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The Galley-slaves’ Monument

The Galley-slaves’ Monument has been standing in the Memorial Garden since 1895 in memory of the Protestant pastors and teachers condemned to the galleys in 1673.

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The memorial column was commissioned by a woman from Debrecen to commemorate those 43 Protestant pastors who were taken to the galleys in Naples during the Counter-Reformation. The column shows an open Bible featuring the famous words of the Apostle Paul: “I have fought the good fight, I finished the race, I have kept the faith.”  

The monument has another inscription: “Michiel De Ruyter Dutch Admiral. The Liberator.” The date is 11 February 1676. This was the day the Dutch Admiral and his fleet freed the surviving 26 Hungarian Protestant pastors from their captivity in Naples; they were then given shelter in Switzerland, the Netherlands and Germany. The monument is a place of pilgrimage for Dutch tourists visiting Debrecen.

On the occasion of his visit to Debrecen in August 1991 Pope John Paul II laid flowers at the Galley-slaves’ Monument as a sign of reconciliation.

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