The Prime Minister described Imre Kerényi as an extraordinary artist, an exemplary patriot, a director, teacher, editor and untiring warrior for Hungarian culture.
Mr. Orbán said that “He was always at full speed, always with something to do: to teach the finer points of his profession; to create an uncompromising Hungarian theatre; to convey our culture to every Hungarian, both within and beyond our borders.”
He added that Imre Kerényi not only knew and proclaimed the fact that culture keeps Hungarians Hungarian, but he also advanced that culture.
“Imre Kerényi was a Christian Hungarian, and was aware of the duties of honour involved in that”, the Prime Minister said.
Mr. Orbán recalled that in 2002, “after four beautiful, creative and uplifting years”, Hungarians returned to power who urged the country to “dare to be small”
At that time, the Prime Minster said, with an entire career of theatrical work behind him, Imre Kerényi decided to enter the arena of Hungarian public life. With his characteristic conscientiousness and staying power he become a spiritual leader of the newly-formed “civic circles”, Mr. Orbán recalled, adding that “this is how I became his brother-in-arms, and he mine; and we fought together through good times and bad.”
He said that Imre Kerényi endured attacks made on him with a straight back and with his characteristic sense of humour, and that whatever he turned his hand to radiated optimism, discipline, faith and the confidence of expertise.
He taught that a performance, a book – and even a country – is only worth something if its creators invest their entire personalities in it, said Mr. Orbán, who added that this is the only way that the country can retain the Hungarian completeness, for which Imre Kerényi fought and worked – even during his final illness.
In his eulogy to Imre Kerényi, the Prime Minister said “I thought that not only would we fight together, but that we would reach our destination together; we will reach it without you – but it will not feel the same.”