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Major dates from the history of the Transylvanian Unitarian Church  (page 2)

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1579. June 1-2. The sentence of the Diet at Gyulafehérvár in Dávid Ferenc's trial.

    Learning from the failure of the Diet at Torda, the trial was prepared by the advisor of the Prince, the Jesuit Leleszi János. Accordingly this diet charged Dávid Ferenc with violation of the Innovation Law. Ill and detained under house-arrest, Dávid Ferenc was brought to Gyulafehérvár. His defenders were Trauzner Lukács, Ovári Benedek and Sztárai Mihály.

    Before the Diet Dávid Ferenc explained again that hi is not an innovator, he had always been teaching Jesus' humanity and the Bible which orders the worship of God and not the worship and appeal of Jesus.

    The group of Blandrata György and Hunyadi Demeter and the influential majority of the Diet declared Dávid Ferenc's teaching an innovation. Based on this, the Prince sentenced Dávid Ferenc as a religious reformer to life imprisonment in the fortress of Déva.

    The sentence of Dávid Ferenc constitutes the first victory of the counter-reformation.

1579. July 2. The (Unitarian) synod at Kolozsvár and its resolutions.

    This synod under the pressure of Blandrata György and Hunyadi Demeter accepted a creed consisting of 4 points: Jesus divinity, worship and appeal to Jesus and Christ's kingdom. As leadership of the Church, near the bishop. the synod organized a Consistorium of  24 members and to the chair of the (Unitarian) bishop, fallen vacant due to Dávid Ferenc's imprisonment, it nominated the orator Hunyadi Demeter. He was confirmed by the Prince Báthori Kristóf.

    Dávid Ferenc's type of Unitarianism didn't came to an end. Though the absolutism of the Prince and  the counter-reformation deprived it of its development, many of the ministers and followers remained loyal to it. In those writings which escaped censorship they kept alive Dávid Ferenc's teachings.

1579. October 20. The arrival of the Jesuits in Transylvania.

    The Diet of Torda at the request of the Prince gave permission to the Jesuits to come into the country and to set up schools at Monostor and later in Kolozsvár and Gyulafehérvár. With this, the activity of the counter-reformation started.

1579. November.  Karádi Pál, Unitarian minister from Temesvár wrote a letter to the

ministers of Kolozsvár about his commitment to Dávid Ferenc's teachings. He also marked Blandrata György, Hunyadi Demeter and his party who promoted Dávid Ferenc's condemnation as traitors. He separated from the Transylvanian Church, along with the lowland and Banat congregations. The bishop of the detached congregations became Karádi Pál.

November. Death of Dávid Ferenc

    In the notice of Bogáti Fazekas Miklós, Dávid Ferenc died on November the 7th, or by tradition on November the 15th. The circumstances of is death and his grave are unknown.

    Prison didn't break Dávid Ferenc's spirit. This is indicated by his testimony carved on the wall of his prison cell: "Neither the sword of popes, nor the cross, nor the image of death - nothing will halt the march of truth. I wrote what I felt and that is what I preached with trusting spirit. I am convinced that after my destruction the teachings of the false prophets will collapse."

1580.  The publication of his document of defense, the Defensio Francisci Davidis.

   Dávid Ferenc's sentence and death provoked a desperate disputation both in the country and abroad. Through this process his writings were published in Frankfurt and edited by Paleologus Jakab, Glirius-Vehe-Mátyás and Hertel Dávid serving with success in the defense of the Unitarian reformer and justifying his cause. The great interest toward this book is indicated by it going through three editions during the 16th century, the fourth edition was published in 1983 by the "Biblioteca Unitariorum".

1582.     Around the year Bogáti Fazekas Miklós (1548-1592) made his famous Psalms

translation. For the first time he rendered the whole book of the Psalms into Hungarian verses. However much he tried to be faithful to the original text, he still interwove his translations with some timely social references.

1592.     After Hunyadi Demeter's death, the synod elected the college professor and president, Enyedi György, as Unitarian Bishop.

