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Major dates from the history of the Transylvanian Unitarian Church (page 3)
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1778. The synod of Szentábrahám.
Among its resolutions the most important were:
1. Forming the "Consistory of Marosvásárhely" chaired by P.Horváth Ferenc, general superintendent. Its members were recruted only from laypersons. Its sphere of authority was supervising the measures taken by the Representative Consistory at Kolozsvár and leading the Church. It was an expression of the guiding role of the laity. It was dissolved at the beginning of the 19th century.
2. Election of general superintendents to lead the college at Kolozsvár and the highschool at Torda.
3. Abandonment of the practice of "asking the minister to stay on" (detaining). The relation between the congregations and their leadership required them to declare every year mutually: whether the minister wanted to remain and whether the congregation wanted them to stay on. The Church replaced this with the system of the "ordering", by which the church leadership was ordered by the Representative Consistory without asking the congregations.
1781. November 29. Proclamation of the Edict of Tolerance.
Emperor Joseph II's edict aimed at redressing the religious insults of Protestant and Orthodox Churches and at regulating their relations with the state.
The Edict of Toleration made it possible for the non-Catholic denominations to practice their faith, building churches and schools depending on the number of inhabitants and it also allowed ministers and teachers to be employed. At the same time it forbad anybody to be required to worship or to vow contrary to their conviction. Catholicism yet remained the dominant religion; the other denominations fell into the legal status of "tolerated religions".
In Transylvania, though the freedom of the received religions had been assured by laws, Protestants received the edict as a great achievement because it redressed the most striking insults and it limits the recatholizing tendency of the counter-reformation. It meant a move toward equality in religious rights.
The Edict of Toleration promoted the renewal of the Unitarian Church.
1785. Organizing the presbytery.
The General Assembly ordered setting up a presbytery for a better management of the congregations. Its president is the minister, its lay president is the treasurer (intendent). The number of members in the presbytery varied between 7 and 11 depending on the size of the congregation.
1786. August 22. The synod from Nagyajta elected Lázár István as bishop.
1787. The theology of Szentábrahámi L. Mihály was published as the Summa universae
theologiae christianae secundum unitarios. The statement of the government-general was that the "publication of this work can be allowed not only because Unitarianism is a received religion in Transylvania, but also because the modesty manifesting in it should serve as an example for other religious books." The publication of the book is Bishop Agh István's merit.
In this year the General Assembly stopped the practice of the bishop's resignation every year and his submission to critics. There was an old compulsory custom that the bishops and deans resign at the synod and submit themselves to public critique. They could re-occupy their office only if public confidence found them worthy to it.
1789-1803. The inspection of Bishop Lázár István.
The bishop visited every congregation of Torda-Aranyos, Udvarhely, Székelykeresztúr, Háromszék, Küküllö és Maros Church-districts. Official reports were written of his visits containing an exact description of the state of each congregation and about its whole property in detail. These reports constitute a value for the history of the church and its culture.
1791. February 14th. Donation of Suki László.
April 16th, Suki László (1741-1792) the first superintendent of the College left all his property to the College. His argument for his decision was: "Seeing and experiencing in reality that our Unitarian College at Kolozsvár is absolutely necessary for the whole Unitarian community to survive in hard times, it had run out all its goods so totally that our congregation can only very poorly support and feed its leaders, professors and teachers of all ranges and even that with permanent solicitation and collection. My purpose and intention had always been, if God blesses my struggle, to leave such a permanent fund to our community and to the College of Kolozsvár from whose income the college not only would be able to be restored but also its welfare would be assured in the future." The donation of Suki László made it possible that the new building of the college was built. he was a great patron of the 18th century.
1792-1796. The new church of the congregation at Kolozsvár was built.
Its architect was Török (Türk) Antal architect from Marosvásárhely. The constructions happened in the ministries of Márkos György and Ferenczi János and the superintendents were Bartha Mózes and R. Nagy Ferenc. The church building had been supported by P. Horváth Ferenc, general superintendent and Lázár István bishop.
