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V4 Military Chaplains meet in Slovakia

Text: Lieutenant Colonel Dr. Ervin János Alácsi |  13:37 May 2, 2023

In the framework of a yearslong close military cooperation, the military chaplaincy services of the Visegrád Four (V4) countries attended a joint conference between 25–27 April.

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This time the host of the event was Slovakia. The conference was organized in the picturesque setting of Dolný Smokovec, at the feet of the High Tatras. The Catholic Military Chaplaincy Service of Hungary was represented at the meeting by Lieutenant Colonel Dr. Ervin János Alácsi, General Vicar of the Military Ordinariate, and Pastoral Vicar Major Milán Mór Markovics.

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Besides the Hungarian, Slovakian, Polish and Czech military chaplains, for the first time a Ukrainian military chaplain in observer status also participated in the meeting with the consent of the nations concerned, and briefed the participants about the developments of the Ukrainian chaplaincy service the organization of which has been under way for several years. He gained valuable experiences and useful knowledge about the history and organizational structure of the V4 chaplaincy services as well as their decades-long practice on deployment with foreign missions. The meeting was organized in an ecumenical spirit, with Catholic, Orthodox and Lutheran chaplains also in attendance.

After the services concerned had introduced themselves in detail, there was time for answering important questions and for a fruitful exchange of views, as well as for making short excursions. The chaplains travelled by bus to visit the Armed Forces Academy of General Milan Rastislav Štefánik of the Slovak armed forces in Liptovský Mikuláš, where a local pastor held a brief service, and then at Starý Smokovec they took the the Tatra Electric Railway train to go to the foot of Lomnica Peak, situated at a height of close to 1300 meters above sea level, where they enjoyed the magnificent scenery and went hiking to approach a nearby waterfall.

The chaplains finally bid farewell to each other saying that they would meet again soon in the Czech Republic, because the Czech are scheduled to host the V4 meeting next year.

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