The government of Hungary has donated 10,000 masks to the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople in Istanbul, Turkey, spiritual seat of the world’s Orthodox Christian faith.
Representatives of the Hungarian government in Turkey visited Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew at the Phanar to deliver the gift. The masks will be used by staff, clerics and employees working at the various Patriarchal parishes and institutions in the country.
The Patriarchate manages dozens of buildings, churches, schools and senior centers for the remaining Orthodox Christians in the country.
Hungary and the Ecumenical Patriarchate have a long history of collaboration. The Patriarchate maintains a presence in the country with an exarchate, or diocese, which falls under the jurisdiction of the Metropolis of Vienna. The exarchate consists of seven parishes.
The Ecumenical Patriarchate suspended “all religious ceremonies, events and rites” for the thousands of Eastern Orthodox churches under its jurisdiction worldwide on March 18.
The announcement came in stark contrast to the words of Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, who in March defied the orders of his country’s government after officials ordered all churches to closed.
In April the Russian patriarch changed his tone, lashing out at rebel priests who continue to hold religious services amid the pandemic. But many believe that the Patriarch’s orders came too late, as his church has already seen the deaths of numerous bishops, clergy and monks.
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