Most recently, Syriac Orthodox Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II and Archbishop Nathan Hovhannisyan, Director of the Foreign Relations Department of the Armenian Apostolic Church asked and encouraged Prime Minister Viktor Orbán in messages to represent the Hungarian position consistently.
The latter expressed his gratitude for Hungary’s “willingness and commitment to defending” the rights of Christian churches, “in the present instance, the rights of the Russian Orthodox Church”. Not a single church or church leader must be targeted or influenced as a result of political processes, he pointed out, adding that the Armenian Apostolic Church supports Hungary’s “worthy initiative” as the Armenian church finds sanctions against churches or church leaders unacceptable.
Syriac Orthodox Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II wrote in his message that the introduction of sanctions against church leaders would create a precedent that would disturb the hearts of many millions of Christians around the world. Additionally, the Church could play a constructive role in bringing peace and could build bridges between people once this war is over.
Bulah Svyatoslav, advisor to the Metropolitan of the Hungarian Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church, secretary of the Diocese Office, wrote to Mr Orbán: members of their congregation include Hungarians, Russians, Ukrainians, Georgians and persons of other nationalities, and for them Patriarch Kirill is “a genuine spiritual pastor, he is our father whose pastoral guidance is indispensable for us. In our view, measures against church leaders such as this are unprecedented, and are unacceptable in today’s world.”
Serbian Orthodox Patriarch Porfirije wrote in his message: possible sanctions against the Russian Patriarch are contrary to fundamental human and religious rights, based on which all churches and all religious communities are separate from the state, and are not equal to the general state policy. Any sanctions relating to the head of the Orthodox church would upset the entire Orthodox community in Hungary, and would lead to the loss of evangelical peace which must be preserved in Hungary under any circumstances. “You can help do that by vetoing such decisions in the European Union,” the Serbian head of church wrote to Mr Orbán.