President Katalin Novák on Saturday opened the memorial year marking the 800th anniversary of the inauguration of the basilica at the Benedictine Abbey of Pannonhalma, in western Hungary. The president referred to Pannonhalma Abbey as “Europe’s Christian fortress … whose monks have followed the instructions of (King) Saint Stephen to pray for the survival of the country at all times.” Members of the Benedictine order “develop and heal the environment rather than poison it; they strive for harmony rather than chaos, seek order rather than disorder, they educate rather than corrupt,” she said.
Education at the abbey’s secondary school is “an inspiration for all schools in Hungary”, she said. “Pannonhalma has been the cradle of Hungarian education, in which knowledge and faith are inseparable … At Pannonhalma competitiveness and moral education go together; they reinforce rather than weaken each other.” Novák noted that the abbey was founded over a millennium ago, while its school 200 years. Ahead of the opening ceremony of the memorial year, mass was celebrated by Michael Wallace Banach, apostolic nuncio to Hungary.