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Major dates from the history of the Transylvanian Unitarian Church  (page 4)

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1883.    The synod of Vargyas decided upon the establishment of an institute for Pension and Relief.

1885. August 29. Forming the Dávid Ferenc Society,  initiated by Boros György,

professor of the college. Its goal was nurturing religious life. The first president of the society was Brassai Sámuel.

1888.     Appearance of the journal, Unitárius Közlöny (Unitarian Bulletin).  The journal was published by the Dávid Ferenc Society. Its first editors were Nagy Lajos and Boros György.

September 10. Berde Mozes's endowment.

        Berde Mózes (1815-1893) left all his property to the Unitarian Church. "I had been struggling for a sacred purpose of my life," he wrote in his testimony, "I wanted to show that even a poor man with strong will can be of use to society, humanity and the nation... From my youth one sentiment has been nurtured in my heart, one thought in my mind: to help my poor religious community to rise, to make it easier for students to master the sciences and to give relief to its old servants and professors."

        Berde Mózes reached his goal. His property accumulated with unparalleled diligence and ascetic saving, which helped his church a great deal. His care for students in his special "loaf foundation" made possible for many poor and talented young men to study. Berde Mózes is rightly called "the benefactor prince". His biography was written by Benczédi Gergely entitled, Biography of Berde Mózes, published in 1901.

1888. July 15.      Bartók István donated his library to the church.

1890. August 30.     Derzsi János left an endowment to help poor students.

1896.     Establishment of the "Society of Unitarian Ministers".

    Its goal was to serve post-graduate education and represented their interest. Its first president was Bishop Ferencz József.

1896.      Publication of Sándor János's book, The History of the Unitarian Gymnasium at Székelykeresztúr.

1897. April 16.   Brassai Sámuel donated his library of extraordinary value and all his property to the Unitarian Church.

June 24. death of Brassai Sámuel.  In his nearly hundred year lifetime he accomplished an extensive spiritual and literary activity. As the creator of the church educational system, as scholar and professor of the University and Seminary at Kolozsvár, he cultivated a large range of the sciences. Also as a theologian and patron, his merits are unfading. His biography was written by Boros György entitled The life of dr. Brassai Sámuel. It was published in 1927.

July 22. Death of Jakab Elek.   He was a historian, writer and devoted Unitarian. His main works are The History of Kolozsvár, Memory of Dávid Ferenc, in which are everlasting values for our church history. He was a contributor to the Keresztény Magvetö enriching the journal with his essays written about the great ones of our church and based on his research in the archives. He is the founder of the modern Unitarian historiography. His biography was written by Gál Kelemen entitled Portrayal of Life and Character of Jakab Elek, published in 1938.

1898-1901.     The headquarters of the Unitarian Church was built at Kolozsvár in which

the college, the Theological Seminary and other church-institutions had been placed. The building was the creation of church architect Pákey Lajos. Among his other main buildings were the churches at Bölön, Székelyudvarhely, Firtosmartonos and  Sáros. The monuments of Berde Mózes and Brassai Sámuel in the famous Házsongárd graveyard at Kolozsvár were also his works.

1900. May 25.     Establishment of the International Association for Religious Freedom

in Boston, a world organization of Unitarians and other liberal religions. Our church has been a member of it from the beginning.

1902     Publication of Ferencz József's book, Theology.

1905.    Establishment of the monthly journal, Unitarian Church. Its goal was promoting

religious life, building the church and elaborating timely organizational reforms in the church. Its editor was Lörinczi István, minister from Székelykeresztúr.

1907.    Publication of the periodical, Unitarian Pulpit. Its goal was supporting oratorical

activity of the ministers and developing the literature sermons. Its editors were Vári Albert, Deák Miklós and Balázs András.

    Publication of Varga Dénes's work, History of the Unitarian Gymnasium at Torda.

