The Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew from 10th to 12th September paid an official visit to Hungary accompanied by Metropolitan Maximos of Selyvria and the Grand Archimandrite Agathangelos, in order to support with his blessings the clergy and the faithful of the Exarchate of Hungary and to participate in the closing of the International Eucharistic Symposium in Budapest.
On Friday, September 10, Metropolitan Arsenios of Austria and Exarch of Hungary along with Bishop Paisios of Apamea, the Deputy Prime Minister of Hungary, Zsolt Semjén, as well as representatives of the state and the diplomatic authorities, received the Ecumenical Patriarch at the Budapest Airport. The Ecumenical Patriarch then paid a visit to the Deputy Prime Minister. They discussed the importance of ensuring peace and decent living conditions for all people, the protection of the natural environment, as well as issues of the Hungarian Exarchate of the Ecumenical Throne. Talks on issues of general interest and in particular on the dissemination of the Gospel message to the modern world and the action of the Ecumenical Patriarchate for the benefit of Hungarian society continued during the official dinner given by the Deputy Prime Minister in honor of the Ecumenical Patriarch.
In the afternoon of the same day, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew met with the Cardinal of Hungary in Budapest, Peter Erdő, who thanked him for His presence there. In conclusion, the Ecumenical Patriarch received the “Award of Human Dignity” for His many actions focusing on man and the protection of the sanctity of his face. On Friday evening, Metropolitan Arsenios of Austria, Exarch of Hungary, and Central Europe held a dinner in honor of the Ecumenical Patriarch. The clergy and lay associates of the Exarchate had the opportunity to receive the blessings and to hear the words of the Ecumenical Patriarch.
On Saturday, September 11, the President of Hungary, János Áder, received at the Presidential Palace the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and had a long and cordial conversation with him on the issues of the Exarchate of the Ecumenical Throne. A special topic of discussion was Hungary’s support for the utilization of the large building complex donated to the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Holy Temple under construction there, as well as issues of environmental protection and the possibilities of planning joint ecological actions.
Then the Ecumenical Patriarch went to the premises of the Exarchate Building and performed the Service of the laying of the foundation stone of the Holy Temple of the Three Holy Hierarchs, in the presence of the clergy and the people of the Exarchate and a large number of visitors. Apart from the diplomatic authorities and the Ambassadors of Greece, Cyprus, and Turkey, the Deputy Prime Minister also attended the ceremony, addressing the Ecumenical Patriarch, emphasizing Hungary’s historical ties with Constantinople and the strong conviction of the Hungarian government that the project will benefit the Orthodox but also Hungary and for this reason undertakes its completion.
The Ecumenical Patriarch then presented the vision not only of creating a monastic center but of a spiritual institution of European scope – a meeting place of people with God and among themselves. A reception followed, after which the Ecumenical Patriarch went to a dinner given to the members of the International Eucharistic Symposium by the Speaker of Parliament, László Kövér.
In the afternoon of the same day, the Ecumenical Patriarch delivered an inspiring festive speech on the subject of the Eucharist in front of thousands of people gathered in front of the Parliament for the performance of the Divine Liturgy. The second day of the patriarchal visit closed with a dinner hosted by the Ambassador of Greece to Hungary, Efthymiou Pantazopoulou, in honor of the Ecumenical Patriarch.
Sunday, September 12, began with a Divine Liturgy officiated by the Ecumenical Patriarch at the Church of the Assumption in Budapest, where a large number of believers from Hungary and neighboring countries gathered to receive the patriarchal blessing.
The Ecumenical Patriarch finally met Pope Francis in the Heroes’ Square of the city, in front of thousands of believers. He then departed after His honorable escort from Budapest Airport to Bologna, continuing His relentless ecumenical, and pastoral work and the glorious representation of Orthodox Christianity around the world.
The blessed stay of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in Hungary delighted the faithful of the Holy Metropolis of Austria and the Exarchate of Hungary and gave them divine support and strength to continue the struggle of the Christian life in the modern world, tested by various circumstances.
Photos: Diocese of Austria / fosfanariou