1793. July 10. The foundation of the school at Székelykeresztúr.
The synod at Homoródalmás based on the proposal of P. Horváth Ferenc, general-superintendent, decided to establish a new highschool at Székelykeresztúr. The school was built from public contributions and it started its program in 1804. The inspiration for the construction and organization was the headmaster Szabó Sámuel (1756-1856).
The school at Székelykeresztúr has been serving public education and the church with great success.
1796. Introducing the double presidency. According to the decision of the synod
at Székelykál, the president of the Synod and General Assembly on the lay side is the general-superintendent and on the part of the clergy is the bishop. The principle of the double presidency in the Representative Consistory, in the church districts and in the congregations was introduced in the first part of the 19th century.
1804. November 21. Death of P. Horváth Ferenc.
He had been serving his Church for 26 year with great devotion. His exemplary generosity, his mobilizing the laity in defense of the Church and his wise Church-guidance contributed a great deal to strengthening the Unitarian Church.
1811. October 9. death of bishop Lázár István.
The outstanding results of his 25 year bishoptry were the 41 churches and towers, the 9 schools that he built and other major restorations with the contributions of the church members. he was a powerful initiator and leader for external renewal of the Church.
1812. July 7. Körmöczi János (1762-1836), president of the college was elected as bishop at the synod of Rava.
1821. Beginning of the connection with the British Unitarian Church.
The British Unitarians sent a letter to our Church in which they described their religion, history and its situation. Our Church in its answer at the same way presented our religious principles, our organization and our history. The communication between the two Churches since 1858 has become regular. The people who started and promoted this connection were: E.Tagart and S.H.Steinhal ministers, John Paget who did establish in Transylvania and Kriza János and Ferencz József bishops.
1831. Establishing contact with the American Unitarian Association.
During Bölöni Farkas Sándor's journey in North America, he met Unitarians there and told them the history and conditions of our Church. Mediated by him, a correspondence started between the two Churches. Extension of regular communications started in 1868 with the collaboration of C.H.Dall, E.Hale, J.Fretwell, A.Richmond and E.Southwirth on the American side and Kriza János and Ferencz József on Hungarian side.
Bölöni Farkas Sándor in his book, North-American Journey, published in 1833 reports about his encounter with American Unitarians.
The American Unitarian Church made it possible for Transylvanian theological students to continue their study in American universities and seminaries.
1832. August 20. The synod of Nyárádszentlászló elected Augusztinovich Pál (1763-1837)
as general-superintendent. In his will of October 1., 1837 he left his valuable library and all his property to the Church. he stipulated the use of his property: "My supreme wish is to elevate the scientific and moral education at the noble Unitarian College of Kolozsvár, by assigning my property to keep this preference consciously in view." Augusztinovich Pál was a great benefactor of the 19th century, and the second great patron of the Church.
1836. December 13. Death of the bishop Körmöczi János.
Having a profound culture and knowledge he was a prestigious professor and orator. He was the outstanding representative of the Enlightenment in our Church. The General Assembly at his initiation established the by-laws of the offices of superintendents and intendents and also of the school-headmaster. He introduced preparation and teachings for confirmation. he had been working on the material and spiritual elevation of the Church, being the guardian and the promoter of internal renewal of the Church.
1837. February 8. The General Assembly elected Brassai Sámuel as professor and next year
as President of the College. His election constituted "the victory of the liberals over those loyal to the (Habsburg) dynasty. His professorship started a new era in the life of the College.
In this year was published the new hymnbook of the Church entitled God's glorification and prayers, edited by Székely Sándor (1797-1852) and based on the old hymnbook. The hymnbook went into its sixth edition and remained in use until 1924.
1839. Publication of A.Székely Sándor's work, Early years of the Unitarianism in Transylvania. This is the first published work on Unitarian history.
