The Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew arrived at noon on Wednesday, September 20, 2023, at the Ferenc Liszt International Airport of Budapest, coming from Estonia and accompanied by Grand Ecclesiarch Aetios, Director of the Patriarchal Office.
Upon the arrival of the aircraft, the Ecumenical Patriarch was received by the Deputy Prime Minister of Hungary and his personal friend, Dr. Zsolt Semjén, on behalf of the Hungarian Government, who offered him a bouquet of flowers as a sign of his heartfelt and sincere feelings, Metropolitan Arsenios of Austria, Bishop Paisios of Apamea, the Abbot of the Pannonhalma Monastery, Archbishop Cyril Hortobágyi, on behalf of the Catholic Church, the Ambassador of the Hellenic Republic, Mr. Emmanuel Apostolakis, and Mr. Özkan Duman, First Counsellor of the Embassy of the Republic of Turkey in Budapest.
Afterwards, the Ecumenical Patriarch went to the Catholic Monastery of Pannonhalma.
In the early afternoon, a private meeting with the Abbot of the monastery took place in a cordial atmosphere, during which the official exchange of gifts took place. It is recalled that the Patriarch will participate, upon invitation, in an international conference on peace organized by the Monastery next Friday, September 22.
Later, the Ecumenical Patriarch met with the students of the high school that operates within the premises of the Holy Monastery. He addressed them paternally and spoke about his priestly vocation and his own path from Imbros to the Theological School of Halki, as well as his studies at European Universities, including the Institute of Oriental Studies in Rome, He also made special reference to the initiatives of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to raise awareness of the need to protect the natural environment and God’s creation as a whole, expressing his satisfaction that the Primate of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis, joined him in this course. Before his departure, the Patriarch distributed souvenirs and blessings to the students present, who gave him a prolonged and enthusiastic applause.
Photos by Hirling Bálint