1910. August 20-23.    The 400th anniversary of birth of Dávid Ferenc.

    Our church commemorated him at the synod held at Kolozsvár and   Déva. Representatives of all the other denominations of the country and also Unitarians from abroad participated. The church memorialized this celebration with a facsimile edition of Dávid Ferenc's book, Short Explanation, and publication of the book, Dávid Ferenc, written by Kis Ernö. Each minister wrote the history of their own congregation. Finally a commemorative plaque was placed in the fortress at Déva with the inscription: "In the dungeon of the Déva fortress Dávid Ferenc, the founder and bishop of the Unitarian Church was condemned to life imprisonment because of his religious conviction and passed away in 1579. Placed in 1910 with reverence on the 400th anniversary of his birth by his spiritual successor, the Unitarian Church."

    The synod at Kolozsvár and Déva saw that full justice was done the memory of Dávid Ferenc.

    "The Unitarian Christian Popular Calendar" appeared. It was edited and published by the ministers from Székelyudvarhely church district. In 1927 the Dávid Ferenc Society took charge if its printing, since 1950 the denomination publishes it.

    Appearance of the monthly "Church Society".  Its goal was the development of church-society. Its editors were Gvidó Béla, Nagy Béla  and Ütö Lajos ministers from the church district of Küköllö.

    Retirement of Péterfi Dénes (1851-1925). He graduated from theological studies at Manchester New College. he became a minister of Kolozsvár and professor of the college and editor of the Keresztény Magvetö. He was a theologian and orator of the Unitarian faith. His works like Unitarian Christianity, At the Table of Jesus and his essays published in the Keresztény Magvetö were outstanding contributions to our theological literature.

1915.    Establishment of the Unitarian Theological Seminary.

        The General Assembly to promote ministerial training transformed the "Institute for training ministers" into a seminary. The new organization and educational status of ministerial training functioned with few modifications until 1948.

1919.  October 2.    The "Unitarian Home of Girls" started in the new building of the college. After 1928 it was moved to its final place, into the old college building.

1920. August 28.   Establishment of the "Unitarian Literary Society".  Its goal was to present

Unitarian history and its theological principles, laying down its most important events and promoting Unitarian education. In 1921 it took charge of the edition of the Keresztény Magvetö. The president of the Literary Society was Bishop Ferencz József.

1921.    Tóth György's (1870-1942) edition of Organization of the Unitarian Church was

published in the series of Collection of the Laws of the Unitarian Church. Tóth György was the cultivator of Unitarian ecclesiastical law, making a great contribution by codifying and explaining church laws.

1922.    The church district of Aranyostorda elected Bors Mihály councilor. This patron

of the church from Szind was elected superintendent. His testimony demonstrates his devotion by giving the Unitarian church all his property.

1924.    Publication of the new hymnbook.  The hymnbook was edited by Professor

Pálfi Márton with the collaboration of Vári Albert, Régeni Áron, Sándor János and Pap Domokos. Our hymnbook is still in use today, its 14th edition was printed in 1994.

1928. February 19.     Death of bishop Ferencz József.  The 52 years of his bishopric

was a time of development and a flourishing of our church. In the renewal of the church, its organizational growth, in presenting our theological principles and in literary development. In all of this is service had been priceless. His biography was written by Gál Kelemen, The life and Time of Kilyéni Ferencz József Unitarian Bishop, published in 1936.

1928 May 19-20.    The synod held at Torda elected Boros György (1855-1941), professor

of the theology and general notary, as bishop. His life and service are inseparable from ministerial training, with development of the Unitarian Theological Seminary, with the extension of the foreign relationships. His ecclesiastical social work had been manifesting within the Dávid Ferenc Society, whose general secretary and then vice-president he had been. He also edited the Unitárius Közlöny. He had a priceless church literary activity, publishing many essays in the Unitarian journals. After 60 year of service he retired.

1928. July 10-15.    The first conference of Unitarian Youth at Székelykeresztúr. The president of the conference was Szent-Iványi Sándor, minister of Kolozsvár.

1928. November 18-19.   The General Assembly elected Borbély István (1886-1932) as

professor of the Unitarian Theological Seminary to the chair of systematical theology. He had been a professor and director of the college, he also was one of the founders and general secretary of the Unitarian Literary Society, the editor of the Keresztény Magvetö. His academical activity from both the viewpoint of number of his publications and their quality made him an outstanding Unitarian writer of our century. Among his theological writings the best ones are Dual Existentialist Philosophy and its Theology (1928), The History of Establishing the Modern Unitarian Theological Principles (1925) and Basic Notions of Unitarian Christian Faith, lithographic edition (1930).

