A Christmas party was held for Semmelweis University staff at the Main Hall of the Rector’s Building. In his welcome speech, Rector Dr. Béla Merkely looked back on the year, while Chancellor Dr. Lívia Pavlik mentioned the experience of belonging to the Semmelweis family as a true community. The musical performance of Medic Orchestra and Semmelweis Choir, as well as the Christmas table laid with hot tea and cake all contributed to the festive ambiance.

“The essence of Advent is expectation: waiting for the One who is; just as the mystery of love is nothing but longing for the One who exists, who is ours,” Rector Dr. Béla Merkely quoted the word of Hungarian poet János Pilinszky. As the rector said, the sublime atmosphere of this expectation touches us all at this time. “For many years now, it has been a tradition for the university’s staff to gather at the Semmelweis Citizens’ Circle to greet each other with a cup of hot tea in the hand,” the rector stressed, emphasizing that Semmelweis community is like a family: it sticks together in all circumstances.

He also recalled the difficulties and the joys of the passing period: as he said, hard times only convince us that we can always count on each other. “At the same time, we celebrate together doctoral and graduation ceremonies, the Semmelweis Hero Award and other university honours, the Medics’ Cup, and also the successes achieved by a member of staff or a department” he pointed out. “As rector, I am particularly proud to be the leader of an institution, a community, that grows stronger due to the challenges it faces. That is what our numbers, our results show and that is what we feel in our hearts,” he added, before wishing all staff a blessed and intimate Christmas.

In her welcoming speech, Chancellor Lívia Pavlik stressed that the more shared the joy and common struggle is, the more cohesive a community can be. She added that it is important to spend quality time not only in the family, but also at work. “We have to make people feel good around us, and the secret is simple: to reach out, to help and to accept help. If all this works together, we can enjoy success, which is always shared,” she said.

The Chancellor then shared with the audience two stories that are particularly relevant during the Advent period, which illustrate the importance of cooperation and mutual respect. Finally, quoting  Hungarian writer Albert Wass, she pointed out that this should not be the only time to practice sincere, pure love and acceptance of our loved ones and fellow human beings – in fact, we should do so throughout the whole year. Closing her speech, she wished all the participants and all Semmelweis Citizens a blessed and peaceful Christmas.



During the ceremony, the Semmelweis Choir performed Hungarian Christmas carol Angel from Heaven and a tourdion, the Medic Orchestra’s cello quintet performed Stille Nacht and Leise rieselt der Schnee, and together they performed The first Noel.

Péter Pogrányi, translation by Rita Kónya
Photo: Bálint Barta – Semmelweis University