JORDAN – On the occasion of Hungary’s national day of the feast of King St.Stephen on August 20, the country’s President, János Áder awarded Bishop William Shomali, Latin Patriarchal Vicar in Jordan, with the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Merit of Hungary. The state decoration was conferred last Thursday, September 5, by Ambassador Csaba Czibere in a special ceremony at the Hungarian Embassy in Amman.
Please find below the address of Bishop William Shomali during the ceremony:
“Your excellency the Ambassador of Hungary in Jordan,
Your excellencies and friends,
I feel moved today to be surrounded by good friends and influential people from many sectors, church sector, finance, charity, political and diplomatic sectors on occasion of my receiving Saint Stephen state insignia.
I do not hide my surprise when I was announced of the decoration of the officer Cross of merit. My first question was: others deserve it much more than me. Why me? The only reason that justifies my receiving it is that I get it in the name of you all.
In fact, without the collaboration of many good and dedicated people either during my eight years work as auxiliary bishop in Jerusalem during which I made the acquaintance of HE Czibere Csaba, either in Jordan where I work since less than three years, I was and still am surrounded by very good collaborators from the clergy and also from the lay people who are generous in giving me from their advice and support.
There is an important thing that I would like to mention today. After my visit to Hungary two years ago upon invitation from prime minister Victor Orban, I feel a great admiration and sympathy towards the Hungarian people, a people who suffered during the past ages from the occupation of their country by foreigners. This suffering forged in him a great compassion towards others. Sign of this compassion is the determination of the government to support the persecuted Christians in the world. No country in the world dared to establish a department for persecuted Christians and to organize annual conferences for their sake. Although Hungary is not a rich country, however it is very generous in terms of international support. One token of this are the scholarships offered by the government to Hungarian universities. Jordan has the lion’s share since a Jordanian student can choose any major or specialization from any level: BA or Master or doctorate. The number of candidates each year is relatively high. This is thanks to the good work of His Excellency the ambassador Csaba and of our Consul in Hungary HE Zaid Naffa. I am happy he is here today.
On this occasion I would like to thank the Hungarian government in my name, in the name of the church and in the name of the Muasher family, well represented here by Mr Zeid Mouasher for the generous grant given to finish the construction of the church built on the baptismal site. It will be a memorial for all Christianity to celebrate the great event which took place on the East Bank of the Sacred River which gave its name to our beloved country Jordan. I hope that, with the other promised donations, we will be able to finish the church within a reasonable time.
At the end I would like to renew my thanks to you all for honouring me and my church by your presence. Our friendship and mutual support will serve Jordan as a country and the Christian community which lives with great freedom and prosperity thanks to our beloved king and to his sense of justice and rectitude.
Dear excellencies and friends,
Thank you and God bless you all.”