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Homeless on Christmas

Photographer: Attila Balazs


The life of Hungarian homeless man Barnabas Jozsef Antal, skilled in the professions of a tailor and a waiter, slipped off the track when his 25-year old son was killed in a motorcycle accident. His relationship with his wife broke down and he became an alcoholic.


One and half years ago, when he was dismissed from an institute for addicts, he went to the downtown cathedral of Nyiregyhaza, 245 kms east of Budapest, Hungary, to make a confession. According to witnesses before the confession he looked like a dying man, and he looked like a healthy man right after it. Since then he has attended masses every day.


He lives in the yard of a building housing shops and apartments as well in the very downtown of Nyiregyhaza, he is allowed to sleep there and he keeps the yard tidy in exchange.


On 24 December 2014, he put on his best clothes to the midnight Christmas Eve mass at the Nyiregyhaza cathedral. 'All I need are friendly words', he replies when asked about his wishes.