By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
BUDAPEST (Worthy News) – Hungary’s controversial Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has received an Armenian church award for supporting persecuted Christians, his press chief said.
Orbán received the Holy Cross Medal of Gratitude from Patriarch Raphael Bedros (Peter) Minassian XXI, head of the Armenian Catholic Church, in his Budapest office on Wednesday.
Orbán’s spokesman Bertalan Havasi said the patriarch gave the award as “Hungary and personally Orbán provided valuable support for oppressed and persecuted Christians all over the world.”
Havasi quoted the award’s laudation: “Your unconditional commitment to Christians and support for protecting their lives and their moral and social values are highly appreciated.”
Orbán reportedly cited Hungary’s first King István (Stephen) admonitions of thousand years ago in his acceptance speech, saying the “importance of the Hungarian state to support Christianity and the church at all times.”
More than 360 million Christians “face high to extreme levels of persecution and discrimination” for their faith, according to the advocacy group Open Doors.
However, Orbán has come under pressure for complicating the acceptance of Christian refugees, including those threatened with death in nations such as Iran and Pakistan.
Orbán told Worthy News previously that his government was working behind the scenes through its Hungary Helps program and related State Secretary for the Aid of Persecuted Christians.
He has defended his criticized stance towards refugees saying Hungary prefers those needing help to support them in their own countries and that he wants to protect Europe’s Judeo-Christian traditions.
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