Pope Francis arrived in Budapest on Friday morning, beginning his three-day visit to Hungary. This is the first time since the Russian aggression in Ukraine that the head of the Catholic Church has traveled to a country fighting the occupier. The main topics of the Pope’s visit are the conflict in Ukraine and the chances for peace, as well as the issue of migration and Europe’s Christian roots.
The plane of the Italian airline ITA with the Pope’s associates, his entourage and representatives of the media landed in the morning at the Ferenc Liszt airport in Budapest. In front of the president’s office Hungarian The official welcoming ceremony of the head of the Catholic Church took place.
After the ceremony in front of the Sandora Palace, where the Pope was greeted by President Katalin Novak, they both went to talks. In the further, institutional part of the visit, Francis will meet with Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
In the former Carmelite monastery, the seat of the head of the government, at 12.20 the meeting of the Pope with 200 representatives of the country’s authorities and society began. During it, the speech will be delivered first by the President of Hungary, and then by Pope Francis.
After meeting with the authorities, the Pope will rest at the Apostolic Nunciature, where he will spend the night during his visit to Budapest in the Hegyvidek district. At the end of the first day of his visit, at 5 p.m., the Pope will visit the Basilica of St. Stephen, the first king of Hungary and the patron saint of Budapest. There he will meet with the episcopate, clergy, catechists and give a speech.
Francis will be in the Hungarian capital until Sunday.
Pope for the first time so close to war
According to Vatican officials, during this visit, Francis may try to work for peace in the region attacked by Russia Ukraine. Commentators point out that Hungary supports the sovereign Ukrainebut at the same time they still maintain economic relations with Moscow.
As emphasized in Budapest, the pope came for the first time to a country bordering Ukraine since it was attacked by Russia, and at the same time to the center of Europe, wounded by war. These accents are expected in his speech.
Last time Pope Francis appeared in Hungary on September 12, 2021. The Pope then arrived in the Hungarian capital for only seven hours to celebrate the closing mass of the International Eucharistic Congress. He also met then, among others, with Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
Main photo source: PAP/EPA/SZILARD KOSZTICSAK