Hungary is responsible for Christian communities
“Everybody is responsible for their own environment and community, and as Hungary is part of the Christian cultural area, it is also responsible for the world’s Christian communities,” the Parliamentary and Strategic State Secretary of the Prime Minister's Office said at a conference on Christian Persecution in History organized by the National University of Public Service in Budapest.
During the conference’s roundtable discussion, Balázs Orbán pointed out in reference to migration that we must not bring the problems of regions that are in difficulty to Europe, but dispense help locally, because otherwise their problems could also affect the lives of Hungarians.
“It is in fact not the sum donated that bears significance, but the pioneering role represented by the founding of the State Secretariat for the Aid of Persecuted Christians and by undertaking the protection of Christian communities, meaning the choice of a new approach,” the State Secretary declared.
“The humanitarian strategies of certain international organisations exacerbate local problems, as their assistance actually serves personal economic and social interests,” he stated. “The Hungary Helps Program, on the other hand, works together directly with local leaders without the involvement of international organizations,” he added.
He expanded on the fact that in Middle-Eastern regions, Christian communities have a stabilising force, fulfilling key roles in state-building, and in economic and cultural processes, and if they disappear the stability of these areas will decrease, which could also affect Hungary’s geopolitical situation.
He remarked that there is great interest in the program; there are many who share a similar perspective, including the Vatican and the United States.
Béla Jungbert, Hungarian Lieutenant of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, said that the organisations active in Palestine and Jordan support institutions – schools, hospitals, parishes – that help Christians living in the Holy Land to remain there.
He also recounted how there is no faith-based religious persecution in these areas, and there is freedom to worship, but there is no freedom of religion, the freedom to choose one’s religion is restricted.
“Migration also poses a great problem in these areas. Before 1948, 20 percent of Jerusalem’s population was Christian; today, only ten thousand Christians live in the city of 800 thousand people, while in Bethlehem the number has dropped from 91 percent to 30 percent,”
Mr. Jungbert explained. He added that historical churches are less and less frequented, but the number and role of so-called evangelical free churches is increasing, and these churches, contrary to the indigenous, Arabic Christians, favour Zionism.
Vilmos Fischl, Secretary General of the Ecumenical Council of Hungarian Churches (MEÖT), spoke about how Europe’s identity is now Christian-Jewish-Muslim, as 43 million Muslims live in Western Europe. “Therefore, those who have arrived since the migratory wave of 2015 represent only a small fraction of those who are already here,” he highlighted.
Mr. Fischl also spoke about how the number of Christians isn’t increasing at the same rate as that of Muslims, and how the reason for this is that Christians do not dare claim their identity.