WCC general secretary meets with Hungarian church and state leadership
news from the WCC
In a recent visit to Hungary, the World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit met with church leaders and prominent Hungarian politicians including Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán.
During his visit, Tveit in particular appreciated the churches’ role in Hungarian democracy and their contributions towards dialogue, human rights and religious freedoms.
The visit took place from 8 to 10 April at the invitation of the Ecumenical Council of Churches in Hungary (ECCH) and the WCC member churches in the country.
Speaking on his meetings with the Hungarian church leaders and government officials, Tveit said, “It was a good opportunity to make direct contact with the ecclesial and political realities of this Central European country.”
He said these encounters helped him to “understand better the challenges and opportunities that Hungarian churches and Hungarian society are facing, twenty years after the collapse of the communist regime.”
Tveit continued, “For the WCC as a fellowship of churches, it is important to listen to the experiences and discussions churches in Hungary are having on their role in a democratic state.”
“In spite of some difficulties that Hungarian churches are facing, common in this part of Europe, I was impressed by their vivacity and by the role that they are committed and called to play in Hungary, like consolidation of democracy and the defense of human rights and of religious freedom,” Tveit added.
Accompanied by Father Dr Daniel Buda, WCC’s programme executive for church and ecumenical relations in Europe, Tveit visited offices of the WCC member churches.
As part of his visit, Tveit met with Cardinal Peter Erdő, Roman Catholic primate of Hungary and archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest.
Tveit also delivered a public lecture on “ecumenical challenges in the coming decade” hosted by the ECCH. The lecture was attended by a large audience, and was held as part of the ECCH’s 70th anniversary celebrations.
Among the state officials Tveit met were Zoltán Balog, minister for Human Resources, Zsolt Semjén, deputy prime minister, Zsolt Németh, state secretary for Parliamentary Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, György Hölvényi, state secretary for the Church, Civil Society and Nationality Affairs of the Ministry of Human Resources, János Latorcai, vice president of the Parliament, and Péter Harrach, a leader of the Christian Democratic Party.