Hungarian and Russian Christians plan to launch joint projects to support the education of Christians in Syria, Tristan Azbej, the state secretary responsible for aiding persecuted Christians, said after talks with Archimandrite Philaret, Vice-Chairman of the Foreign Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate.
Azbej said the meeting had been organised as a result of a October 2019 Hungary-Russia summit, where Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and Russian President Vladimir Putin decided in the presence of Syrian church leaders that Hungary and Russia would cooperate to aid Syrian Christians.
He added that he had agreed with Archimandrite Philaret on the join preparation of projects. Several schools have been destroyed in the civil war in Syria going back more than a decade, and many teenagers had no chance of receiving any form of education, he said.
“Local churches fulfil a significant social mission, and Hungary, as ever, plans to support the Christian communities in these efforts in cooperation with Russian partners,”
Azbej said he had received an award from Sergei Stepashin, head of the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society and a former prime minister of Russia, and the Middle Cross from Vyacheslav Ostapchuk, head of the Orthodox Russia All-Russia Social Movement. Azbej added that this was in recognition of the Hungarian government and people’s efforts to support persecuted Christians and protect their interests. Stepashin expressed appreciation to Hungary for uniquely supporting the matter at government level, Azbej added.