1840. The synod at Bölön replaced the practice of "ordering ministers" with that of an application linked to a nomination to a pulpit.
1841. August 22. Testimony of Bölöni Farkas Sándor (1795-1842).
The enlightened, progressive writer and devoted Unitarian donated his library of great value to our College. He also left a large amount of money for acquisitions.
August 23. The education reform of the Church The synod at Korond accepted Prof. Brassai Sámuel's curriculum of study and education in which Hungarian was introduced of the classes (forms) with that of speciality. This reform was promoted the elevation of the educational standard.
1847. Under the bishoptry of Székely Sándor the institutional system for independent
ministerial training was established. Before 1847 students graduated from the college of philosophy and were employed as ministers. The progress and the religious life required a decent theological training for future ministers. Therefore the church established in 1847 a two-year "theological course" which was supposed to be completed after graduation from the course of philosophy. The theological course was extended to three years in 1857 and four years in 1889 (and five years in 1984).
1849. January 20. Gedö József of Homoródszentmárton, patron of the sciences and
literature, donated his library to the College. He described his decision as follows: "It has been my wish for a long time to give my library as a present to the College at Kolozsvár because I had been trained there myself between 1791 and 1798 and grained from it my passion for the literature."
1854. July 4. At the synod of Kolozsvár K.Nagy Elek was elected general-superintendent.
In the fight with Habsburg absolutism he was a wise leader and brave defender of the Church and its institutions. In his church service his collaborators were Székely Mózes vicebishop, Mikó Lörincz professor and Fejér Márton lawyer.
1856. August 30. The payment of the "alms of groat (penny)".
In order to establish a financial found for supporting the schools, the Church asked for one silver groat (penny) from every church-member. This was called "alms groat". Because this contribution wasn't sufficient, K.Nagy Elek and Mikó Lörincz created a new plan of fundraising which was accepted by the General Assembly. According to this the congregations, the church-leader and the church-members redeemed their alms of groat by a contribution and put it into a bond. The General Assembly held in June 7th 1857 stated with great satisfaction that by this new system such funds had been established that provided the necessary help for he schools.
1858-1859. The visit of a representative of the Unitarian Church from England.
First, Rev. Edward Tagart (sic.) minister of London visited us in 1858 in order to investigate the situation of our church. On his way back he died without being able to give a report of his mission. In the next year Alfred Steinhal, minister from Manchester, got the same commission, which he could fulfill and presented a detailed report to his Church about the situation of the Transylvanian Unitarian Church. These visits meant a great moral and financial support for our church in its hardship.
1859. The representatives of our church, Ferencz József and Buzogány Áron, who were
college students, visited the Unitarian center of London and also participated for the first time in their General Assembly. At this occasion English Unitarians decided to provide scholarships for Transylvanian theological students to study in Manchester New College. These scholarships have efficiently contributed to maintaining the relationship between the two churches.
1860. The Representative Consistory sent Simén Domokos (1836-1878), a candidate for ministry, to Manchester New College to continue his studies.
1861. Establishing of the Keresztény Magvetö (Christian Seed-Sower).
The goal of the journal was "to sow and bring forth seeds of Christian ideas and generally what was more beautiful, good and true." In this spirit the Keresztény Magvetö mobilized all Unitarian scholars, writers and theologians of the 18th and 19th centuries. It created at the same time a valuable theological literature and made an outstanding contribution to the revival of religious life and made our religious principles known. Its editors were Kriza János and Nagy Lajos. The Keresztény Magvetö was the first theological journal in Transylvania.
1861. July 1. Kriza János became bishop of the Unitarian Church. The synod at Torda elected Kriza János, a minister from Kolozsvár and professor at the Seminary.
1862. The General Assembly elected Brassai Sámuel as superintendent of the college. In 1877 they honored him with the title of superintendent for life.
