By Elise Harrys for CRUX
ROME - Extending the country’s longstanding support for persecuted Christians and other victims of violence in the Middle East, the Hungarian government has announced that it will provide nearly $1.7 million to a project aimed at supporting hospitals in Syria.
Hungarian Ambassador to the Holy See Eduard Habsburg told Crux he’s happy with the initiative, because it “finally makes much more visible what Hungary has been doing for years behind the scenes. Hungary has been doing this all the time.”
“I am extremely happy that we can help out and react to a call from the Holy See,” he said, explaining that Italian Cardinal Mario Zenari, who has served as the Vatican’s envoy to Syria for the past decade, approached Hungarian officials for help, knowing how much support the government has given to persecuted Christian communities.
Hungary is the first public donor to support the project through their “Hungary Helps” humanitarian assistance program.
The government “took this call with lots of joy,” Habsburg said, adding that for him, one of the most important aspects of the project is that while the bulk of hospital staff are Christian, Muslims will be the primary beneficiaries of their support, “so it is a project that will help peace in the region between different religions.”
Launched by the AVSI Foundation in 2016 in partnership with the Gemelli Foundation and the pontifical charity branch “Cor Unum,” which is overseen by the Vatican’s Dicastery for Integral Human Development, the Syrian “Open Hospitals” project provides medical care for those living in poverty and supports the activities of three Catholic non-profit hospitals in Syria.
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