Our Partner Church – Erdőszentgyörgy, Transylvania
There is an interesting history of Erdőszentgyörgy at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S%C3%A2ngeorgiu_de_P%C4%83dure
Our Partner Church History
By Rev. Erika Demeter
The first written date from Erdőszentgyörgy is from 1567. It was a Romano Catholic settlement, but a few years after the beginning of the reformation, it became Unitarian. The whole community was Unitarian until 1640 when the Unitarian minister died. A Reform minister from the nearest big town, Marosvasarhely, heard the church was without a minister and went
to Erdőszentgyörgy to preach. The Unitarian leaders didn’t give him the keys to the church. They didn’t want to let him preach. The minister took a ladder and climbed in the window, opened the church door from inside and some people entered to listen to him. Slowly, slowly they became Calvinists and they still are. It was easy at that time to take churches and members from us because the Calvinist ruler Bathory eliminated with military force most Unitarian churches and congregations. They took from the Unitarians the keys of the churches and arrested the Unitarian ministers.
In 1889 the Unitarian minister from Csokfalva sought the Unitarians from Erdoszentgyorgy. There were 43 and they started to worship every second month in somebody’s house.
In 1890 they bought a building site because they wanted to build a church. The lay president lost the land registration paper, and they lost the site.
In 1895 they got as a donation a building site and they began to collect materials and financial funds for building a church. When they had almost everything to start the work the First World War began. They lost the materials and because of the financial crisis they lost the financial funds, too. After the War they belonged to the Csokfalva Unitarian church.
In 1990 the Unitarians from Erdoszentgyorgy put together their money and they bought a house of prayer. They renovated it and then they had two services a month.
In the same year, not far from Erdoszentgyorgy a village named Bozodujfalu was inundated by the state (the state made a big dam to generate electricity). People from this village were relocated to different places, but most of them moved to Erdoszentgyorgy. Because there was a Unitarian church in this inundated village, the State promised to the Unitarian Bishop’s Office that they would built another church, but not where the Unitarians wanted to build it. The Bishop’s office answered to the state that Erdoszentgyorgy would be the best place to build the new church.
In 1994 the Unitarians got a building site from the major office to build a church there. A long process of 10 years of hard work began. [Jean Wilcox put on a dramatic performance atMt. Diablo UU Church to help raise funds for the church.] The church building was finished in 2004, and in that same year the church was dedicated.
Our Partner Church Minister
Our Partner Church minister is Rev. Lóránt Tokés who became minister in Erdoszentgyorgy in August 2013. Lóránt and his wife Csilla have two boys, Elod who is two, and Apor, born in September, 2013. Our previous partner church minister, Erika Demeter now is co-minister with her husband in the large Unitarian church in Korond.
There are about 64,000 Unitarians in Transylvania, now a part of Romania. Their ancestors have been Unitarians for over 440 years. They are ethnic Hungarians, and liberal Christians. There are no crosses on their Unitarian church steeples. Egy az isten, (“God is One”) is written in all their churches. “We follow Jesus,” they say. “We do not worship him.” About half of the Unitarians in Transylvania live in small villages, the rest in cities and towns.
Would you like to be part of a team fostering our church’s relations with Unitarianism in Transylvania? If so, please contact Arliss Ungar.