An important donation to the Ecumenical Patriarchate was made by the Government of Hungary, which donated 10,000 face masks to meet the needs of the clergy and staff of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Turkey, as a precaution against coronavirus and to prevent its spread. This precious gift was brought to the headquarters of the patriarchate, at the Phanar, on 8 May 2020, by the Consul General of Hungary in Istanbul, Mr. Laszlo Keller, who was accompanied by his assistant, Mr. Tamas Torma.
During their meeting at the Patriarchal Office, which was held in a cordial atmosphere, His All-Holiness expressed his warm thanks to the Government of Hungary for its donation, but also for its generally harmonious cooperation with the Ecumenical Patriarchate. He handed over to the Consul General the Patriarchal Letters to the Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the country, in which he expresses his gratitude on behalf of the Ecumenical Patriarchate for this spontaneous and kind donation, especially useful under the current circumstances. The distribution of protective masks will take place through the eparchial bishops of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Turkey, the bishops responsible for the various districts of the Most Holy Archdiocese of Constantinople, as well as by the Grand Chancellor.
It is recalled that the Government of Hungary, in 2017, donated to the Ecumenical Patriarchate a 9000sqm building in the center of Budapest, which after the necessary renovation work starting this year, with the funding of the same Government, will be the headquarters of the Exarchate in that country, which is under the jurisdiction of the Holy Metropolitanate of Austria. Three years earlier, in 2014, a Cooperation Agreement was signed between the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Hungarian Government, which regulates the relations of the Patriarchate’s Exarchate in Hungary with the State. It is worth noting that the Cooperation Agreement highlights the important role that the Orthodox Church has played in the history of Hungary. “Cyril and Methodius brought Eastern Christianity here, which is still present as a living ecclesiastical community. Even before the establishment of the State, the ancient Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople cultivated relations with the Hungarian people and sent Bishop Hierotheos to spread Christianity. The Cooperation Agreement has been signed by the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Hungary’s Prime Minister Mr. Victor Orban. Also, during his official visit to Budapest in 2001, the Ecumenical Patriarch was awarded the medal of the Grand Cross of the Hungarian Republic in a special ceremony in Parliament.