Refugees at Pannonhalma Abbey


Author: Ádám Kolozsi

For the original article please click here.

Refugees at Pannonhalma Abbey

Families somehow getting to Pannonhalma Abbey were accommodated there for the night

Two Syrian families arrived during the night to the Benedictine Abbey close to Győr. They travelled on towards Austria in the day, but they will be followed by new ones.

Despite Cardinal Peter Erdő saying two days ago that the Church is not receiving any refugees, as it would be “human-trafficking,” Pannonhalma decided to act instead of talking. We were told that Abbot Asztrik Varszegi declared that anyone arriving to them should be received and the door should be opened to them. “We cannot leave anyone outside; that would be contrary to Evangelical teachings,” quoted sources close to the Abbot.

The families must have been picked up from the nearby motorway by some volunteers and taken to the Abbey. They were given mattresses in the gymnasium. Five of the guests’ children were very small. With them, the abbey received 2 boys without their families too, both approximately 12 years old. They set off from Syria alone. They managed to call home from the Abbey and spoke with their parents.

On Friday, prior to the government’s decision to take refugees to Hegyeshalom by buses (the border station on Hungarian-Austrian border – trans.) the abbey decided that somehow they will help refugees who would be passing near to them. Students of the Benedictine high school were planning to walk with the refugees along the motorway as pilgrims.

Events later unfolding then altered the plan of the pilgrimage, but news of the Abbey’s support spread and several volunteers reported to them since. They would bring new people to the Abbey, then Austrian helpers will transfer the families from here to a Catholic Parish in Vienna. This is where the first refugee families were most probably taken, too.

The Abbey of Pannohalma will continue to receive those arriving to them. (A historic parallel: in the Second World War Vilmos Apor, then Abbot hid Jews in their cellars.) However, they do not have the capacity to harbor so many people, so they are hoping that the crisis will be soon resolved by those whose job it is to resolve it.

3 thoughts on “Refugees at Pannonhalma Abbey

  1. I have already mentioned the disgraceful comment from the Hungarian cardinal but there is something else that is disgraceful. The oil rich Arab Muslim states such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, Kuwait and Bahrain are taking in ZERO refugees! Besides shamming European states for not helping enough you should shame the above Muslim countries far more.


  2. “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” – Jesus. It is the most important part of being a Christian to help anyone and everyone regardless of religion, creed, colour or race. That’s Christianity in a nutshell. I am ashamed as a Catholic and a Christian that a senior member of my Church should refuse to help his fellow man.


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