Archbishop at National Pilgrimage: Slovakia Needs Leaders Pursuing Truth

Greek Catholic Metropolitan Archbishop of Presov Jan Babjak incenses a (Latin) cross during the main Mass at the National Pilgrimage of Saints Cyril and Methodius in Nitra on July 5. (Photo by TASR)

Nitra, July 5 (TASR) – The Slovak public doesn’t want to hear any more fairy tales but the truth after the February murder of investigative journalist Jan Kuciak, said Greek Catholic Metropolitan Archbishop of Presov Jan Babjak in a sermon at the National Pilgrimage of Saints Cyril and Methodius in Nitra on Thursday.

The main Mass of the pilgrimage in Nitra on July 5, a public holiday in Slovakia, was attended by thousands of people, including Parliamentary Chairman Andrej Danko (Slovak National Party/SNS) and Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini (Smer-SD).

“Society is thirsting for truth. After the double murder of Jan Kuciak and [his fiancée] Martina Kusnirova, with the murderer still at large, we want to hear no more fairy tales or myths, we want to hear the truth. This is what we should keep pursuing – the truth, so that such ill justice doesn’t reoccur. Our society is sensitive to corruption, clientelism, the abuse of European funds, fraud and mafia practices. Decent people want to see these issues resolved. Truth leads us to goodness, truthfulness and honesty; we see the entire nation demanding these values,” said the archbishop.

Alluding to Saints Cyril and Methodius, dubbed the Apostles to the Slavs, Babjak said that the country needs to hear a “strong voice and powerful example of our own-era apostles, responsible leaders in the country, who’d be essentially concerned about our people”.

Calling for the emergence of true spiritual and secular leaders, the archbishop warned against attempts from outside to “force unacceptable laws upon us at the dawn of the third millennium”.

“Don’t let others to force us how to live, what our marriages should look like, how many children we’re allowed to have, what and how our children should be taught and what and whom our children should believe,” urged Babjak.

The archbishop further denounced what he described as a recent tendency of Christians in Slovakia to compromise with evil, even where the truth is clear.

“I sometimes wish to see someone appear and shout like the child from Andersen’s fairy tale about the emperor’s new clothes – ‘He’s naked!’ Let’s call things by their proper names, not pretend to be modern, cultured and civilised, while in fact descending into an uncultured nature and new-era paganism, which was once uprooted in our country by the mission of Saints Cyril and Methodius,” added the archbishop.

Apart from serving as Christian missionaries among the Slavs in the ninth century, Saints Cyril and Methodius, who originated from Thessaloniki, Greece, are also credited with devising the Glagolitic alphabet, the ancestor of Cyrillic, refining Great Moravia’s legal groundwork and contributing towards the Slavs’ cultural development in general.

The annual July 5 national pilgrimages in Nitra in their honour were renewed after the fall of Communism in November 1989, taking place as of 1990 on Calvary hill at the initiative of Cardinal Jan Chryzostom Korec. His successor as Bishop of Nitra Viliam Judak moved the celebrations to the cathedral at Nitra Castle in 2006, but due to mass attendance each year, he later transferred it to Svatopluk Square in the city centre. The home bishop invites a different bishop each year to preside over the festivities.