Hungary in 1967. Three years later, it also supported the celebration of the millennial anniversary of the conversion of the first Christian king of Hungary, Saint Stephen. Church leaders were invited to participate in the activities of the National People's Front. The party leaders were even issuing praises for the churches' role in inculcating citizens with their moral teachings. The churches were encouraged to establish relations with Hungarian exiles abroad, including ethnic Hungarian minorities in the surrounding communist states of Eastern Europe.
After the collapse of the communist regime in 1989, the freely elected Hungarian parliament expressed its support for religion in general and for individual churches in particular. However, in line with the rules of democracy, church and state remained separate institutions. The new law of compensations enabled churches to apply for the restitution of confiscated buildings--although not landed properties--including monasteries and convents. Over 10,000 requests for buildings were received. The new government of Jozsef Antall (see Antall, Jozsef) removed all state restrictions on religious practices. Freedom of religion and of conscience were fully restored.
Lazlo Leslie, "Religion and Nationality in Hungary," in Pedro Ramet, ed. Religion and Nationalism in Soviet and East European Politics ( Durham, NC, 1989).
Revai, Jozsef (1889-1959). Revai was a true intellectual, a gifted writer and essayist of considerable talent. He was born into a middle-class Jewish family and received a university education. In 1919, he was a minor functionary in the first communist government in Hungary headed by Bela Kun. After the fall of the Soviet Republic, Revai found asylum in the Soviet Union. During the 1920s and 1930s, Revai worked for the COMINTERN. He kept a low profile, and escaped the bloody purges that decimated the Hungarian exile community in the Soviet Union.
In 1944, Revai returned to Hungary as a member of Matyas Rakosi's (see Rakosi, Matyas) inner circle and became, in 1948, minister of culture and education. He was responsible for the Stalinization of Hungarian cultural life. Revai tried hard to imitate the behavior of his Soviet example, the Russian ideologue Andrey Zhdanov. He ordered the changing of curricula at every level of schooling to include heavy doses of Maxism-Lenninism. He forced Hungarian writers and artists to conform to the tenets of "socialist realism," portraying the allegedly eager cooperation of all the people in the building of Stalinist-style socialism. As the result of Revai's dogmatism and rigidity in directing cultural policies, followed by the enforcement efforts of the secret police, Hungarian cultural life was saturated by propaganda. It extolled the "achievements" of Soviet "socialist men" and denigrated Western culture as decadent, being on the verge of collapse.
In October 1956, Revai once again took refuge in the Soviet Union. In 1957, however, he was permitted to return to Hungary. He died two years later, a discredited, obscure man.