Hungary for freedom

If you don’t know this, let me be the first to say – Hungary rocks. If you’re going to go to Europe, go to Budapest, Hungary’s capital. It’s awesome & Akosh lives there. Akosh was our tour guide on a free walking tour. I like to think of him as “the one that got away.” He is a beautiful Hungarian man who is full of insight and knows everything about Hungarian history and culture. So, here’s a Hungarian history lesson, courtesy of Akosh:

A secret snapshot of Akosh

A secret snapshot of Akosh (on the left)

(If the history freaks you out you can scroll through & look at the bolded words. Those are the groups or powers that overtook Hungary in that year.)

895: Hungarians become a unified people between the Volga River & the Ural Mountains

972: St. Stephen I kills an uncle to become king of Hungary and began converting Hungary into a feudal state. He changed their religion and their language.

1241: The Mongols invaded Hungary, killing 2,000,000 million Hungarians and overtaking their kingdom. Eventually the Mongols assimilated into Hungarian culture and the military was finally forced to retreat.

1458: The good King Matthias Corvinus was elected and ruled justly. Unfortunately he died without any lawful sons, leaving Hungary to be taken over by another nation’s ruler & eventually crippled by a peasant rebellion.

St. Matthias Cathedral

St. Matthias Cathedral

1526: After 150 years of war the Ottoman Empire overtakes Hungary. Hungary was ruled by Turks until the Holy League finally succeeded in kicking them out in 1718.

1718: At the exit of the Ottoman Empire came the Habsburg Empire, who sought a little gratitude for saving Hungary from the Turks.

1848: Hungary attempted a revolution. It didn’t go so well. Hungary settled for becoming Austria-Hungary.

1914: Hungary joined Germany in WWI. That did not go so well for them either, but they didn’t have to be part of Austria anymore.

1918: Since Hungary is the new kid on the block it has no military. So, Czechoslovakia took a piece, Romania took a piece, Serbia took a piece, and France took a piece.

1919: Communist takeover, which led to Hungary losing 71% of its territory & 66% of its population in 1920

1941: Germany invades the Soviet Union, so Hungary decides to give them a second chance. Once again, things did not go so well for Hungary. 60% of the economy was destroyed and more than 1 million lives were lost.

1947: Another Soviet takeover

1956: Hungarians attempted a revolution. Didn’t go so well.

1989: Hungary is finally free from communism. Unfortunately democracy led to a decline in living standards.

2004: Hungary joins the EU

2010: A new party is elected. They change the constitution & the world is questioning Hungary’s stand on human rights and freedoms.

2014: A lot of the negative aftermath of communism still affects the daily lives of Hungarians. It will take a lot of time and reform to gain the justice they seek.

St. Stephen's

St. Stephen’s

So, now you know all there is to know about Hungarian history. We see that time after time Hungary is overtaken. Every time a group took over Hungary it promised freedom, but never held up its end of the deal. Groups offered Hungary prosperity, justice, equality, and rights – but never followed through. Hungary sought freedom from others and within themselves, but just couldn’t make it happen. So today their fourth graders don’t have any fun reenactments of their revolutionary heroes, but instead they walk by a memorial to a revolutionary massacre on their way to school each day. Mothers don’t have their children in the home of the free and the land of the brave, but instead they have to bribe their doctors huge amounts of money in hopes that their baby can survive the birth. For centuries they have sought freedom and only been taken captive.

Budapest

Budapest (pronounced buda-PESH if you want to sound pretentious)

We so often do the same thing. We give into things we think will set us free, then we find ourselves taken captive by them, suffering at their will, being forced to follow their commands. But we can worship a God who declares freedom for his people. His kingdom is coming to overtake and destroy the one that rules the earth. When he becomes our king he will not create a feudal society, he will not demand us to do things he has not done himself, he will not be unjust, he will not be unruly, he will not let any other nation conquer his kingdom, he will never hand his kingdom to an unfit son, he will not abandon his people, and he will extend all the riches of the kingdom to you for all eternity.

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery…For to freedom you were called… Galatians 5.1,13