Zsolt Semjen, Hungary’s deputy prime minister, has held talks with Patriarch Irinej of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Belgrade, the human resources ministry’s state secretariat for church relations said on Friday.
Semjen presented Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s invitation to the patriarch, who is scheduled to visit Hungary next year. The Thursday meeting was also attended by Miklos Soltesz, state secretary for church, minority and civic relations. Semjen informed the patriarch about the government’s policy towards Hungarian communities abroad, while Soltesz spoke about its policy towards churches and ethnic minorities. Semjen said that Hungary’s support for ethnic Hungarian minorities strengthened rather than weakened the countries they reside in.
Irinej said that the Hungarian government’s positive approach to the ethnic Serbian minority and the Serbian Church in Hungary was highly constructive in terms of bilateral relations and efforts to preserve Europe’s Christian identity. The patriarch expressed appreciation for improvements in Serbian-Hungarian political and social relations, adding that Europe’s stability can only be guaranteed with strong nation states.