Villa of former communist leader Kádár given to Syriac Orthodox Church

Villa was built by a former Hungarian politician forced to leave the country in 1948

editor: REMIX NEWS
author: Dénes Albert

In a highly symbolic gesture, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán offered the use of the villa of former Hungarian communist leader János Kádár to the Syriac Orthodox Church on Wednesday.
“The residence of the late leader of the anti-church-party state is being put to use by the persecuted Christian church,” Orbán said upon handing over the keys to Patriarch Ignatius Afrem II.
The decision was made as part of the Hungary Helps program, which has been providing life-saving assistance to Christian communities persecuted for their faith for four years now and which also took the occasion to report on the results of its assistance to the Syrian Orthodox Church so far: The program has funded humanitarian projects in Syria, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon; the renovation of homes damaged in the fighting in these areas; and the maintenance of one orphanage.
Located in a prestigious area of the Buda hills, the history of the villa is a tiny capsule of Hungarian post-WWII history: Its builder and original owner, István Vértes, a member of the Independent Hungarian Democratic Party, gave up ownership in exchange for being allowed to leave the country in 1948; the then minister of interior Kádár took possession of it. He resided there until 1952, when in the Hungarian iteration of the Stalinist purge, he was sentenced to life in a show trial.
When Stalin died in 1954, Kádár was rehabilitated and moved in again. After the failed 1956 anti-Soviet uprising, he became the leader of the communist party, which was relabeled the Hungarian Socialist Workers’ Party, and remained its de facto leader for 32 years.
After the regime change, the villa housed a children’s rehabilitation center until it was first leased then bought by an entrepreneur in 2002, who enlarged the building despite strict regulations concerning any changes to historic monuments.
Title image: The villa of former communist leader János Kádár in Buda. (source: Google street view)


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