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It is the government’s task and obligation, where possible, to support efforts to build churches, the state secretary in charge of church and international relations said on Sunday at the opening of a new church in Eger, in northern Hungary.

The building of the new mission centre named after Pope Saint John Paul II had 250 million forints (EUR 755,000) of its costs paid by the state, Miklós Soltész said.

Photo by Péter Komka/MTI

He said it was symbolic that the church was built in a communist-era housing estate where the buildings are arranged in a way as to form the letters CCCP (Russian abbreviation for the Soviet Union) when viewed from above.

“It was a major effort by the Soviet Union and communism to completely eradicate faith, religion and Christianity, and wherever new housing estates were built … churches were not allowed to be built,” Soltész said.

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The new church named after Pope John Paul II has been developed in a former furniture depot which was later used as a gym, he said. Pope John Paul II always raised his voice against the attacks of liberalism against the church, he added.

“We are delighted that, contrary to the very sad western European practice of closing down churches and turning them into entertainment venues and gyms, Hungary is doing the opposite,” he said.

In the featured photo: Miklós Soltész. Photo by Péter Komka/MTI