In his letter dated in Damascus on 8 April, the church leader pointed out that thanks to the Hungary Helps Programme thousands of Syrian families are able to stay in their native land. Joseph I takes the view that with the aid of this support they can show those choosing to flee that life is slowly returning to normal in Syria, and they have one more reason for returning to their native country.
“The programmes of Hungary Helps are aimed at supporting people who are in the midst of crises,” Youssef Absi wrote. “They first listen to them, and then provide appropriate help, whilst respecting their views and their right to remain in their ancient land,” he added.
The Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch praised Mr Orbán’s courage, as well as his vision regarding the future of his country and Europe, describing him as a credible European leader. At the same time, he expressed regret that Europe attributes less and less importance to its Christian roots.
Gergely Gulyás, the Minister heading the Prime Minister’s Office said at his press conference held last Thursday that as part of the Hungary Helps Programme the government is providing support for the Melkite Greek Catholic Church in Syria. They are making available HUF 794 million for the reconstruction of a school and another HUF 318 million for the refurbishment of social institutions. The goal is to create conditions within the shortest possible time which induce people to stay as instead of bringing problems to Europe help should be taken to the people concerned, he pointed out.
Mr Orbán received Joseph I at the end of February. The patriarch came to Budapest together with several high-ranking church officials at the Prime Minister’s invitation. He also delivered an address at a conference which was organised at the National University of Public Service.