TOAST by His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew at the Luncheon offered by the Speaker of the National Assembly of Hungary (Budapest, September 11, 2021)
Honorable László Kövér, Speaker of the National Assembly of Hungary,
Distinguished guests and friends,
It is a special joy to be invited to this official luncheon hosted by the Speaker of the National Assembly in the context of the 52nd International Eucharistic Congress, which is convening during these days. We are all grateful to His Eminence Cardinal Péter Erdő for this blessed gathering.
When political leaders extend invitations to church leaders – and similarly, when religious leaders issue invitations to civil authorities – some may misinterpret such gestures as purely protocol or merely etiquette. Others may even suspect compliance or conformity on particular issues related to particular social interests.
However, what most people do not realize is that there can be no development or progress unless and until all sectors and institutions of the local and global society come together and collaborate toward resolutions of common interest and common concern.
This vision of unity and this mission of community have inspired our modest ministry over the last thirty years. This ideal has also shaped our ecumenical and ecological initiatives over the same period.
Many of you will have heard about the recent statement that we issued jointly with our beloved brothers Pope Francis and Archbishop Justin of Canterbury for the protection of God’s gift of creation. In that joint statement, we emphasized that “together, as communities and churches, cities and nations, we must . . . discover new ways of working together to break down the traditional barriers between peoples.” Moreover, as we also underlined, this urgency and responsibility of solidarity and collaboration is a profound lesson that we have learned from the ongoing pandemic. Because during this period, “we realized that, in facing such a worldwide calamity, no one is safe until everyone is safe, that our actions really do affect one another, and that what we do today affects what happens tomorrow.”
In this light, then, and in this perspective, we are grateful to be here among your colleagues. And we recognize that, together, we can do more; we can do better; we can do what is right by those to whom we are accountable and who entrust our humble spiritual leadership.
We pray for all those who govern the remarkable nation of Hungary, and we raise this toast to closer cooperation and for the peace of the whole world.