Wednesday, August 24, 2011

First Coptic church in Budapest

WATANI International
Victor Salama
21 August 2011

Last Sunday, Pope Shenouda III inaugurated the first Coptic Orthodox Church in Hungary, in Budapest’s eighteenth district. The Pope presided over an evening service ceremony during which he anointed and consecrated the altar and the icons.

Pope Shenouda had arrived at Budapest two days earlier to a warm, resounding welcome by Europe’s Coptic community, some of whom had come to the city especially for the occasion. The Pope was accompanied by the bishops Anba Rweiss, Anba Boutros, Anba You’annis, Anba Ermiya, and Father Boutros Boutros Gayed.

On Friday 19 August, Pope Shenouda III was granted an honorary doctorate degree by Pázmány Péter Catholic University in Budapest. The university president György Fodor was joined by Cardinal Péter Erdő in handing the degree to the Pope, for his outstanding academic work in humanities, especially in literature, philosophy and history of sciences.

Pope Shenouda had been invited by the Hungarian Deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Semjén to take part in the 20 August celebrations for the national day of Hungary. He participated in the official ceremony at the parliament building where he met President Pál Schmitt who decorated the Pope with the Hungarian medal of State. He then joined Zsolt Semjén to attend Mass in St Stephen's Basilica.

The Pope then headed to the Egyptian embassy in Budapest where a reception was held in his honour.

Mr Semjén, who is also responsible for religious affairs, said that the visit by Pope Shenouda III to Hungary was a landmark event in East-West religious dialogue.

Sunday saw the Pope’s visit to Budapest come to an end, following which he flew to the United States for a pastoral visit, as well as for medical consultations at Cleveland Clinic in Ohio.

Earlier this year, the Pope was awarded Germany’s Augsburg Peace Prize for 2011. The prize is awarded every three years to individuals who contributed significantly to the cause of peaceful coexistence between different communities. Pope Shenouda was chosen for his role in building bridges between the Copts and Muslims in Egypt


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