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The Eastern Catholic Churches / The Hungarian Catholic Church

The Hungarian Catholic Church

Number of faithfulapprox. 300,000
Title of First HierarchMetropolitan of Hajdúdorog
See of the First HierarchDebrecen (Hungary)
Current incumbentArchbishop Péter Fülöp Kocsis, born 1963, in office since 2015
Bishops and dioceses4 bishops; 3 dioceses
Liturgical languageHungarian
Presence in Austriaapprox. 100 faithful; 2 priests
Presence in Germanyunknown

The Hungarian Greek Catholic Church arose from a peculiar mixture of different, mostly Slavic-speaking ethnic groups, who had settled in Hungary in the 15th to 17th centuries fleeing the encroaching Ottomans, where they retained their Byzantine rite but submitted to the Catholic bishops. In the 18th century, a larger group of Hungarian Protestants joined the Byzantine Catholics in Hungary, furthering the process of integration into Hungarian society and culture. During the 19th century, the Byzantine liturgy was increasingly celebrated in Hungarian. In 1900, during a pilgrimage to Rome to celebrate the Holy Year, a large group of Greek Catholics from Hungary asked Pope Leo XIII to allow the use of the Hungarian language in the liturgy and to establish a separate diocese for the Byzantine-rite Catholics in Hungary. Finally, in June 1912, after prolonged negotiations between the Holy See and Budapest, Pope Pius X established the Diocese of Hajdúdorog for the Hungarian-speaking Greek Catholics. The associated request to use Greek as the language of the liturgy was never implemented.

In 1924, an Apostolic Exarchate was established in Miskolc for the Ruthenian parishes that had previously belonged to the Diocese of Prešov and were now on Hungarian territory. Since the Ruthenian Catholics soon adopted the Hungarian language in the liturgy, this exarchate was administered by the bishop of Hajdúdorog from 1940 onwards. In 1980 the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Hajdúdorog, who resided in Nyiregyháza in eastern Hungary, was extended to Greek Catholics throughout Hungary. In 2015, Pope Francis elevated Hajdúdorog to a metropolis with the two suffragan bishoprics of Miskolc and Nyiregyháza.


  • Véghseö, Tamás: Katholiken des byzantinischen Ritus in Ungarn. I. Teil: Von den Anfängen bis 1920, in: Ostkirchliche Studien 62 (2013) 281-309; II. Teil: Von 1920 bis 1989, in: Ostkirchliche Studien 67 (2018) 273-304.