The patriarch was one of the Orthodox Christian leaders who turned to Orbán for help in “stopping the European Commission’s plan to impose sanctions on Patriarch Kirill of Russia”, the prime minister’s press chief said, Bertalan Havasi, said. Including a Christian leader on a sanctions list would “set a precedent that would confuse millions of Christians,” the patriarch said. He also thanked Hungary for consistently aiding Christian communities in need. Orbán pledged Hungary would not support sanctioning religious leaders as such a step would impact the religious freedom of Hungarian communities “which is sacred and inviolable”.
Earlier, a government official said Hungary rejected sanctions against religious leaders. Tristan Azbej, the state secretary for aiding persecuted Christians, told public television that whereas Hungary condemned Russia’s attack on Ukraine and supported various sanctions, the government supported brokering peace and “sees counterproductive, nonsensical sanctions as harmful”.