Statement of the Deputy Commissioner for the Rights of National Minorities on the occasion of the celebration of the Bulgarian Day of Independence
As the Deputy Commissioner for the Rights of National Minorities in Hungary, I find it very important to commemorate those holidays which are of key significance to the national communities living in Hungary with regard to strengthening their ties to their mother countries and preserving their identities. Today, we would also like to remember and remind you of such an important event.
Bulgaria declared its national independence and broke with the Ottoman Empire on September 22, 1908. Thus, this day is an important holiday for the Bulgarian nation, including the Bulgarians living in Hungary.
The history of the Bulgarian community shows the picture of a solidary and persevering community, one that cherishes its identity, language, religion and cultural traditions. This community-building of the Bulgarians living in Hungary has been and can be exemplary not only to the other national minorities living in our country but also to the majority society of today. The secret of Bulgarians is perhaps that the strength and love of freedom of the ancestors continue to live on in today’s communities. As has been put by the President of the National Self-Government of Bulgarians in Hungary Dancso Muszev, “although the Bulgarian national minority is one of the smallest in Hungary in its number, it can be listed among the largest ones on account of its high level of organization and loyalty.”
In the context of Bulgarian-Hungarian relations, we should not forget about another important upcoming holiday either. Pursuant to the decision adopted by the National Assembly of Hungary last year, it is on October 19 each year that we celebrate the Day of Bulgarian-Hungarian Friendship. On this day, the Bulgarian Orthodox Church commemorates Saint John of Rila, whose robbed relics were encased in gold by Hungarian king Béla III and were sent to Sofia as a sign of his respect for the Bulgarian nation.
Based on the traditions that tie our nations together, I am convinced that the community of Bulgarians in Hungary will remain a state-creating factor, a national community that preserves and actively builds its identity within the Hungarian society.
Dr. Elisabeth Sándor-Szalay, Prof. HC
Professor, Deputy Ombudsman