1930. April 6.  Balázs Ferenc (1900-1937) began his ministry in the congregation of

Mészkö (the Alabaster Village). After graduation from the Unitarian Theological Seminary, he studied abroad between 1923 and 1928 at Manchester New College, in the Theological Institute of the English Unitarian Church at Oxford, and in the Unitarian Seminary of American Unitarians at Berkeley, completing the academic degree of master of philosophy. After this he started a journey around the world in order to get to know the religious, social and political institutions of different peoples. He got home after five year of travel in 1928. In his book I go about the world published in 1929 he described his journey and experience. Balázs Ferenc was a Unitarian minister and writer who sought to lift his people and the villages throughout his lifetime. The spiritual travelogue of his struggle was described in the  Plain Gospel and in Under the Clod. There hadn't been any Unitarian minister in this century who could have awakened interest and love or criticism on such a grand scale as Balázs Ferenc.

1932.    Establishment of the journal, Unitárius Evangélium, edited by Dr.Kiss Elek,

professor of theology. Its goal was preaching the gospel of Jesus, serving professional Unitarian life and building the kingdom of God.

1938. January 16-17.  The General Assembly elected Varga Béla, professor and general

notary, as bishop. After finishing his studies abroad, he became the professor of the college in 1911. In 1923 the General Assembly offered him a full professoral chair of philosophy and pedagogy at the Unitarian Theological Seminary. On November 7th, 1940 because of ill-health, he resigned from the office of bishop. During his short bishoptric he had been struggling to put an end to the internal discordance and restore the unity of the church. In his ecclesiastical service he tried to elevate the training of ministers and deepen religious life. As a philosopher and theologian his activity constitutes priceless values.

1939.    Establishing the journal of Unitárius Jövendö (Unitarian Future), edited by Kovács Lajos, minister from Brassó. Its goal was serving church society and the religious life.

1941. June 29.    The synodal General Assembly at Marosvásárhely elected  Józan Miklós (1869-1946), dean-vicar, as bishop.

1943.    Dávid Ferenc's book De dualitate was published in Hungarian (Dissertation about Dual Divinity). The translation is the work of Márkos Albert, college professor.

1945.  February 10.   Death of Dr.Gál Kelemen (1869-1945).  He had been a professor

of the college for 35 years and its president for 25 years. He served with devotion indifferent high church positions. Beside his professoral and college duties, he had been dedicating all his spare time to researching the past of the church. His lifework is History of the Unitarian College at Kolozsvár in two volumes, published in 1935. He wrote the biographies of Ferencz József, Jakab Elek and K.Nagy Elek. This last work has remaind in manuscript.

1946. February 7-10.     The Conference at Kolozsvár.

    The Church Representative Consistory met with the representatives of the church-districts and institutions at a conference to discuss the situation and tasks of the church. Considering the formation of a new social order, the conference created the work-program of the church to serve God and humanity, based on the Gospel.

1946. September 15.    The synod at Székelykeresztúr elected Dr.Kiss Elek, theological professor and general notary, as bishop.

1948. August 4.    Institution of the new cult law which, according to the social development

of  the country, placed the relationship between the church and the state on a new foundation and also regulated the function of the church.  Establishing the University degree Universal Protestant Theological Institute.  According to paragpaph 49 of the cult law, as respecting the traditions of theological education, in 1948 the four protestant churches  (ágostai evangélikus, zsinatprezsbiteri evangélikus, református, unitárius) organized a common theological institute which started its program on January 1. 1949. In this institution their ministers have been training in the spirit of mutual respect for each others' religious particularities and in a fraternal collaboration.

October 24. The General Assembly accepted the revised Organizational Statutes which were ratified by the presidency of the National Assembly on June 1. 1948. The statute was published in 1949.

1954.    The anniversary of Dávid Ferenc's death.

1959. January 1.    Establishment of the Pension and Relief Fund of the church. This institution cares for its employees so that they can be legal recipients of social insurance and can receive pensions after retirement.

