An old wooden cross made anew on 13th-district Diana Street

Hungarian version of the article: Régi-új fakereszt a XII. kerületi Diana úton

October 17, 2020 at 3:00 PM

The wooden cross at the intersection of Diana and Gyöngyvirág Streets in the 13th District has been renovated. The crucifix that originally stood here was demolished in the 1950s but rebuilt in 2008.

From the end on the 19th century until the 1950s a wooden cross stood undisturbed on the intersection of Diana and Gyöngyvirág Streets, until young vandals came and destroyed it – writes The remnants of the cross were moved into the garden on the local parish, from where a member of the congregation took them home in 1980. After surviving the political upheaval around the fall of communism efforts to rebuild the cross were renewed by Mrs Árpád Berczik, Mária, the founder of the Svábhegy Society.

The efforts of the honorary citizen were successful, as the cross was rebuilt in 2008 with support from the local council. A new beechwood cross was erected with an image of Christ by the painting-restorer János Korényi. The only difference was that the new structure was erected a few metres from where the original had stood. The local council accepted the responsibility to care for the area and handle gardening works around the cross.

The image of Christ on the cross by the painting-restorer János Korényi (Photo: hegyvidé

It would seem that everything is in order. However, the decade that passed wore down on the cross. Local residents again took action. István Kocsis, head of the Saint Ladislaus Parish of Istenhegy, and Árpád Berczik decided to completely renew the cross. The initiative also gained the support of the district mayor, Zoltán Pokorni. János Korányi was tasked with repainting the image of Christ. The costs associated with building the new cross were donated by dr. Árpád Berczik and family and dr. Tamás Aján and his wife. Pál Berczik and his son, Péter, were responsible for the required construction work.

This led to the blessing of the crucifix. At the event, Zoltán Pokorni spoke about the heart-warming cooperation and work that had made the renovation possible. The district mayor also highlighted how public dialogue has changed since 2008. At the time, deputy district mayor Pál Lovas said that the cross had been damaged in the 1950s. However, euphemisms serve to blunt the edge of events. The fate of the cross on Diana Street was the same as that on the chapel on Anna Meadow. It was simply destroyed by youths who supported the regime.

Luckily, blind anti-clericalism is no longer present in today's Hungary, the district mayor added, adding that the cross was not only for Christians. "It sends a message to everyone working to make life better." This is the mentality that Mrs Árpád Berczik represented, who as a member of the local council worked tirelessly for the betterment of the natural and man-made environment, and took up the cause of the crucifix on Diana Street. The district mayor closed his speech by saying "I am pleased to see how this community came together to restore the cross, from the young to the elderly."

Blessing the crucifix (Photo:

"Symbols are not always loved, as shown by the story of this cross. However, we Christians believe in it. It is our salvation, the manifestation of God's love" – said parish priest István Kovács, adding that many people were unhappy in the present world because they seek happiness in self-realisation, rather than in helping others. This cross on the side of the road reminds us all of our duty, as with it, God shows us that helping each other offers the greatest joy of all.

Dr Árpád Berczik reminded those present that the cross was renovated through the cooperation of Father Kovács and the Berczik family, and János Korányi, the painter of the image, led the audience into some workshop secrets. He revealed that he had preserved the green hue of the earlier painting on purpose, as the gesture evoked the Trecento. At the same time, the use of industrial-grade metal paint will hopefully ensure the painting's durability. The image follows neither the common style of icons nor the naturalist school to ensure that it is more receptible.

After blessing the old-new cross, István Kocsis read a poem by Sándor Weörös, which describes the symbolic meaning of the cross.


Cover photo: The renovated wooden cross on Diana Street (Photo:

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