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    Pope Francis in Hungary meets with Ukrainian refugees, sanctioned ROC Metropolitan

    During his visit to Hungary, Pope Francis met privately with the Metropolitan of Budapest and Hungary, former head of the Department of External Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, Hilarion (Alfeyev), who has been sanctioned in Ukraine.

    The pontiff also talked with Ukrainian refugees, according to Vatican News.

    The meeting took place in the embassy of the Holy See in Budapest, lasting about 20 minutes.

    It is noted that the head of the Catholic Church greeted Metropolitan Hilarion with a hug and kissed his panagia.

    Pope Francis and Metropolitan Hilarion last met on December 22, 2021 at the Vatican. Then they discussed “some issues of common concern” and committed to “seeking concrete human and spiritual answers,” Vatican News reported.

    Francis met Hilarion for the first time on March 20, 2013, the day after he became head of the Catholic Church.

    According to the decision of the National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) of Ukraine, Metropolitan Hilarion is under sanctions in Ukraine. He was added to the sanctions list along with 21 other figures of the Russian Orthodox Church on January 23, 2023. President Volodymyr Zelensky explained that these “citizens of Russia, under the guise of spirituality, support terror and genocidal politics.”

    Sanctions include the blocking of assets, restrictions on trade operations, complete cessation of transfer of assets, travel through territory of Ukraine, cessation of provision of electronic communication services and the use of electronic communication networks on the territory of Ukraine, and other measures.

    Meeting with refugees

    Vatican News also reports that on the second day of his stay in Budapest, Pope Francis met with the poor and displaced persons, including Ukrainians who had to flee from Russian shelling.

    Among them is the family of Oleh, who, together with his wife and five children, was forced to leave his native city of Dnipro, which had been under attack by Russian missiles.

    “The love that Jesus gives us and with which He commands us to live helps to eradicate the evil of indifference and selfishness in society, the cities and places where we live, and rekindles hope for a new humanity, more just and brotherly,” Pope Francis said, summing up the story of Ukrainian refugees.

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