoration awarded by the Serbian Church. The ceremony took place at the Carmelite Monastery in Budapest, the current seat of Hungary’s prime ministers.
The news would not, perhaps, be worthy of special note were it not for the Patriarch’s speech justifying the award and Orbán’s response. Both addresses summarize the malaise of today’s Europe. Both represent a welcome example of solidarity and unity among Christian believers belonging to different traditions (Orbán is a Protestant at the helm of a mostly Roman Catholic nation). Both are therefore worth bringing in translation to our readers, as no other outlet in the Western world will do so.
Patriarch Porfirije started his address by noting that each individual and each community lives according to its own value system. With these values, he said, they organize private, social, and cultural life, form public morality, set priorities and standards, build relationships with others, and nurture their authentic identity:
Today, however, we are faced with waves of new value systems that are often aggressively imposed on a global scale with the aim of eradicating every existing natural and civilizational order, to establish a new paradigm. In this vortex, the intention is to destroy the foundations of identity and the very pillars of individuals and communities, to make everything relative, fragile, and fluid. You, on the other hand, stand for the Christian value system that springs from the Gospel, which God established. These are the values that created both the Hungarian and the Serbian people, the values that created Europe as we knew it until yesterday, as we lived in it until yesterday. In that we are the same; there is no difference between us.
The Patriarch pointed out that very few public figures use the words God, faith in God, the Church, spirituality, Christian values, the unity of all Christians, or the mission of the Church in their political vocabulary but that Orbán does so regularly:
The word “soul,” otherwise completely forgotten in contemporary discourse, is present in your public statements and in your commitment. Specifically, the phrase “the struggle for the soul of Europe” confirms your uniqueness. These words, when you say them, are not political platitudes, demagogic phrases to win votes. No! You, Mr. Orbán, live as you speak. That is why you are a statesman who deserves the trust of your people. That is why the eyes of many other Europeans are often turned towards you, Your Excellency. And my Orthodox Serbian people listen carefully to the position you take on any issue, especially the most difficult social, economic, and even political problems of our time, which shake Europe and the modern world.
The Patriarch concluded by stating that the relations between the Hungarians and the Serbs today are the best they have been for centuries and that Orbán additionally deserved the award for his contribution to the excellent relations between the two nations:
We invoke God’s blessing on your Hungarian people. We pray to God for you, Mr. Orbán, for your associates, and especially for your family. May Christ the Lord, through the prayers of Saint Sava of Serbia and Saint Stephen, King of Hungary, preserve and improve the harmony of Hungarians and Serbs for many blessed years.
Thanking His Holiness for the award, Prime Minister Orbán stressed that he was especially grateful that the Patriarch would pray for him and his family. He also said that for the rest of his life, he would be proud of the decoration for three reasons:
First, because I received that award from a Christian brother. The second reason is because I received the award from an Orthodox brother; and the third reason is that I received the award from a Serb. All three reasons are very important to me.
I could not describe the situation in Europe more accurately than you have described it in your own words. We are people of peace; we want peace, but unfortunately we are in the middle of a war, which, as you yourself said, is the struggle for the soul of Europe. We have no choice in our lives, in the lives of our children and our grandchildren, and we should accept what God has ordained for us. When there is a lot of water, then big dams should be built. I am personally convinced that we cannot win this battle without the unity of Christians. Moreover, we cannot win that battle without our Orthodox brothers. We will need you very much, and we count on your spiritual support. We ask you and your associates to give us all this support so that we can gain enough strength to fight the temptations.
Orbán ended by saying that he would pray to God to give him the strength to be worthy of the Order he had just received, which he characterized as both a challenge and an obligation.
We may add here that it is not just Serbians and Hungarians and certain other Europeans who look to Orbán for inspiration and bold guidance. To the chagrin of the left, he is fast becoming an inspiration and an example to all true conservatives, including those in North America and the antipodes.
While still in Hungary, Patriarch Porfirije posted a video statement supporting the ban on the massive LGBTQ propaganda event, Europride 2022, which was scheduled to be in Belgrade, September 12-18. It was supposed to include a big parade and homosexual activists from all over the Western world. The Patriarch said that the LGBTQ issue was “artificially imposed” on Serbia, that it was “completely contrary to our nation’s value system” and threatened the traditional values of all religions—not only the Orthodox Serbs but also their Catholic and Muslim neighbors.
A host of EU bigwigs and various Western bien-pensants have declared they would join the rally regardless of the ban, and those Western leaders who called on the Serbian authorities to allow the event to go ahead included U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Judging by Western media coverage, as exemplified in The Washington Post, there is simply no more pressing issue in today’s Serbia than that of “gay rights.”
Meanwhile, the plight of the Christian remnant in Kosovo—brutally oppressed by the terrorist Albanian Muslim regime, which was enthroned by NATO bombs in 1999—remains as unfit to print as ever.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban (Ismeretlen / via Wikimedia Commons, Public domain) and Serbian Patriarch Porfirije, 2022 (Andrija12345678 / via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0)