Hungary has a budget dedicated to helping Christian minorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, they are funding a project to help rebuild thirty-three historic churches, all of which are hundreds of years old. Renovation works started two months ago; the churches will be ready to receive pilgrims by 2020
The Roman Catholic Church of Our Lady of Lebanon has been a site of pilgrimage for more than eight hundred years where people keep coming to pray to the Virgin Mary. This church is one of the thirty-three that will be renovated with the support of the Hungarian government, reported LBC, one of the TV channels in Lebanon.
“The archaeological project consists of two phases. The first is to uncover the ruined churches. This is an important process which enables us to determine the age of these buildings. The second phase will be restoration and renovation,” Lebanese archaeologist and expert, Tanja Zafin told us.
There are many communities taking part in the restoration project – Sikhan, Bahditat, Adzbeij to mention a few of them.
The Hungarian Government has decided to give priority to support Christian communities in the Middle East.
“There will be churches that only get restored to a lesser extent. Strengthening the walls and restoring the frescoes takes about two months of work in a particular church. There are, however, ruined temples that will be completely rebuilt, which will probably take four to five months of work,” said Dr Hani Kahwaji, a Lebanese archaeologist.
“The entire archaeological project will take two years. We already began the first phase two months ago and it will last twelve months. During this time, we are planning to restore sixteen churches. In the second phase, we will rebuild and renovate seventeen temples and finish the works in April of 2020,” continued Dr Kahwaji.
The project, funded by the Hungarian state, has a budget of €1.5 million. The work is supervised by the Directorate General of Antiquities (DGA) of Lebanon, with the participation of the Holy Spirit Catholic University of Kaslik.
“We are very pleased to work here. We have been involved in several projects in the Middle East and we like working in this region, including Lebanon. We have splendid partners and do not face any obstacles during our operations. The most beautiful thing in Lebanon is that it possesses a distinctive character, just like this little Maronite church, ” Zsolt Vágner, an archaeologist at Pázmány Péter Catholic University from Hungary told the Lebanese channel.
Due to the archaeological mission funded by the Hungarian state, dozens of churches will escape from total eradication and receive a new lease of life.
“It will be only two years before Lebanon will be enriched by the addition of thirty-three renewed historic churches, thus increasing the country’s already abundant Christian pilgrimage sites,” – said the Lebanese LBC channel closing its report.
One of our articles regretfully contained some improper piece of information. The source we used, Lebanese LBC TV channel incorrectly stated the amount of support the Hungarian state funded on the project in question, therefore, we also published wrong data. In reality, however, the Hungarian Government according to Resolution 1459/2017 (VII. 19) dedicated HUF 463 million on the project, which equals approximately 1,5 million Euros.