Hungarian Prime Minister Orban rejects sanctions against Patriarch Kirill


Central Europe


Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. Photo AFP, Attila Kisbenedek

Prime Minister Viktor Orban says he will block any European attempt to sanction Patriarch Kirill. He said so during a meeting with Patriarch Ignatius Ephrem II of the Syrian Orthodox Church in Budapest. Earlier the Patriarch had approached the Prime Minister with the request to do so. The European Union proposed to subject the head of the Russian Orthodox Church to sanctions in light of the Russo-Ukrainian conflict.

More and more Orthodox Church leaders support Orban's efforts to stop sanctions on the Russian Patriarch, Ungarn Heute reports. Patriarch Ignatius Ephrem II said that putting a Christian leader on a sanctions list would set a precedent that would confuse many Christians.

Earlier, Patriarch Ignatius requested the Prime Minister to stop sanctions on Kirill in an official letter that was also signed by others, Telex reports.

Hungarian clergy and the Russian Deputy Chairman of the Department of External Relations of the Russian Orthodox Church. The first person left is Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II. Photo EPA, Alexei Nikolsky

Syrian Orthodox Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II of Antioch and All the East, Greek Orthodox Patriarch John X of Antioch and All the East, Patriarch of Antioch for Melkite Greek Catholics Youssef Absi and Deputy Chairman of the Department of External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate Archimandrite Philaret

Prime minister Viktor Orban promised the Patriarch, who travelled to Budapest to meet the politician, that he would not support sanctions against Kirill. Sanctioning the Russian Patriarch Kirill would be an attack on religious freedom, he furthermore said.

The Russian Patriarch is often criticised for his support for the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Euronews reports. Kirill stated recently that Russia only defends its borders and that the conflict is about "human salvation, about where mankind will be on the right or the left side of God the Saviour."

If the European Union proceeds with putting sanctions on the Russian Patriarch, its attempt will be unsuccessful. Metropolitan Hilarion, head of the Synodal Department for External Church Relations, said that on a Russian tv program, as Interfax Religion reports. "No sanctions will prevent him from continuing his activities, which are aimed at consolidating Russian society", Hilarion said.



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