– What are your first thoughts at these moments?
– It is difficult to put into words what I feel. You can prepare for a lot of things but this is a moment that I would most like to spend in the face of God at a church altar – I know I can only do that later. I have just received the congratulations of my most immediate colleagues and fellow candidates and first of all I would also like to thank the diocese, the congregations, the parish councils, parish members and colleagues for the trust they have put in me. It is a great honour to be elected and a great challenge, too. I need to walk in the footsteps of predecessors who have done a lot to serve the diocese. I hope that the change of leadership will be a process that will not turn the life of the diocese upside down, just add some new tones, maybe. We could say that the same tunes will be played with slightly new arrangement – tunes of the eternal truth that our hearts and souls long for at all times.
– Before the elections you and the other three candidates spoke about the most urgent tasks to be carried out. We no longer need to speak about these plans in conditional sentences but ask the question directly: what would you like to start your episcopal ministry with?
– There are a lot of things to be done. First of all, we need to take stock of the matters in progress in the diocese. We need to review what issues need to be carried on and what needs to be terminated. I find it important to emphasise that great changes never happen overnight but often they need years and decades to unfold. I don’t have illusions about being able to do miracles in a blink. Instead, I want to believe, and this is what I pray for, that we may become a tool in God’s hands in anything that is being built over the course of time. It is Him that we need to ask to shape us by His Spirit and enable us to serve Him with our thoughts, feelings, even childhood dreams or old-age blessings.
– You have exhausting weeks and months behind you. Looking back, how do you feel about this period?
– It has been an extremely intensive period, indeed, because I could not put aside my regular duties, either. At the same time, it was a truly exciting period, too. We got to visit a lot of places and meet several parish council members or congregations that we had not had a chance to talk to before. These discussions have been particularly enriching. I can say the same of my fellow candidates, too. We have learned a lot from each other through the panel events or presentations that were meant to introduce our ideas to the public. All the ideas and thoughts formulated in these presentations need to become relevant and significant in the months and years ahead. I really count on the help and support of all the other candidates in the future.
– Who do you consider your role model, what kind of image can you identify with as a bishop?
– It would be difficult to list the names of all the predecessors in this position because all of them have something to teach. This morning Bishop Péter Gáncs said: „none of the bishops are perfect because all of them are human”. At the same time, it is exactly this human nature of ours that can become a tool in God’s hands. Be it a bishop, a dean, a pastor or a church member, God can carry out his will in and through us and can shape us to become able. I would like to follow the footsteps of all those bishops who have been truly present in the life of the diocese, just as Bishop Péter Gáncs has. I want to follow the example of all those who have gone out to help tirelessly anywhere where there was need. I would also like to take as a model the forerunners who have been able and willing to work in a team and considered the opinion of their colleagues important. I am convinced that this office is not a one-man project but we are called to lead a community that serves together in the society as a great team or a great family.
– This must mean that you are going to ask your immediate predecessor, Bishop Péter Gáncs for advice and guidance when you take over his office…
– Our collegial relationship with Bishop Péter Gáncs has always been excellent and we have had a lot of good discussions recently, as well. Now, we are going to start talking about matters of the diocese even more seriously. He has also signalled his willingness to give guidance. What I would like to ask him is not only to stand by my side with his wisdom and experience in the upcoming few months but also after the change of office has happened because he is aware of a lot of things in the diocese that others, including me, have not had a chance to realize, yet. I want to emphasise continuity because we would like to live in a church guided through and by Christ. Leaders come and go, but our Lord, Jesus Christ remains the same forever.
– Is there anything you can share regarding your instalment at this point of time?
– So much for now that it is going to take place on 30 June. The venue and other details are being worked out right now but we are going to let the public know quite soon.