One of the awards was given to Father Imre Morvay (Pio), abbot of the Brothers Hospitallers of Saint John of God in Pécs, for his activities to improve society by alleviating the poverty that afflicts an increasing number of people in Hungary. The other award was accepted by Mária Sándor, the ‘nun in black’, to acknowledge her persistent and successful struggle to defend the interests of those working in and those being treated by the Hungarian health system.

The Ars Humanica Hungarica Circle

The Ars Humanica Hungarica Circle, which was established in 2011 by scholars, clergymen, artists and supporters of the arts, founded the Hungarian Civil Legion of Honour to celebrate acts which display noble fundamental human values.

Mission statement

At its establishment, the members of the Ars Humanica Hungarica Circle, as responsible and open-minded citizens, have laid down three important requirements as basic principles: 

Complete and genuine civic independence.  In order to protect their civil dignity, the Circle is not integrated into the bureaucratic structure of society by any act of official registration. This provides complete freedom of actions and decisions which are entirely independent from the authorities. So the Circle is as open and independent as its members are, who only have responsibility to and report to themselves. This represents a significant source of intellectual strength and value.

Financial and political independence. Neither money nor politics have any role in the activity of the Circle. So all kinds of lobbying, careerism, envy and financial dependence should thus be excluded.

Basic human worth. The members of the Circle consider it essential that both the honoured virtues (actions) and donors be highly esteemed according to basic human values. The virtues for which the honour can be awarded are, that is, just as much worthy of appreciation and respect as the individuals who confer it.

The Ars Humanica Hungarica Circle was established in the spirit of these principles. The members of the Circle consider honesty, honour, tolerance, fraternity, compassion, amicability and helpfulness to be key factors in human coexistence. Therefore, with the foundation of the Hungarian Civil Legion of Honour, they have set out the aim of the wide social acknowledgment of noble fundamental human values.

The Hungarian Civil Legion of Honour is a non-pecuniary medal, awarded annually, the value of which is represented solely by the intellectual and moral capital of the donors. The decoration is the publicly justified acknowledgement of exemplary actions that the honoured person carried out on behalf of human beings, actions which are highly appreciated and esteemed throughout the whole world, without any heed being paid to political or religious considerations.

The Hungarian Civil Legion of Honour is awarded once a year on the day of the 10th of February, the birthday of the martyred count Louis Batthyány, prime minister of the first independent Hungarian government in 1848. This day has symbolic value, considered by members to be the day of civic independence and individual self-sacrifice.

With this in se valuable decoration, the Ars Humanica Hungarica Circle wishes that the universal and perennial humanity of the actions of the honoured persons be presented as an exemplary model: Virtute et Exemplo (By Virtue and Example).