St Stephen House
Features: From Harvest Dance to Easter “Sprinkling” ............ pp. 6-7. Masses in Hungarian across England ...................... pp. 8-9. Late night film clubs................................................. pp. 10-11.
he number of Hungarians living in the
culture and passing it on to the next generation.
UK is estimated to be in the hundreds
One of the largest “Hungarian spaces” in England
of thousands. The press in Budapest
is the grand St Stephen House, boasting a 300sqm
often talk about London as the second
hall and 950sqm community space spread over
largest Hungarian city in the world,
three floors and situated in an excellent location;
maybe with a little sarcasm, as we do not know
Ealing, in West London. The former school
the actual number. However, we can be certain
building was purchased by the Association of
that the British capital is one of the favourite
Roman Catholic Hungarians in Great Britain in
destinations of Hungarians moving abroad.
January 2007. Following extensive renovation and
As a result, in recent years we have seen a
refurbishment the House opened its doors to the
surge in new Hungarian groups in and around
public in April 2008. Events held here are now an
London: language schools, religious groups, folk
integral part of life for Hungarians in London.
dance assemblies, all adding to the number of
This publication allows the reader to have a
already established Hungarian associations and
glimpse into this colourful life. Welcome to St
organisations with the aim of preserving our
Published by Tamás Szabó, Chairman of the Association of Roman Catholic Hungarians in Great Britain – Angliai Római Katolikus Magyarok Egyesülete (ARKME) Editor: Gabe Harrach Lector: Attila Korpos Photos: Lehel Kelemen, ARKME-archives Graphic and printing design: András Somodi
Contact us: 62 Little Ealing Lane, London, W5 4EA 07858 399572 firstname.lastname@example.org facebook.com/szentistvanhaz.london www.szentistvanhaz.org
Dear Reader, a very warm welcome to St Stephen House!
have a “Hungarian island”
where we not only can hear the Word of God in our own mother tongue but we can also celebrate our national holidays, enjoy cultural programmes and have fun in unity, regardless of our religious background.
I am especially proud that our child-friendly, he Association of Roman Catholic
family oriented events attract a great number of
Hungarians in Great Britain has been
families. As you can see in the following pages, St
operating since 1954. St Stephen
Stephen House is not only a religious centre but
House is owned and maintained by
also a hub for family and culture.
the Association with its original aim
We could not do without our volunteers.
of helping and promoting Hungarian religious
The House would simply have to shut down
and cultural life in London and its surroundings.
without them. Therefore, we would like to
While we have a strong relationship with other
thank each and every person who in the past
organisations, notably with the Hungarian Roman
ten years and beyond selflessly gave their time,
Catholic Chaplaincy, we have always been proud
energy and expertise to run the House. New
to be an independent non-profit organisation,
people are always welcome, so why not join us
supported not by outside sources but by the
as a volunteer or maybe later as a committee
generosity of our members. We are truly grateful
member in the Association?
for the donations and legacies of previous
I do sincerely hope that each and every one
generations and decades of wise financial
of you will find something in the House that
decisions made by the Association’s leaders.
enriches your life and will draw you back. Join
Our pride and treasure, St Stephen House
us, be part of our community!
celebrates its ten year anniversary in 2018. Following in the footsteps of our former home, Mindszenty House, we carry on the good work in
a beautiful and spacious building. We are proud to
Chairman of ARKME
“Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. Listen, my son to my words and act upon those, So that you may long life.” (Saint Stephen’s Advice to His Son, Prince Imre)
t is a huge privilege and only by the grace
Communion during Sunday masses, being fed
of God that I am here to serve among the
by the gospel and participate in the joy and
Hungarian community in England. It is as
mystery of the Eucharist.
much an honour as a huge responsibility.
I invite you, my dear Pilgrim, to join us in St
I wish to serve the church of Jesus Christ
Stephen House. We welcome you in our midst!
and the children of Our Lady, the Virgin Mary,
Come and put down your life’s burden, have
aiming to welcome everybody, those with a
some rest, renew in spirit and go on your journey
religious background and those without.
refreshed and joyful until you finally arrive home.
