News from Hungary

Second International Conference on Christian Persecution concludes in Budapest

More than 600 participants, from more than 40 countries, many years of hard work, patriarchs, cardinals, politicians, and the trust of millions of persecuted Christians from across the globe. "Protecting these persecuted Christians is our moral obligation, a cause which we must stand up for also on the international scene", the Minister heading the Prime Minister’s Office said on Thursday, on the last day of the international conference on Christian persecution, held in Budapest.


In the picture above you can see Habib-E.-Ephrem, Leader of the Lebanese-Syrian League as he is handing over a present of the holy Cross to Hungarian State Secretary for the Aid of Persecuted Christians Tristan Azbej to express gratitude for all that Hungary has done during the recent years for the persecuted Christians of the Middle East region.

As reports, after four days of intensive sharing on Thursday, on the last day of the Budapest international conference on Christian persecution, in his speech Gergely Gulyás, the Minister heading the Prime Minister’s Office said, “In order to succeed we need renewal both in public life and in academic life so that we have the strength, courage and wisdom to stand up for the persecuted. Protecting these Christians is our moral obligation, a cause which we must stand up for also on the international scene.”

He highlighted that in the 21st century “we will have the opportunity to stop all forms of Christian persecution, including bloody genocides and various forms of discrimination observed in Europe ever more frequently”.

The minister added that “we must return to free dialogue with everyone with good intentions”; people who believe that Christianity, human rights and freedom of conscience are important.

Gergely Gulyás pointed out that we also need renewal in religion. He said Europe has been “a missionary territory” for a long time, and “it seems that we are severing our Christian roots step by step”. “We believe that this process is not irreversible.” 

He further mentioned that in recent years Hungary has attempted to take the first steps for helping persecuted Christians.

“With this knowledge on the ground we can contribute to restarting the lives of entire communities,” not only with money, or schools and hospitals built or rebuilt from money, “but also with the hope that they can count on others,” the minister said.

The Hungary Helps Programme relies on people on the ground; in contrast to the prevalent international aid practice “we ourselves take help to the needy as it is better if the people concerned who are in a difficult situation tell us what they need and if we channel assistance to them directly,” Mr Gulyás added.

At the conference, Lóránd Újházi, senior lecturer of the National University of Public Service introduced the book Budapest Report on Christian Persecution 2019. He said the report compiled for the third time seeks to serve as a bridge between persecuted Christian communities, researchers of the topic and wider strata of society.

The four chapters of the book discuss general security policy issues in defence of Christians, legislative processes aimed at providing protection for Christians, the role of religious communities, and the methodological criteria used for investigating the topic, the editor of the publication said.

Writings in the first chapter provide a summary of violent acts recently committed against Christians, describing methods of Islamic State and Boko Haram. There are separate studies dedicated to the situation of Christians in Northern Iraq, North Korea, Sri Lanka, Africa, and more specifically Nigeria. The chapter also introduces the Hungary Helps Programme.

                                      Franciscan monk Csaba Böjte 

In the he picture above you can see probably one of the most popular priests in Hungary: Fr. Csaba Böjte. In his speeches he usually emphasises the power of love which, however, should manifest in acts. Brother Csaba – as everyone calls him – founded the Francis of Assisi in Deva Fund, which is a child supporting organization founded to help children living in poor conditions in Transylvania. 

As for any closing thoughts it is difficult to make a choice. However, most of the 650 participants of the conference would agree to the following:

“The persecution of Christians is worse today than at any time in history. In terms of the numbers of people involved, the gravity of the acts committed, and their impact, not only are Christians more persecuted than any other faith group, but ever-increasing numbers are experiencing the worst forms of persecution.”



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