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Pope meets refugees, urges Hungary to point out charity to all | Faith Information

Pope Francis thanked Hungarians on Saturday for welcoming Ukrainian refugees and urged them to assist anybody in want, as he known as for a tradition of charity in a rustic the place the prime minister has justified agency anti-immigration insurance policies with fears that migration threatens Christian tradition in Europe.

On the second day of a go to to Hungary, Francis met refugees and poor individuals at St. Elizabeth’s church – named for a Hungarian princess who renounced her wealth to dedicate herself to the poor as a follower of the pope’s namesake, St Francis of Assisi.

The refugees included some who had fled to Hungary from neighbouring Ukraine, looking for security from Russia’s conflict.

Instantly after, Francis met the Russian Orthodox Church’s consultant in Hungary, Metropolitan Hilarion. The Vatican mentioned the 20-minute assembly on the Holy See’s embassy in Budapest was “cordial”.

The Russian church’s assist for the Kremlin’s conflict has prevented a papal assembly with Patriarch Kirill, the pinnacle of the Russian Orthodox Church and an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Francis and Kirill had a 2016 encounter in Cuba that marked the primary between a pope and an Jap Orthodox chief in centuries.

Pope Francis
Pope Francis visits the Greek Catholic Church of the Intercession of the Theotokos in Budapest, Hungary [Vatican Media via Reuters]

Talking within the white-brick St Elizabeth’s church in Budapest, Francis recalled that the Gospel instructs Christians to point out love and compassion to all, particularly these experiencing poverty and ache and “even those that aren’t believers”.

“The love that Jesus provides us and instructions us to apply may help to uproot the evils of indifference and selfishness from society, from our cities and the locations the place we stay – indifference is a plague – and to rekindle hope for a brand new, extra simply and fraternal world, the place all can really feel at dwelling,” he mentioned.

Hungary’s nationalist authorities has applied agency anti-immigration insurance policies and refused to just accept many asylum seekers attempting to enter the nation by way of its southern border, resulting in extended authorized disputes with the European Union.

The conservative populist prime minister, Viktor Orban, has mentioned that migration threatens to interchange Christian tradition in Europe. Orban, who has held workplace since 2010, has hinged a number of election campaigns on the threats he has alleged migrants and refugees pose to Hungarians.

Whereas Orban’s authorities has persistently rejected asylum seekers from the Center East and Africa, some 2.5 million Ukrainians fleeing conflict of their nation discovered open doorways. Roughly 35,000 of the refugees stay in Hungary and have registered for short-term safety there, in response to the UN.

But financial help for the Ukrainian refugees has been meagre. Fewer Ukrainians have opted to remain in Hungary than another nation in Jap Europe besides Belarus.

Olesia Misiats selected to remain; she was a nurse who labored in a Kyiv COVID-19 hospital when she fled along with her mom and two daughters on February 24 of final yr. First, she went to the Netherlands, however excessive prices compelled her to maneuver to Hungary, the place she mentioned she has discovered an residence and given delivery to her third daughter, Mila, who was within the pews Saturday along with her mom and sister.

“Right here, it’s protected,” Misiats mentioned of her new life. She mentioned she hoped someday to return to Kyiv, however for now, she and her kids are adapting. “I need to return dwelling. There it’s my life, it was my life,” she mentioned. “However the conflict modified my life.”

There have been conspicuously few individuals of color within the pews. Amongst them was artist and filmmaker Abouzar Soltani, a refugee from Iran who spent 553 days in certainly one of Hungary’s transit zones together with his 10-year-old son, Armin, after Hungarian authorities rejected their asylum claims in 2018.

Soltani later mentioned of their 18 months staying in container shelters that they felt like “fish in an aquarium”. When a European courtroom determination closed the transit zones, Soltani opted to stay in Hungary, the place he nonetheless lives.

Pope Francis
Pope Francis attends a gathering with youth on the Laszlo Papp Sport Aren in Budapest, Hungary [Remo Casilli/Reuters]

Francis praised Hungary’s Catholic Church for offering assist to individuals fleeing conflict and urged continued charity in the direction of any who need assistance. He heard from members of a Ukrainian household who fled Russia’s invasion, travelling for days to achieve Hungary after missiles rained down on their hometown of Dnipro final Might.

Oleg Yakovlev mentioned he determined to carry his spouse and 5 kids to Hungary as a result of he had labored there as a cook dinner years in the past and remembered being welcomed.

“For us and our kids, Hungary has been the beginning of a brand new life, of a brand new chance,” Yakovlev instructed Francis as his two eldest kids performed an Argentinian tango on the accordion and saxophone for the Argentinian pope. “Right here, we had been welcomed, and we discovered a brand new dwelling.”

On the finish of the occasion, a band of Hungarian Roma musicians serenaded the pontiff, drawing a standing ovation and cheers from the gang and a thumbs up from Francis.

Francis began his Saturday visiting with kids who’ve visible and bodily disabilities. Within the afternoon, he has his first large public occasion in Hungary, a youth rally on the metropolis’s sport stadium.

He deliberate to wrap up his go to with an open-air Mass on Sunday and speech at Pázmány Péter Catholic College in Budapest.

Upon arriving in Hungary on Friday, Francis urged Europe to search out once more its founding values of peaceable unity as he denounced the “adolescent belligerence” of Russia’s conflict in neighbouring Ukraine.



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