1960. November 27.   The General Assembly elected Kelemen Lajos (1877-1963),

councilor of the church and retired general director of the archives, as general superintendent. He was a historian who had been sharing his enormous knowledge with others. His works relating the Unitarians constitutes an indispensable source of our history. For his scientific activity he was awarded with a first grade order of the Rumanian People's Republic. At his 80th birthday his admirerers published a memorial volume. As a college professor, a church superintendent and while serving in other church offices he proved great fidelity to the cause of the church.

1965. August 21.    The Constitution of the Rumanian Socialist Republic.    The 30th paragraph

of the Constitution was accepted by the National Assembly and assured freedom of conscience and free practice of religion to every citizen. 

1968.  August 17-19.     The synodal General Assembly, held at Kolozsvár, Torda and Déva,

celebrated the 400th anniversary of the foundation of the Unitarian Church.  At the celebration the authorities of the state, the religious denominations of the country, the IARF and representatives of the foreign Unitarian churches participated.  To honor the anniversary, the congregations made major restorations and repairs on their churches and church buildings. In order to make the congregations awake of the importance of this event, Bishop Kiss Elek visited a majority of the churches.    In memory of the anniversary the church published a memorial volume, entitled Four Hundred Years, 1568-1968.

1971.  December 7.    Death of bishop Kiss Elek.

    After finishing his studies at home and abroad, he became a minister at Kissolymos between 1915 and 1921. From 1921 until 1946 he was a full professor of Old Testament at the Unitarian Theological Seminary. In 1938 the General Assembly elected him general notary. He held different church functions, for several years, he had been co-editor of the journals Unitárius Egyház (Unitarian Church), Unitárius Közlöny and Keresztény Magvetö. He enriched our theological literature with many pedagogical and theological writings of great value. Among these the most important are:  The relation between rational and moral education  (1916-1917), The way of God's Law  (1924), The evolution of the world in the view of atoms   (1946).   As an appreciation of his theological activity he was awarded the title of  "doctor honoris causa" by both the Protestant Theological Seminary at Kolozsvár and Meadville Lombard Unitarian Theological Seminary (Chicago) in 1968.  He was struggling throughout all his work to serve his church, his country and humankind in a missionary way, having universal values in view.

1972. March 19.   The synodal General Assembly held at Székelyudvarhely elected Dr. Kovács Lajos (1909-1994), theological professor and general notary, as bishop.

1974.  May 16-19.   The Executive Committee of the IARF held its annual meeting in the center of our church at Kolozsvár.

1975.  August 21.     The IARF Congress at Montreal unanimously elected Bishop Kovács Lajos as its president. This was the first occasion when a representative of our church received the chair of presidency.

1977. July 21-24.   IARF organized a theological conference at Kolozsvár. Its subject was The limits of patience today.  The papers constituted a theological preparation for the congress in Oxford next year.

1979. August 11-12.   The 400th anniversary of Dávid Ferenc's death.

        The synodal General Assembly at Kolozsvár organized the "Dávid Ferenc Symposium" and in a festive way remembered the anniversary of the church founder. At the symposium speakers from the country and from abroad evaluated the importance of Dávid Ferenc. Within the General Assembly  Dr.Kovács Lajos bishop, presented the life and activity of this great reformer.  At the celebration the other denominations of the country and the representatives of the foreign Unitarian churches were present.  The celebration of the synodal General Assembly ended at Déva with wreath being placed on Dávid Ferenc's memorial tablet.  In honor of the anniversary the Keresztény Magvetö published a jubilee "Dávid Ferenc" number.

1989. December    The collapse of the Communist Regime in Rumania.

                                The possibility of new life of the churches.

                       Establishing the Partner Church Relationships between Unitarian churches from  Tranylvania and   Unitarian churches from USA and England.

1994.  October  2.   The death of bishop Dr. Kovács Lajos.

1994.  December     The synodal General Assembly held at Kolozsvár elected Dr. Erdö János, general notary, as bishop.

1996. July   Death of Bishop Dr. Erdö János.

1996.   The synodal General Assembly elected Dr. Szabó Árpád, general notary, as bishop.

 

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