The Grand Chancellor of the Order of Malta, Albrecht Boeselager, paid a visit to Hungary last week. During his stay, Albrecht Boeselager had a cordial meeting with Vice Prime Minister of Hungary Zsolt Semjén and, separately, with the State Secretary for the Aid of Persecuted Christians, Tristan Azbej, with whom he discussed the current main challenges: from the pandemic crisis to the dramatic situation in Afghanistan, its effect in the region, and the promotion of peace in the Holy Land.
The Grand Chancellor was also able to visit a number of projects run by the Hungarian branch of the Order, including its association and relief corps (MMSz). In particular he visited a home that accommodates 200 mentally disabled persons. The Hungarian relief corps is currently working on a project aimed at improving their living conditions by adapting, among other things, households to their needs.
With a countrywide presence of 350 premises – run by a staff of 5,000 and 15,000 volunteers- and 142 local groups, the Order of Malta relief corps is one of the largest humanitarian organisations working in the country in collaboration with governmental institutions. The main areas of intervention include assistance to the disabled and the elderly, support programmes for disadvantaged students, distribution of meals to the homeless, support for the Roma community and to refugee families.
Boeselager visited one of the centres run by the Order of Malta relief corps that offer support to children with severe mental disabilities in Göd and met one of the families that through the Hungarian relief service of the Order of Malta has found a safe home.
The Order of Malta and Hungary have a long-standing collaboration as testified by the memorandum of understanding signed in 2018 to advance humanitarian cooperation and response to persecution of religious and ethnic minorities in crises regions, and the agreement signed in 2010 for joint interventions in the humanitarian field.
Diplomatic relations between Hungary and the Order of Malta have been running since 1990.