Bartholomew I, Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople visited Budapest as part of the 52nd International Eucharistic Congress and together with Deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Semjén laid the cornerstone of a new Orthodox church in Budapest on Saturday.
The church is being constructed in the courtyard of a building in Múzeum Street, in central Budapest, that was given to the Orthodox Church in 2017.
Bartholomew I thanked Hungary’s government for the building and for funding the construction.
He said a Dialogue Centre being established would serve as a place for “discussion, culture, faith and an exchange of views, welcoming all who come with goodwill”.
Semjén said Hungary has always been “a bridge between East and West, between eastern and western Christianity”.
On Saturday during his speech at the 52nd International Eucharistic Congress in Budapest, Bartholomew I, Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, said eucharistic spirituality has the power to transform society and to meet the challenges of the 21st century.
In the speech delivered ahead of a celebration of holy mass, the patriarch said that the church gathers believers in a “community of love” in the liturgy of the eucharist, with no regard to race, gender, age or cultural, social and material status.
The liturgy is not a meeting of individual believers but of a community of believers with God, a “social event”, he added.
He noted that the word eucharist means “thanks” in Greek.
“It reminds us that our lives and the entirety of creation are not our property but rather they are a precious gift of God the Creator. The proper response for receiving this gift is gratitude and doxology,” he said.
“The eucharistic spirit has a tremendous transformative power for society. This way of life is the correct answer to major contemporary challenges, such as ecological problems and the violation of human rights,” the patriarch said.
“In this sense, the initiatives of our church for the protection of the natural environment and the culture of solidarity were not an occasional reaction to the relative problems today, but they are rooted in the eucharistic experience and theology,” he added.