1864. Publication of the Ferencz József's catechism. It reached its 20th edition in 1991.
The catechism was also published in German in 1892 in the translation of Grátz Mór, an Evangelical minister at Kolozsvár. In English was published by the Rev. György Andrási, Counselor to the Bishop of the Romanian Transylvanian Unitarian Church in collaboration with Byron C.Miller (Published in The Unitarian Universalist Christian by The Unitarian Universalist Christian Fellowship, FALL/WINTER, 1994, Volume 49, Nos.3-4)
1865. Orbán Balázs, historian and public figure become a Unitarian.
He was a faithful member and supporter of our church. In 1876 and 1890 he established endowments to support students at the Gymnasium at Székelykeresztúr, regardless of nationality or denomination.
1868. August 30-31. The 300th anniversary of the existence of the Unitarian Church.
The synod of Torda was able to celebrate the Edict of the Diet of Torda in 1568 and the founding of the church for the first time with the participation of the state and representatives of all the other denominations. At the celebration representatives of English Unitarians were present, too. For this occasion Kriza János wrote the hymn, "People of this house, O God, burst into holy joy". (the 215th song of our Hymnbook). The Keresztény Magvetö published all the orations of the synod and described in detail the whole celebration.
1869. June 25. Kelemen Benö's endowment to support poor and diligent students of good behavior. In September 5. Nagyajtai Kovács István left his library to the college.
1870. American Unitarian Theologian's, W.E.Channing (1780-1842), first volume of
selections from his works was published in Hungarian. The translation was initiated by Bishop Kriza János, with collaboration from college professors and ministers. The third and last volume was published in 1881. Channing's books contributed to the growth of our seminary.
1872. March 10. Death of Mikó Lörinc, professor of the college.
As the professor of jurisprudence, he participated in the struggle of the church against Habsburg absolutism. He collected and systematized the resolutions of the various synods. His book, Administrative System of the Transylvanian Unitarian Religious Community was published by Tóth György in 1931.
1875. March 26. Kriza János's death.
He served his church as minister of Kolozsvár, professor of the college and bishop. During the 14 years of his bishoptry his main concern was nurturing religious life, promoting inner revival and developing Unitarian theological principles. He contributed to establishing connections with foreign churches. The permanent value of his literary activity is the volume entitled: Vadrózsák (Wild Roses).
1875. Publication of the Little Unitarian Mirror by Ferencz József.
This work is a short description of the history, theological principles, religious services and organization of our church. In 1930 Vári Albert revised and republished it.
1876. August 27. The synod at Ákos elected Ferencz József (1835-1928), minister of Kolozsvár, as bishop.
October 19. Baldácsi Antal, a Roman Catholic, established an endowment for helping the Protestant churches. The endowing document was signed by Ferencz József bishop and Daniel Gábor general-superintendent.
Establishment of the Pension and Relief Fund to help ministers, professors and teachers.
1878. September 9. Death of Simén Domokos.
After finishing his studies in 1863 he became a teacher at the Gymnasiun at Székelykeresztúr. The synod of Szentgerice in 1865 elected him as headmaster of the school. In 1866 he was transferred as professor to the college at Kolozsvár. In 1877 the General Assembly elected him as their general notary.
He found his mission in teaching and the cultivation of science. At the seminary he taught biblical disciplines and philosophy. He planned to translate the bible into Hungarian, but his early death prevented him from finishing this work. His books, the Evangelical Miracles and The History of the Origin and Evolution of the Trinity, have been a great and permanent value in our theological literature.
1879. August 24-26. The 300th anniversary of Dávid Ferenc's death.
At the synod held at Székelykeresztúr the occasion of the death of Dávid Ferenc was celebrated for the first time. At the synod representatives of foreign Unitarian churches were also present.
The "Dávid Ferenc Foundation" started by the Bishop Ferencz József was dedicated to the memory of Dávid Ferenc. Jakab Elek's book, The memory of Dávid Ferenc, presented the life and reform activity of the great church-founder.
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