Budapest, August 17 (MTI) – Retired Archbishop of Esztergom Laszlo Paskai, former head of Hungary’s Catholic Church, died aged 89 on Monday.
Hungary has lost “a priest who loved his church and country”, the co-ruling Christian Democrats said in a statement.
Paskai headed the Catholic Church in difficult times and he was a dedicated and wise leader and a good diplomat, the statement said.
Besides the Christian Democrats, ruling Fidesz and the opposition Socialist and Egyutt parties have expressed their deep condolences over Paskai’s death.
Human Resources Minister Zoltan Balog and state secretary Miklos Soltesz commemorated him in a mutual announcement. Paskai’s life and work “are a valuable lesson for everyone who navigates the ship of the Church during the storms of history”, they said.
The Hungarian Reformed and Calvinist churches, as well as the Federation of Hungarian Jewish Communities (Mazsihisz) have expressed condolences.
Paskai was born to Jewish parents in Szeged, south Hungary, and his parents died in the Holocaust.
He served as the archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest from 1987 to 2002.
Paskai had prepared the first visit of John Paul II to Hungary in 1991 and he organised the Franciscan Mission Foundation in Transcarpathia, which works well to this day, the statement added.