Budapest (MTI) – The newly founded Greek Catholic Archeparchy of Hajdudorog will be a new stronghold for Christianity in Hungary, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said after signing an agreement with Metropolitan Fulop Kocsis in Debrecen, in eastern Hungary, on Monday.
This is important for Hungary, a country which, unlike Europe, has included in its basic law the “retaining power of Christianity,” Orban said.
The prime minister said Christianity “complete with all its branches and denominations” was inseparable from Hungarian history and that it was not geographic location that made Hungarians Europeans. “We are Europeans because we are Christians,” he said, adding that a strong and successful Hungary can only be built on these national, Christian and civic traditions.
Orban said history made it clear that Hungary was strong only in times when the state saw the church as an ally and not as an enemy.
Kocsis said the municipality of Debrecen provided use of the premises at two facilities free of charge to the archeparchy and the government had provided 2.3 billion forints for upgrading the real estate and establishing the organisation of the new archeparchy.
The prime minister said the government funding allowed the Greek Catholic Church, the Vatican and Hungary to maintain good relations and deepen their ties, and strengthened the national and European identity of Hungarians.
The diocese of Hajdudorog was elevated to archeparchy under a decision by Pope Francis in March this year.
According to the 2011 census, 179,000 citizens of Hungary declared themselves as Greek Catholics. Most members of the community live in the north-eastern region.