In recognition of his efforts in the defense of Christianity throughout Europe, the promotion of Christian values, and his personal contribution to the friendship between the Hungarian and Serbian nations, the Serbian Orthodox Patriarch Porfirije awarded Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán with the gold degree of the Order of Merit of St. Sava.
According to the prime minister’s press chief, the Serbian patriarch said the following on the occasion of the presentation of the award:
“Prime Minister Viktor Orbán is a unique statesman in Europe who ‘fights for the soul of Europe’ and whose words other peoples, including the Serbs, pay attention to.”
After receiving the recognition, the prime minister emphasized in his speech that he proudly received the award from his Serbian Orthodox Christian brother, according to a report from Hungarian news outlet Magyar Nemzet.
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Christianity is the most persecuted religion in the world.
“We are peaceful people, we want peace, but there is a war going on for the soul of Europe, and without Christian unity, including Orthodoxy, we cannot win this fight,” Orbán said.
The Hungarian prime minister has long advocated for Christians, including hosting the Conference on Christian Persecution in Budapest on an annual basis. In 2020, he said during the conference: “Hungarians make up 0.2 percent of the world’s population. Does it make sense for such a small nation to stand up and act? Our answer is yes. And your presence, attention, encouragement and the fact that you are here today convinces us of this, not to mention the history of Christianity. The 12 apostles certainly represented a smaller proportion of humanity at their time than Hungarians today, yet we are all here.”
Pointing to the fact that Christians are the most persecuted religious group in the world, Orbán said that “a mysterious force shuts the mouths of European politicians and cripples their arms. Christians are not allowed to be mentioned on their own, only together with other groups that are being persecuted for their faiths.”
Saint Sava (1174–1236) is the founder of the independent Serbian Orthodox Church, and the Order of Merit named after him is awarded by the Serbian Orthodox Church to ecclesiastical and secular persons with special merit.