A portrait of Viktor Orbán’s son as a healer and Pentecostal preacher

Gáspár Orbán, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s 25 year old son, used to be known most for mirroring his father’s deep affinity for football and for being a professional football player. Those days are over, but the young Mr. Orbán is making a new name for himself as the leader of a Pentecostal church community, where he speaks in tongue, asserts that Jesus heals people through him during intensely emotional worship services and he proselytizes. Journalists of the 24.hu news site spent six weeks with Gáspár Orbán in his religious community. The journalists described one service as such:

“Several people in the room fell to the floor. He raised a young girl’s arms to the sky, while smiling and even laughing quietly. From another corner of the room, you could hear occasional crying… ”

Gáspár Orbán preaching. Photo: Felház.

During one session, the young Mr. Orbán announced that God told him that there is someone in the room who suffered an accident while horseback riding, which is causing pain in the person’s right knee. After a lengthy silence a girl got up and confirmed that she had, indeed, such an accident, but the pain was in her left knee. The community went over to the young woman and prayed over her, with the community, known as Felház, declaring: “Without signs, miracles and the expulsion of the devil, the Gospel is merely half there.” Mr. Orbán emphasizes: it is not he or his peers who heal, but rather Jesus who is able to heal people through him.

When Gáspár was born in 1992, Mr. Orbán was, by all accounts, not religious at all. In fact, based on his statements in parliament, he came across as anti-clerical, mocking MPs of the Christian Democratic People’s Party (KDNP), for their close connection to the Catholic Church. As Mr. Orbán’s Fidesz made the strategic decision after 1995 to occupy the vacancy on the Hungarian political right, we gradually heard more about Mr. Orbán’s religiosity and his connection to the Calvinist faith.

The young Gáspár notes that before 2014, he was religious, but was not a believer as such. I take this to mean that like many Hungarians, he identified more culturally or along family lines with a historic church, but faith did not play a key role in his life. It was a mission trip to Uganda that he credits with allowing him to find God.

“I came into contact with such power from the living God, that I decided to give my whole life to Jesus,” explains Gáspár Orbán. The prime minister’s son leads this charismatic Christian community with two young university classmates: Donát Prekopa and Illés Ember.

Gáspár Orbán in the middle. Photo: Felház

The three young men spend their free time during weekdays approaching people in Budapest and taking whatever opportunity they have to tell them that Jesus loves them. A larger group assembles on Thursday night for a worship service. They began holding these weekly services in private homes, then as it grew they moved them to cafés, basement spaces and more recently to much larger halls and venues in downtown Budapest, including in the old Jewish quarter, which is now considered Budapest’s main party district. The target audience is comprised mainly of university students. Sometimes, the group rents out the massive meeting and sports venue in Buda known as MOM. When journalists from 24.hu attended one such worship session, they estimated the crowd to be between 1,000 and 1,500. “Some had their arms raised in the air, eyes closed, as they swayed or jumped in a state of ecstasy,” writes 24.hu.

Many members say that they have gotten over drug and alcohol addictions by joining this community. Mr. Orbán’s colleague, Illés Ember, also claims that a woman who wore glasses had her vision cured.

The young Mr. Orbán is known to speak in tongue as well. He explains: “For me, speaking in tongue represents the ultimate unity with God. It is a prayer, a discussion with God during which time the Holy Spirit which lives in me breaks through and expresses itself in this manner.”

The three young men who spearheaded this community emphasize that they do not wish to turn this into a career: their venture is based on volunteer outreach and they will only continue it until they are able to keep it as this level.

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