1597.  Death of Enyedi György.

    He was the professor of Óvár College, theologian, writer and famous orator. He is the founder of scientific explanations of Unitarian articles of faith. His oeuvre was the Explicationes edited and published by Toroczkai Máté in 1598.  Enyedi György in this book demonstrated that the dogma of the trinity could not be proved or deduced from the Bible. As a consequence of the great interest of this book it was reprinted in Groningen (Holland).

    Enyedi György's work provoked wide debate both from the Catholic and Protestant sides.

1600. October 25.- November 4.  At the Diet of Lécfalva the name (denomination) of

"Unitarian" (Unitaria) was used for the first time, expressing the basic theological principle of Unitarianism: God is one in essence and in person. From derives the name of "unity believer" also.

1601    Toroczkai Máté, orator of Kolozsvár was elected the next Unitarian Bishop.

1602-1615. The first known version (edition) of our hymnbook was published in

this period. During the bishopric of Toroczkai Máté the hymnbook ran into its fifth edition, the last one titled God glorifying, devotional and comforting songs was published in 1777. Unitarians had been using first the one of Bogáti Fazekas Miklós, later Tordai János's translations until 1665, when they accepted the renderings of Szenci Molnár Albert.

1618.     Csanádi Pál, the president of the college, held an open religious dispute with

Gelei Katona István, principal of the Reformat (Reformed, Swiss Reformed) school at Gyulafehérvár in the presence of the Prince Bethlen Gábor.

1618. November 11.  At the synod of Erdöszentgyörgy the Unitarian Church delimited itself

and condemned Sabbatarianism. This movement appeared at the end of the  16th century in Transylvania. According to tradition, its founder was Eössi András. Its spiritual source and seed-sower was Glirius-Vehe-Mátyás, its organizer and demonstrator of its ideas at the beginning of the 17th century was Péchi Simon.

    Sabbatarianism, by right of the Innovation Law, had been persecuted by the princes and its followers were punished.

1619     Enyedi György's work,the Explicationes, was translated into Hungarian by

Toroczkai Máté who partially edited it and gave the title: Explanations of the passages (parts) of the Old- and New-Testament from which usually is claimed the idea of the trinity.  It was published in 1619, its distribution became possible with the permission of the Prince Báthori István in 1620. This book proved to be efficient   in the defense of the Unitarian faith.

1626.  The publication of the Disciplina ecclesiastica.

        It contains the regulations of the Unitarian Church being elaborated and published by  Bishop Radeczki Bálint  (1616-1632). In 1694 Bishop Almási Gergely Mihály reprinted it in an enlarged form.

1638. July 1-7.  The Accord of Dés.

    The diet which was authorized to arrange religious problems required Unitarians to worship and appeal to Jesus, to baptize in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, to publish their religious books only with the censorship of the Prince. Anybody who violated this would be punished by the Prince and the diet. This consensus is known as "the accord".

    The intervention into the life of the Church by Prince Rákóczi György I and the Diet was aroused by the conflict of Rév Mátyás, a Saxon preacher at Kolozsvár with Beke Dániel, Unitarian Bishop, and Rév's accusation of innovation against the Unitarian Church.

    The consequences of the Accord of Dés were the oppression of Unitarians, confiscation of their churches by right of the majority and impeding of doctrinal clarification and publication of religious books until the end of the 18th century.

1660.     The year of mourning of Polish Unitarians.

    The Polish Diet encouraged by the counter-reformation declared that Unitarians either convert to Catholicism by July 10. 1660 or to leave the country. The majority chose conversion to Catholicism. Yet there were many who thought it better to leave their country than to give up their religion. They found refuge in Prussia, Switzerland,  the Netherlands and England. A larger group came to Transylvania, their majority settled in Kolozsvár, organizing an independent Polish Church. After their last minister's death, Szaknovics Ignác, they merged into the Hungarian Unitarian congregation. A smaller group settled at Bethlen, patroned by the Unitarian Bethlen Ferenc and they even organized a congregation which lasted until the middle of the 18th century.

