Hungary To Aid Quake-Hit Syrian Church After Death of Priest
By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
BUDAPEST (Worthy News) – Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, whose government supports persecuted Christians, says he wants to help to rebuild efforts by Syria’s Melkite Greek Catholics after at least one of its priests died in last week’s earthquakes.
In comments shared with Worthy News, Orbán expressed his “sympathies” while pledging aid to Jean-Clement Jeanbart, the retired Melkite Greek Catholic Archbishop of Aleppo.
Orbán said Thursday he learned of reports that the archeparchy’s residence collapsed during last week’s earthquake, killing a priest and injuring Jeanbart.
The prime minister stressed in a letter he was “relieved when the archbishop’s life was no longer in danger,” confirmed Orbán’s press chief Bertalan Havasi.
“The Hungarian government will do everything in its power to aid [the region] to survive and start anew. We remember the victims and pray for those who have lost loved ones and their homes,” Orbán added in a message.
Orbán said he still remembers “fondly of the archbishop’s visit to Hungary in 2017,” adding that Hungary stood by the community during its present trials.
More than 41,000 people are believed to have died in last week’s 7.8 and 7.5 magnitude earthquakes in Turkey and Syria, including Christians, with many still missing.
Prime Minister Orbán did not immediately say how much money would be provided to the Melkite Greek Catholics in Syria, a nation also suffering from the ongoing war.
However, Hungary is the world’s first known country, with a government office dedicated solely to persecuted Christians and believers living in difficult circumstances.
Through its Hungary Helps program, the government said it rebuilt churches and schools while enabling 500,000 people so far to stay in their homelands or return there.
“We are bound by our thousand-year-old Christian heritage, by our moral duty resulting from this heritage, and also by the general principles of humanity,” said Tristan Azbej, state secretary for aiding persecuted Christians.
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