Everybody who steps into St Stephen House – let it be for a Christening or simply seeking Hungarian speaking company – should find a spiritual home with us. St Stephen House is a place where people
Fr. János Csicsó
can be born again, leave their burden in the
Hungarian Roman Catholic Chaplain
sacrament of confession, share in the Holy
Ecclesiastical President of ARKME
Heroes of the early days: Edit Adler, Mรกria Orosz and Mรกria Hastings, former committee members of ARKME
History of St Stephen House
rom the generous donations of the community, Hungarian refugees in London formed their Association in Notting Hill, London in the early 1950s. The house they bought was
180sqm property and was named after Jรณzsef Mindszenty, the Cardinal who was forced to confess to a host of crimes by the Communist regime. The sad events of the Hungarian Revolution in 1956 and the influx of refugees that followed meant that the House had an ever growing, important role in the life of those forced to flee their homeland, providing mainly spiritual support. However, when organising larger events the Association had to rent premises from Polish or Ukranian organisations. Therefore, the need for a more suitable and more spacious community centre was pressing.
Ferenc Liscsey: “For forty years we have been aiming to create a community space for Hungarians in London.” Interestingly enough, the
purchase of a new building
was helped by a change
holding balls, film clubs,
in the urban economic
and other cultural events.
The upstairs area now
the previously run down
contains a library, a chapel,
Notting Hill area had become
two flats and a loft area.
so fashionable that property prices
The doors were opened to the
shot up. Therefore the sale of Mindszenty
public in April 2008 when the community
House in January 2007 provided funds not only for
space, the chapel and the library were ready to
a building four times its size in Ealing, West London
welcome visitors. While Mindszenty House was
but also for its full restoration and refurbishment.
run entirely by volunteers, it became necessary
But it could not have happened without personal
to employ paid staff to tend the needs of the
connections, either: the then chairperson, Mrs Edit
community and the new House. At present three
Adler’s grandchildren attended the school and
people work tirelessly to secure the smooth
that is how the Association was informed in good
operation of catering, events, staying guests and
time of the property coming onto the market. The
general daily tasks. Volunteers are still essential
purchase process was also smoother due to the
and most welcome when larger events take
fact that it was a Catholic school therefore the
local council and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Westminster wished the purchaser to continue promoting religious values through its cultural activities. Monsignor György Tüttő, the then
History of ARKME in a nutshell
The Association of Roman Catholic Hungarians in Great Britain is a registered charity founded in 1954 in bringing the process to success by his by refugees of the Communist regime. Following the wise negotiations with the Diocese. sad events of the Hungarian revolution in 1956 when Restoration and refurbishment was led tens of thousands of Hungarians chose Great Britain by the Treasurer of the Association, as their new land, the role of the Association grew even Ferenc Liscsey, Architect. In the stronger and played a pivotal role in uniting Hungarians wishing to preserve their culture and heritage. The Hungarian next three and a half years the community was boosted again in 2004 when Hungary joined building now named after the the European Union. Following the freedom to take employment first Hungarian king, Saint in the UK tens if not hundreds of thousands arrived to live and Stephen, was given a new work here. In the past more than six decades The Association of inner structure: classroom Roman Catholic Hungarians in Great Britain played a key role in the walls were knocked down religious, cultural and leisure-time activities of Hungarians living in to create a 270sqm London and beyond. Roman Catholic Chaplain was elemental
From the Harvest Dance to Easter “Sprinkling” The Association’s previous home, Mindszenty House had limited space for larger events. St Stephen House, which is four times bigger, is a hub of daily activities for Hungarians living in London.
he best attended programmes are always national holidays and special celebrations. Six of those are major events: the Harvest Dance in September,
the “Pig-feast” in November, a Christmas Fair with Santa Claus visiting the children in December, a Fancy dress party and Easter “sprinkling” in the spring and the Pentecost Ball in early summer. At each of these occasions we welcome around 100-150 guests to enjoy a delicious threecourse Hungarian meal, with excellent wine,
live music and dance. (Small group activities taking place on a weekly or fortnightly basis are described on pages 11-12.)
Due to the high volume of interest, all major events must be pre-booked, and are sometimes sold out weeks, even months in advance. The diversity of the Hungarian community in London is well reflected by the attendees, all ages and all Hungarian areas â€“ and across borders (Transylvania, Subcarpathian region, Slovakia and Vojvodina). Hungarian national celebrations are also major annual events, often hosted by St Stephen House. These are organized by a Hungarian umbrella organisation, MAOSZ and boast prominent guests from the political, diplomatic and artistic worlds.
Hungarian Religious Life Any community needs a religious base where the spiritual need of their members are met. Hungarian Roman Catholics can participate in masses in two places in London; St Stephen House and St Gertrude’s Catholic Church, South Croydon, and at three locations outside the capital: Luton, Bristol and Cambridge.