    The admission and settling of the Polish Unitarians was arranged by Bishop Koncz Boldizsár.

1661.     Death of Árkosi Tegzö Benedek.

He was a professor of Óvár College, a recognized theologian in the 17th century. Because of censorship his theological works couldn't be published. The Church required ministers and professors to copy and study Árkosi Tegzö Benedek's prayers and theological writings.

1663. October  21.  The synod of Ádámos elected Koncz Boldizsár as bishop.

1669.    The first synod organized on a representative system for the Unitarian ecclesia

was held at Kissáros. Koncz Boldizsár had initiated this reform which only required a definite number of the representatives from every church district to participate.

1684.    Death of Bishop Koncz Boldizsár.

    He created a new life in the Church which had undergone the destruction's of  war and oppression. In order to make the Unitarian articles of faith known and in interest of apology he wrote a catechism, but because of censorship its publication only became possible in 1698. This catechism ran into its fifth edition, the last from 1854.

1692. February 26. Order by Bánffy György, governor, according to which all the

congregations of the Háromszék district which were brought under the supervision of the reformat (Swiss Reformed) bishop since 1622, be given back to the control of the Unitarian Bishop.

March 15. The proclamation of the Lipot's Diploma ( Diploma Leopoldinum).

    This Diploma affirmed the rights of the received religions (Lutheran, Reformed, Unitarian and Roman Catholics) and at the same time made possible for Catholics to expand at the expense of Protestants.

November 6. The synod from Szabéd elected Almási Gergely Mihály as bishop.

1693. The inspection of bishop  Almási Gergely Mihály in Háromszék church district.

    As a result of the inspection he ordered election of lay treasurers in every congregation to safeguard movable and real property.

    Almási Gergely Mihály introduced the practice of a collection box for the church offertory.

1693. October 10.  The confiscation of Óvár Collage.

    Referring to the Diploma of Lipót, Catholics asked for the   collage to be given back. The Unitarian Church, in the national interest, was obliged to agree to its surrender but with the condition of getting another convenient building and compensation from the state. In spite of the agreement, it got only one house. On October 10th Ovár College was forced to move into private houses bought by the Unitarian Church on the western side of the market.

1696. Setting up a Unitarian printing house in Kolozsvár.

    The printing house was purchased from public contributions and from a donation by Mrs.Kmita András (Wilhelm Krisztina). The first publications of the press were  the Catechism of Koncz Boldizsár and the Hymnbook.

    Unitarians used the printing house for 20 years when along with the Kolozsvár cathedral it became the property of the Catholic Church.

1697. May 6.  The majority of Kolozsvár along with the cathedral and the college were burnt

down. The rebuilding of the city was made possible with the help of Protestants from the Netherlands, the collection is the merit of Dimény Pál, college president.

1701.    Publication of P.Horváth Ferenc's book: Apologia fratrum Unitariorum.

    It is a precious work of Unitarian literature in the 18th century, serving the defense of Unitarianism.

1711. August 22. Donation of Tasiczki Ákos, Polish patron to help the polish congregations in Kolozsvár and in Bethlen.

1712.    The emperor Carol III. at the request of the Jesuits ordered all the buildings end

estates from every Protestant denomination which had been confiscated from the Catholics since the beginning of the Reformation to be returned, even with military force if needed.

1716. March 30.    The confiscation's of the counter-reformation in Kolozsvár.

    Steinville István, the military commander of Transylvania, occupied all the Unitarian churches of Kolozsvár, giving them  to the Catholic Church along with the property belonging to them, as well as the printing house.

    The Unitarians of Kolozsvár were forced to hold their worship services only in private houses and chapels for 80 years.

    Similar confiscation's were carried out in all over the country. All the protests and requests for the confiscated churches and printing house to be returned remained unsuccessful.

1718. April 2.     The confiscation of the college near the market.

    As a result of the decision of the emperor, the Unitarian Church was also forced to surrender the building of the new college to the Catholic Church. Lacking a building, teaching ceased and the students dispersed.

