Father Imre Kozma
Roman Catholic priest
Imre Kozma was ordained as a priest in 1963. At the first place where he served there was only one child who attended the bible lessons but within a year and a half more than one hundred people attended his classes.
He served at the Church of Saint Peter of Alcantara, better known as the Franciscan Church of Pest from 1968 until 1977. With his preachings and masses he created such a „centre of the soul”, that fully filled the church with young people.
During these years Imre Kozma was interrogated by the police, and some of his followers were harassed and excluded from the university.
Later Imre Kozma was sent to Zugliget Holy Family Church as a punishment, but he decided to build a community whose members can live their christianity in the outside world, so he arranged a regular youth and family pastoral care. It was not only that his followers attended his classes, but every student had to do charity work. The community grew bigger and bigger and within the years it became the cradle of the Hungarian Charity Service of the Order of Malta.
In 1987 Father Kozma met Baroness Csilla von Boeselager. They decided to found a charity service, embodying the values of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, to help the poor.
Due to the fact that organisations of that kind were not allowed in Hungary in the 80’s, Csilla von Boeselager established the charity service in Germany as Ungarischer Malteser Caritas-Dienst. In 1989, given the fact that legal obstacles ceased to exist, the Hungarian Charity Service of the Order of Malta was founded and Father Kozma became a member of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.
The Hungarian Charity Service of the Order of Malta was facing another humanitarian crisis at the time of the Romanian revolution; then they gathered twenty-two truckloads of donations and transported them to Transylvania. At the time of the War in Yugoslavia in the 1990s Father Kozma managed to convince the Serbian commander of Vukovar to let those elderly and young, who were trapped in the city, to flee to Hungary. Since then, the Charity service has built a countrywide network and it is one of the biggest charity services of Hungary. Father Kozma has joined the Humanitarian Medical Order of Knight Hospitallers and he took his vow in 1999, later he became the preceptor in Budapest. He arranged the reintroduction of the Order in Hungary and successfully reclaimed their hospitals in Vác and Budapest in 2000.
Acknowledgements: He has been acknowledged in many ways for his humanitarian efforts in Hungary and abroad as well.
- 1992 – appointed to be Protonotary apostolic(an honorary prelate of the Pope).
- 1992 – Széchenyi Prize
- 1992 – became honorary prelate
- 1995 – he received the prize for supporting the minorities (Kisebbségekért díj),
- 1999 – the Grand Cross of Merit of the Order of Malta
- 2003 – the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary, Commander’s Cross,
- 2005 – Prima Primissima Prize
- 2007 – Mindszenty medal
- 2010 – National Order of the Legion of Honour (French: Ordre national de la Légion d’honneur)
- 2013 – Sándor Giesswein medal