Egyptian Jesuit monk P. Henri Boulad S.J. took the oath of Hungarian citizenship in the Parliament Building in Budapest on Thursday.

Father Boulad himself asked to be allowed to take on Hungarian citizenship because he agrees with the Hungarian Government’s efforts to protect Christians and Christian values.

At the oath-taking ceremony, Deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Semjén said: “Hungary has been a Christian country for over a thousand years and the new Hungarian Constitution places great emphasis on Christian values”.

“Similarly to universal Christianity, the Hungarian people also received the faith and the gospel from the east, and is aware of its duty to eastern Christians now that they are in a difficult position”, he highlighted.

According to Mr. Semjén, the oath of Hungarian citizenship has today been taken by a theologian and world famous professor, who is considered a great authority. “It is a great honour for Hungary and for the Government to share with Father Boulad the bond of citizenship and of the heritage of St. Stephen”, he added.

Henri Boulad was born in Alexandria in 1931 into a Syrian family; his father was Syrian, his mother was Italian, and the family were Catholics who spoke French as a first language. He entered the Jesuit Order in 1950 and was ordained as a priest in 1963 in Beirut.

He acquired three doctorates and, returning to Egypt, was involved in youth education and social work, in addition to holding spiritual exercises. He organised Egypt’s CARITAS, the Roman Catholic charity, in cooperation with Saint Teresa of Calcutta. He organised refugee camps and fought to stop the genocide in Sudan and to gain the freedom of slaves. He received the Officer’s Cross of the French Order of Merit “for a life devoted solely to self-sacrifice”.

He held annual lecture tours in Europe and his speeches were often also aired on radio. In 2004, he became the head of the Jesuit College in Cairo. He regularly visit Hungary to hold lectures and on this occasion will be here until 24 March, during which time he will be holding several lectures, which were already oversubscribed practically moments after tickets became available.