Hungary provides $1.7 million to restore Lebanon’s Christian churches

Hungary is spending $1.7 million (463 million forints) to help restore Christian churches in Lebanon, according to government records. Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has instructed the Minister of the National Economy to transfer this amount, as the Hungarian government aims to help Lebanon’s Christian minority continue living in their own country and also wants to play a role in preserving the Christian identity and presence in the Middle East.

Hungary is not only involved in the funding of church restorations in Lebanon, but also in the coordination of these projects, in which the Embassy of Hungary in Beirut will play a central role. As well, Hungarian academics from Pázmány Péter Catholic University will also be involved in the venture, alongside Lebanese specialists from the Université Saint-Esprit de Kaslikot. 

The list of churches to be restored through Hungarian funds includes 31 places of worship in nine regions of Lebanon.

Hungarian funding of Lebanese churches.

As the conservative Magyar Nemzet daily points out, the Hungarian government is also investing in the restoration of Christian minority places of worship back home. The government is providing both cash and assistance in kind to the Orthodox church located in Budapest’s Petőfi tér. Since the government has declared the renovation of this church a priority, the requirement to obtain the usual permits and permissions from city planners has been waived. The government also provided 100 million forints in funding to this church and has pledged 2.4 billion forints to support properties in Hungary affiliated with the Moscow Patriarchate. The conservative publication suggests that the government’s generosity when it comes to the Russian Orthodox Church has to do with its political alliance with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who also visited the Petőfi tér church in 2006 and follows closely the fate of Orthodox communities outside Russia.

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