RKME being a Roman Catholic Association pressed the need for religious activities right from its start. In the past decades four priests served the spiritual needs
couple (where the Indian man did learn the
of Hungarians in London and the surrounding
Hungarian language) requested their child to
area: Béla Ispánki, Monsignor George Tüttő,
be Christened. Relatives came as far as from
József Virágh and now János Csicsó who has
Calcutta! The same applies to weddings. In
been our devoted Chaplain since 2011. Masses
our marriage preparation courses the Chaplain
were celebrated for decades in Mindszenty
welcomed people from Italy, Poland even
House (see the article on pages 4-5), and now
Argentina. You can see that those participating
it is St Stephen House where they take place
in the sacraments at St Stephen House reach far
on the first and third Sunday of each month
beyond the usual group of Hungarian Roman
at 11.30 am. The first Sundays are celebrated
Catholics. One should not be surprised by it, as
with traditional church music while on the third
Father János Csicsó often says: this Chaplaincy
Sundays we sing modern hymns and worship
is not a parish, we are a mission station. Our
songs. We have a church group of around 50-
Chaplain stresses the importance of confession,
as this provides an opportunity to leave our
Besides masses The Roman Catholic Chaplaincy
burdens at the cross of Jesus. Confession in
celebrates other sacraments as well, including
one’s mother tongue is a much deeper, more
Christenings, confession, First Communion,
relaxed and intimate matter as well.
Confirmation, Marriage and Anointing of the
Father János Csicsó makes sure that besides
Sick. There is a growing number of Christenings
a year in St Stephen House, presently around 15-
organized, too. Pilgrimages, adult and children’s
20 a year. Although the sacrament is celebrated
Catechism classes, retreats during Advent and
in Hungarian, the babies may come from mixed
Lent, often with guest speakers serve those who
marriages. Not long ago a Hungarian-Indian
wish to deepen their faith. In May 2017 it was St
Stephen House that hosted a conference for Hungarian priest in Western Europe.
Our Lady of Hungary
We can mention among our guest several
Roman Catholic Chaplaincy
prominent church leaders like Cardinal Péter Erdő from Hungary, Archbishop
Fr. János Csicsó, Chaplain
György Jakubinyi from Transylania and
St Stephen House, 62 Little Ealing Lane, GB
several bishops. Our Lady of Hungary
London, W5 4EA, Great Britain
Roman Catholic Chaplaincy was active in
such international events as restarting
the annual pilgrimage in honour of
Saint Margaret of Scotland who had Hungarian origins and returning the
Hungarian masses are taking place at St Ste-
rare relic, the bones of Saint Thomas
phen House on the first and third Sunday of each
Becket to Canterbury.
month at 11.30 am.
Small group activities Besides the annual major events St Stephen House provides space and opportunity for small group activities organised by and for Hungarians in and around London. These weekly, fortnightly or monthly activities are the backbone of the House’s provision for different groups.
t has been years since the “Szeredás” Folk Dance Group started rehearsing in St Stephen House, and has been for a while our official dance group. A devoted couple from Transylvania, Imre and Panka lead
the group with enthusiasm and expertise. They often entertain us by their beautiful dancing as well as perform at other events across London, and so become ambassadors of Hungarian music and dance in the British capital. We are glad to see that British couples take part in our live music dances and courses, too. The film club was called to life almost ten years ago with a projector and surround sound that provides a near cinema experience. Films are
selected but their artistic
The list of activities is enriched by scout
value and include Hungarian
groups. The “Lajos Kossuth” Scout Association
that has 50 members and counting, celebrated
their 5th anniversary in September 2017 in
St Stephen House. (Hungarian scouting in
“film days” to accommodate longer
Western Europe was founded after World War
productions. These are all followed by
II by the then refugees, however many of the
deep and lively discussions, sometimes
original leaders have now sadly died. After a
going late into the night.
new influx of people arrived in the 2000s, a
A relatively new enterprise in the House
new generation of enthusiastic, young people
is the board game club where participants
with families, the movement was started all
can relax but also challenge themselves and
others in different strategic games. The aim
St Stephen House is in a good working relationship
of this weekend club is to entertain and build
with other Hungarian organisations, too who can
up the community. We also have to mention
use the facilities free or at a discounted price.
other events that are not regularly organised by
Recently MAOSZ, the National Federation of
definitely add to the diversity and liveliness of
Hungarians is England held their congress in the
the House, like the table tennis championship
spacious Mindszenty Hall downstairs. London
first organised in 2014 and cultural events,
Angels, the Hungarian leading handball team in
theatre, pop or classical concerts organised
the UK organised their fan club with us and we
either by ARKME or other providers.
host a popular weekly English bridge club too.