This year the Hungarian church marks the 800th anniversary of the birth of St. Elizabeth of Hungary. In recognition of the celebration, Pope Benedict has sent a letter to the primate of Hungary, Cardinal Peter Erdo, saying that he hopes that St. Elizabeth will serve as a model for the rediscovery of the Christian roots of Europe.
Benedict XVI expressed the hope that "profound knowledge of the personality and work of Elizabeth of Thuringia may be a help in rediscovering, with ever greater awareness, the Christian roots of Hungary and of Europe itself, encouraging leaders to develop harmonious and respectful dialogue between the Church and civil society in order to build a truly free and united world."
St. Elizabeth has been a source of witness to Christ’s charity for centuries of believers. She also serves as an example of virtue “radically applied in marriage, the family and even in widowhood. She has also inspired political figures, who have drawn from her the motivation to work towards reconciliation between peoples."
Benedict XVI closed his letter with the final exhortation that this year should be “an occasion for Hungarians, Germans, and all Europeans ... to emphasize the Christian heritage they received from their forefathers, so as to continue to draw from those roots the energy necessary to achieve an abundant harvest in the new millennium that has just begun."