On 21 July, on the occasion of the 567th anniversary of the Nándorfehérvár victory, a commemorative event was held in Belgrade in the organization of the Hungarian embassy and Belgrade municipal branch of the Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians (AVH). During the commemoration, József Magyar, Hungary’s ambassador to Belgrade, Deputy Attaché Major Attila Veres and the invitees laid wreaths at the memorial in the Belgrade Fortress and at John Hunyadi’s statue in Zemun.
Besides the members of the Hungarian embassy, also in attendance at the wreath-laying event held in the fortress were representatives in Belgrade of the Hungarian National Council and the Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians, Miomir Djordjevic, State Secretary of the Ministry of Labor, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs as well as representatives of the city of Belgrade and members of Hungarian re-enactor organizations and orders of vitéz.
In his speech delivered in the Kalemegdan, Hungary’s ambassador to Belgrade József Magyar highlighted the resolve of the Christian army, which, being made up of Hungarians and soldiers of other nationalities, was fighting to preserve its Hungarian/Serbian character, its Christianity and culture, in essence its identity. This motivates today’s Hungarians and Serbs to join forces to work together in the interest of preserving their identity, languages, cultures, good neighborly relations and first of all, the Hungarian community living here, – and likewise, the Serbian community living in Hungary.
The ceremony held at the Hunyadi statue in Zimun symbolically started with the ringing of the noon bell at 12:00. In what followed, the invitees placed the flowers of remembrance and then Minister of Labor, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs Nikola Selaković delivered a speech, to be followed with another delivered by Hungary’s ambassador to Belgrade József Magyar. The minister drew a parallel with respect to the joint history of the two nations, which had some darker periods as well, yet they demonstrated their friendship and cooperation on several occasions. Mr. Selaković pointed out that just as Serbians and Hungarians collectively defended the Christian Europe in Belgrade more than 500 years ago, today this region, Serbia can be the new bastion of the European Union, which means that Europe, too will also become more secure with Belgrade’s becoming part of a united Europe again.
Nebojša Marjanović, president of the Belgrade branch of the AVH drew attention to the fact that the battle of Nándorfehérvár and John Hunyadi’s person are symbols of the two nations’ friendship, and the commemoration serves as a solid basis for cultivating the common future and the friendship between the two nations.
Between 4-22 July 1456, led by Mihály Szilágyi, the Christian defenders (Hungarians and Serbs) heroically defended the fortress of Nándorfehérvár (today Belgrade) against Turkish Sultan Mehmed II’s besieging army that had great numerical superiority. After their arrival, the relieving Christian forces led by John Hunyadi and John of Capistrano won a victory over the armies of the Ottoman Empire during the battle beside the fortress on 22 July. Following the victory, the Ottoman army fled from the fortress on the bank of River Danube, which meant that Hungary and Europe managed to avoid the threat of Turkish expansion for decades to come. To this day, as initiated by Pope Callixtus III, the noon bell tolls every day to remind the Christian world of the victory of Hunyadi and his men.