    After 1718 the oppression and persecution of Unitarians increased. Because of their religion they were excluded from state offices and every method was tried to make them become Catholics: with promises and threats.  Yet the counter-reformation didn't reach its ultimate purpose, the annihilation of the Unitarian Church. The oppression prompted Unitarians to even greater solidarity and generosity, taking such defensive measures which guaranteed the survival of their Church.

1718. April 8.     The conference of lay Unitarians in Kolozsvár.

    When the news spread of the occupation of the college and dispersion of the students, Unitarian members of the Diet meeting in Kolozsvár along with other lay leaders discussed the defense of the Church and saving of the College. In the given situation they took these measures:

    - The congregation of Kolozsvár ceased being the sole supporter of the college, this task was conveyed to the entire Unitarian Church.

    - In order to raise the necessary material support, the church members and congregations were called upon for donations.

    - In the interest of defending the Church, a post of general superintendent was organized under the bishop and superintendents were placed under the district deans. Biró Sámuel and Simon Mihály were elected the first general superintendents. As their deputies, prestigious church members were nominated: Sándor Gergely, Daniel Ferenc, Gidófalvi Gábor, Bongardus János and Teleki Ferenc. Under the district deans, 13 superintendents were nominated.

1718. May 10.     The roofless college found its home in the "Húszár house" of the

Church on the inner Magyar street where after a month of forced vacation the college could start its program again. The life and soul of the college was professor Szentábrahámi L. Mihály.

1723.     Separation of the finances of the congregation at Kolozsvár and from the Unitarian Church, raising permanent financial found.

1724.     Organization of the Representative Consistory at Kolozsvár.

    The synod of Árkos organized a Consistory responsible for Church business to be run by both clergy and lay persons. From this would later develop the present "Church Representative Consistory".

1724. March 23.  Death of the bishop Almási Gergely Mihály.

1729. January 15. Organization of the Supreme Council (General Assembly).

    The synod of Kissáros organized the Supreme Council (General Assembly) composed of laity and clergy, this being the supreme legislative body of the Church, substituting even the synod. From this evolved the present "Church General Assembly" (Supreme Council).

1737. August 24.  The synod of Kövend elected the president and general notary Szentábrahámi Lombard Mihály as bishop.

1747.      Election of Henter József general superintendent at the synod from Dicsöszentmárton.

    He was the first constitutionally elected general superintendent, before this, lay leaders had nominated the general superintendent from among themselves.

1758. March 31. Death of Szentábrahámi Lombárd Mihály.

    He had been serving the Church and the college in the cruel circumstances of recatholization of the 18th century. He promoted joining the lay elements in the organizational life of the Church. He also was the  enthusiastic worker defending and building the Unitarian Church. Education was his main concern, due to his generous activity the college did survive.

    His life-work was the Systema universae theologiae christianae.   His numerous works because of censorship have remained in manuscript except for the prayer book which was published in 1746. Usually he is mentioned as the second founder of the Church, who was "the eye, the heart and the mouth of Unitarians".

1763.    The synod of Kolozsvár declared that nobody had his or her own chair or seat  in the church; everybody should sit where they find room.

1767.    In this year Kénosi Tözsér János, minister at Bágyon started writing his work in Latin:                    The History of the Transylvanian Unitarian.

    After his death (1772) this work was rewritten and continued by Uzoni Fosztó István, minister at Bágyon. After his death in 1778 this work it was restarted by Kozma Mihály, minister at Szentgerice and his son Kozma János, minister at Csókfalva. After Kozma János's death (1840) the work was remained unfinished.

    This work, going under the name of Uzoni Fosztó István, is an indispensable source of Unitarian historiography.

1773. June 26.     Agh István, bishop and Kovács Tamás, general superintendent,

presented themselves in audience before crown-prince Joseph who came to Kolozsvár.   Bishop Agh István recounted the many insults that Unitarians have experienced without redressing a  grievance until then. Prince Joseph during the audience made the following declaration: "We say that nobody finds salvation outside of the faith of Rome, but it would not be wrong to allow the possibility for everybody to chose that particular way to heaven which he likes".

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