Hungarian and Ukranian Refugees Worshipped Together in Budapest

Due to the war in Ukraine, human lives are at risk, people lack basic supplies and have been forced to leave their homes. IDPs have reached the Western part of Ukraine and refugees are arriving to Hungary in growing numbers. The Hungarian Reformed Church Aid has been providing emergency response from the first day. Daily update.

Spiritual Donation

Hungarians and Ukrainians from Transcarpathia alike were present at the Sunday evening prayer for those who fled the war. An interpreter translated for those who did not speak Hungarian. The purpose of the event, which was attended by Bishop Zoltán Balog of the Reformed Church and Catholic parish priest Zoltán Osztie, was to offer spiritual support alongside in-kind and financial support.

“Today, we can experience more than just a few weeks ago what it means to flee into the wilderness," said Bishop Zoltán Balog in his sermon, referring to the persecution of King David. He added that wilderness can be not only the absence of trees or mountains, but also a state in which there is no human help, only monotony and helplessness without handholds. Addressing the people of Transcarpathia, the ministerial president of the Synod stressed that even if they find friends, acquaintances and a safe shelter, they cannot forget that they were forced to flee the war. What is happening now, he continued, is not the first or the last time in history, but just as there will always be wars, there will also be deliverance – time and time again. And the deliverance offered by the word of God through King David is not the result of the power of the sword, but is to be found in the sanctuary. The Bishop said that there is a great need now to see not only the power of those who confuse us, who make our lives impossible, who cause the destruction of lifetime achievements, but also the power of God's love, which is greater than that anyone else.

Zoltán Balog also spoke about the care of the Hungarians. He said that it was uplifting to see them standing on both sides of the border, providing food and shelter. He also recalled the words of Bishop Sándor Zán Fábián of Transcarpathia who a few days earlier said that those who are now helping refugees are those who for decades have felt forced to leave themselves their home country, Ukraine. "What a miracle in this terrible war would be if the helpfulness and love of the Hungarians could dispel the hatred that is being artificially fuelled against time from time to time," the Bishop said.

Bishop Balog announced that starting on 27 March every Sunday evening there will be prayers for peace held in his church, the German speaking reformed congregation at 6PM.

Ecumenical Prayer for peace (10:52)

Catholic priests and reformed pastors will organize together a charity concert and offer prayers for refugees at the St Stephen's Basilica in Budapest on Thursday, 24 March, from 7.30 pm. The ecumenical prayer for peace and musical reflection will be hosted by Gábor Mohos, auxiliary bishop of Esztergom-Budapest and parish priest of the Basilica.

The concert will feature performances by : Judit Faludi, Liszt Ferenc Prize-winning cellist, Krisztián Szenthelyi, vocalist, Dénes Harmath, organist, Donatella Hunyadi, vocal student of the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music, Xavér Filep, the organist and cantor of the St. Lipót Parish Church in Buda, Mihály Melis, the cantor of the St. Elisabeth of Árpád House Parish Church in Rózsák tér, and the Albinoni Chamber Orchestra. Participation is free of charge, and the audience's donations will be used to support the Association for Carpathian Families and the St. Elisabeth Charity Centre.

As of next Monday, the Hungarian Reformed Church Aid will only accept donations in its warehouses (11:41)

"We would like to express our gratitude to all who have been supporting our work with donations for more than three weeks now, and enabled us to provide care for as many refugees as possible. From 21 March onwards, our supply points at the Western and Eastern railway stations of Budapest will be closed, and together with other charity organisations, the green angels of the Hungarian Reformed Church Aid will move to a new venue of reception in the BOK Sports Hall" - announced HRCA. For the above reason, from 21 March, donations can only be accepted at our warehouses in Budapest. Non-perishable food and beverages, just like hygiene products are steel needed and donations are still welcome at

Chief Elders of the four Church Districts of RCH visited Transcarpathia on Monday (17:21)

The Lay leaders of the four Hungarian Church Districts expressed their solidarity with the Reformed congregations in Western Ukraine on 21 March during their visit at Beregszász/Berehove, where they assured Bishop Sándor Zán Fábián of their support. A longer article on the trip will follow.

Air raid warnings instead of advertising (18:15)

"If we shut down the radio, panic would break out in Transcarpathia" is the title of a report by about the staff of Radio Pulzus in Transcarpathia, who continue their work despite the war situation. The life of the editorial office was turned upside down, some of the staff fled, but Miklós Barta, managing director, and Zoltán Birta, editor-in-chief, decided to stay on the very day the war broke out. Instead of commercials, they broadcast spots warning of air-raid alert.

“Our schools are full” – Ungvár/Uzhhorod asks for help (19:46)

“Our schools and various institutions in the city are fully packed with refugees,” said János Héder, reformed pastor of Uzhhorod, in an interview with TV21 Uzhhorod. The Vice-Bishop of the Reformed Church in Transcarpathia said that the mayor of the city is asking the surrounding small villages to help them in offering shelter and food the refugees. The Reformed Church in Uzhhorod is also playing a major role in providing accommodation and assistance, but János Héder said that many elderly people are also left alone whom they need to take care of. A week ago, the local authorities warned that the city, with a population of 115,000, has been hosting 30,000 refugees and is no longer able to accommodate more.

HRCA’s daily operation in numbers

  • Information requested: 1215 persons
  • Transport requested: 25 persons
  • Accommodation requested: 57 persons
  • Mental health assistance: 123 persons
  • Medical care: 8 persons
  • Meals, drinks: 1216 persons
  • Hygiene and childcare products: 494 persons
  • Blankets: 17 persons
  • Number of persons on duty: 128 persons
    • of which volunteers: 100
    • of which health worker: 2
    • of which interpreter: 34

Edited and translated by Anna Derencsényi, international officer of the Diaconia of RCH.