Saturday, April 29, 2023

Pope Francis meets with Greek-Catholics in Hungary


Pope Francis blesses Greek Catholic Church in Hungary

Pope Francis pays a visit to the Greek Catholic community in Budapest, as he prays with the Catholics of the Byzantine rite in the Church of the Protection of the Mother of God.

By Francesca Merlo

Pope Francis paid a brief visit to the Greek Catholic community in Budapest on Saturday morning, the second day of his Apostolic Journey to Hungary.

After meeting with migrants and refugees at St. Elizabeth of Hungary Church, the Holy Father travelled to the nearby Protection of the Mother of God Church, located in the 7th Disctrict's Rose Square, which serves the Catholic faithful of the Byzantine rite.

The Pope was welcomed at the entrance by Archbishop Péter Fülöp Kocsis, the Metropolitan Archbishop of Hajdúdorog, and together they walked to the Iconostasis, while the choir sang in the background. 

After a brief greeting with the Archbishop there was a moment of prayer, led by Pope Francis, with the community. The Pope was handed a cross and blessed the Greek Catholic community of Hungary. 

About the church

The one-nave church, built in 1881 to a design by Győző Czigler, in the Neo-Romanesque style, was originally the Roman Catholic parish church in the neighbourhood.

As the number of worshippers grew rapidly, a huge plot of land in the middle of the same square was chosen to build a larger church. Thus was born the neo-Gothic parish church of St. Elisabeth of Hungary to plans by Imre Steindl. In 1904, therefore, the then-empty church building was given to the Greek Catholic parish, which did not yet have its own Church, and had, until then, operated in the university Church.

Greek Catholic Church in Hungary

The Hungarian Greek Catholic Church was reorganised by Pope Francis on 20 March 2015, and elevated to Metropolitan Church sui iuris.

The Greek Catholic Bishops in Hungary are members of the Hungarian Bishops' Conference with deliberative voting rights. The status of Metropolia sui iuris makes the Greek Catholic Church completely independent from the local Latin Church from a legal point of view, without in any way calling into question its full ecclesiological communion with the Pope. In the liturgy, the Hungarian Greek Catholic Church uses the national language.

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