Pope meets Ukrainian refugees in Hungary

Budapest, Apr 29 (EFE).- The Pope on Saturday heard the testimonies of Ukrainians who had fled the war raging in their country on the second day of the Pontiff’s Apostolic Visit to Hungary

Francis thanked the church of Hungary for its generosity towards the poor and refugees during a service in the church of Santa Elisabeth in Budapest.

“Thank you too, for having welcomed – not only with generosity but also with enthusiasm – so many refugees from Ukraine,” he said.

Dozens of Ukrainian and Pakistani refugees, as well as gypsy families and poor people, cared for by local charity Caritas sat in the pews.

Brigitta from the Hungarian town of Máriapócs, recounted her childhood of hardship as a farm worker and how she married at the age of 17 and continued suffering.

The pope noted how many of the people before him had suffered a life of pain but also one that had been touched by charity and compassion.

“We need a Church that is fluent in the language of charity, that universal language which everyone can hear and understand, even those farthest from us, even those who are not believers,” he said.

Olesia, who was pregnant when she decided to escape Kyiv with her two daughters, told EFE how she had found happiness again in Hungary.

She explained how she had initially gone to The Netherlands but found it too expensive and later settled in Hungary where, after a three month-wait, she was able to secure state aid and an apartment.

“I respect him (the pope) for his prayers for us and the end of this war. I thank him with all my heart,” she added.

Oleg fled Ukraine in May last year with his wife Lyumilla and their five children. His hometown of Dnipro, along with many other cities, had been rocked by Russian missile strikes.

Oleg and Olesia are just two of hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians who have fled Russia’s invasion via Hungary.

According to the United Nations Refugee Agency, 35,000 Ukrainians have requested temporary protection status in Hungary.EFE


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