A Transylvanian Franciscan monk of Hungarian ethnicity, Csaba Böjte, has been nominated by Hungary for the Nobel Peace Prize for his three decades of work in creating a network of orphanages in neighboring Romania, Minister of Human Capacities Miklós Kásler announced on Thursday.
“I was very surprised because the minister did nominate me a few months ago, but the confirmation that my nomination has been approved just arrived, and it looks like I will indeed be considered in 2023,” Böjte told commercial channel TV2.
Böjte, 63, is an ethnic Hungarian Franciscan monk who established the St. Francis Foundation and its adjacent orphanage in Déva in central Romania in 1992 when he illegally occupied a Franciscan monastery there which has been abandoned for decades.
He continued to stay there despite repeated eviction attempts by the Romanian authorities. His initial orphanage has since grown into a nationwide network of 26 orphanages that currently care for 2,500 orphaned children or for children with parents living in deep poverty who cannot support their families. Another several hundred children are also part of a foster parent scheme.
Despite being an ethnic Hungarian, he has also received universal praise in Romania for lacking any ethnic or political bias in his work. He is the recipient of over a dozen awards, including the European Citizen Award (2011) and the Medium Cross of the Hungarian Republic (2010).