null Message by the Deputy Commissioner for the Rights of National Minorities on the Greek National Holiday

The Hungarian-Greek relations that go back to more than one thousand years, as well as the peaceful and enriching cohabitation of the Greek settlers and ethnic Hungarians for long centuries offer numerous points of connection and historical events that are worth remembering. Hungarians got in contact with Byzantium already before the Hungarian conquest of the Carpathian Basin and the impact of Greek ecclesiastical culture deeply affected the medieval history of Hungary, which is also witnessed by some elements of our Holy Crown reflecting Greek influence. The settlement of Greek inhabitants in Hungary was of varying intensity for several centuries, from which the settlement of those Greeks who arrived here in consequence of the conquests of the Ottoman Empire, as well as the acceptance of the Greek families escaping to Hungary from the military dictatorship in the mid-20th century stand out.

The fates of our nations are also linked by that both the Hungarian and the Greek nations regard themselves as especially freedom-loving and our wars of independence in the 19th century show a lot of resemblance. Just like we Hungarians, the Greeks also celebrate their national independence in the month of March: March 25th is the holiday of the beginning of the Greek war of independence against the Turks. As a result of the Philhellenic Movement that evolved in Hungary at the time, there were numerous Hungarian volunteers fighting in the Greek war of independence and sacrificing their lives for the freedom of Greece. In pretty much the same way, the Greeks living in Hungary supported and participated in the Hungarian war of independence of 1848-49: an example for this was Pál Kiss, who made it to the rank of army general.

When we commemorate the national holiday of Greece, let us think of all the heroes who supported the case of the freedom and independence of Hungary and Greece through building the friendship between the two nations and supporting the joint fight against oppression.

Dr. Elisabeth Sándor-Szalay, Prof., HC University Professor, Deputy Commissioner for Human Rights