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Acceptance speech by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán after being awarded the Order of Saint Sava, Gold Degree

Your Holiness,

This award from Your Holiness is unprecedented in Hungarian political life. I will be proud of this award for the rest of my life, for three reasons: firstly, because I received it from a Christian brother; secondly, because I received it from an Orthodox brother; and thirdly, because I received it from a Serbian. All three of these reasons are extremely important to me. I also thank you for the blessing you have given me and my family, and I hope that God will help you as much as he has helped me in recent years.

I could not describe the situation in Europe more accurately than you have just done. We are people of peace, and we want peace; yet we find ourselves in the middle of a war. And, as you have said, this battle is for the soul of Europe. In this we have no choice: it is about our lives, it is about the lives of our children and grandchildren; and in this struggle we must accept that which God has designated. But this is an arduous struggle: great forces are emerging; and when great waters are in flood, great dams must be built. I am convinced that we cannot win this battle without Christian unity. In fact, when I look at my own Calvinist Church and when I look at the Christian, apostolic Church of Rome, the Roman Catholic Church, I must sadly conclude that we cannot win this battle without Orthodoxy. So we will be in great need of you and your spiritual support. We ask you and those you work alongside to give us all possible help in maintaining the spiritual strength needed for the fight.

I am conscious of the fact that this is a very great honour, and one which makes me happy. But it will always cause me a problem: Is it not too big for me? Is it possible to deserve such a great honour? We are unable to answer that question. All I can say is that I think that God will help me to earn this award not for what I have done so far, but for what I will do hereafter. So I see this award as an appeal, as an encouragement and as the assignment of a duty. I am grateful for it.