Earlier this week, a Greek Catholic church in the Budapest suburban area of Gödöllő was subject to an arson attack, causing several million forints in material damages, but injuring no one, Hungarian news portal Vasárnap reports.
According to the portal’s sources, the perpetrators set fire to the church benches and also sprinkled the iconostasis with flammable material.
Speaking to vasarnap.hu over the telephone, local priest János Sivadó confirmed the attack occurred, saying a fire broke out in the church a few minutes after 8:00 p.m. on Monday, and the attack also had an eyewitness. The perpetrator fled the scene after incurring damage with several million forints. The pastor emphasized that the attack was an “anti-Christian act”.
Vandalism similar to what occurred in Gödöllő have been routinely seen in Western European and North American countries, but are very rare in Hungary. In Central Europe, actions against churches were documented last fall when the Catholic Church was targeted by extremist pro-abortion protesters in Poland.
According to the Hajdúdorog Archdiocese, the iconostasis that was attacked was consecrated last autumn. According to the church’s own records, the city is home to about 300 Greek Catholics who have had their own clergy for 20 years.
The foundation stone of the Church of the Holy Cross was laid in November 2011, and then the building was completed by 2013, which was finally consecrated on Sept. 13. At the consecration of the church, Greek Catholic Archbishop Fülöp Kocsis praised the building as follows: “In this church, in these paintings, there is a wonderful order. This beautiful temple is the transmission of the divine order.”
While the majority of Hungary’s 9.8 million inhabitants are Christiana, only a small fraction (1.8 percent) of them are Greek Catholic.
Title image: The Greek Catholic church in Gödöllő, some 30 kilometers northeast of the capital Budapest.