Kover noted the infrequency of the presence of so many “committed representatives of fraternity and understanding” in a place of political debate.

“I hope that the peace that radiates from your spirits will remain here for all of us in the coming difficult months, in the run-up to the election campaign,” he said.

Kover quoted from a letter of Saint Ladislaus in which the Hungarian king conceded his guilt because the “deeds of earthly dignity” – politics, in today’s language – cannot be advanced without small indiscretions.

If that was how it was with a ruler venerated as a saint, he said, then perhaps today’s generations of politicians may also hope for a bit of understanding from church leaders.

Everything that Christians believe in is today imperiled by “dark, Satanic forces”, Kover said. Those forces “endanger our civilisation founded on Christianity, our freedom and human dignity,” he added.

Kover extended a special welcome to religious leaders from neighbouring countries, saying their presence was “proof that the Christian faith unites the nations in our region and that we can and should build on that foundation”.