The Protestant, Evangelic-Lutheran, and Unitarian Churches are looking forward to a rich year: for the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, interested people can join both united and individual programmes.
In all of Transylvania, hundreds of events are planned for the 2017 Memorial Year of the 500th anniversary of Reformation. The Transylvanian Protestant Parish’s Councilman, Zoltán Ferenc Ballai told the Chronicle: all ten of the Carpathian Basin’s Protestant parishes, including the two in Romania, are preparing for both individual and united programmes, memorial events. Some of these are interconnected, but they also made sure not to organise more than one event at the same time, and to encourage taking part in as many events as possible.
The Transylvanian Protestant Parish will present the opening ceremony of the Memorial Year on the 14th of January as part of the ‘Let the Flame Burn’ Christian music festival in the Palace of Culture, Marosvásárhely. The celebratory assembly, the jubilee pastor consecration due in the summer, and the ceremonial reinforcement of the pastoral oaths are featured events, and in September, the renovated Protestant Theological Institute and the modernised buildings of five more educational institutions are going to be inaugurated in Kolozsvár. In the ‘treasure city’, during the Memorial Year, the statue of bishop Domokos Szász will be inaugurated, while a Reformation-themed exhibition will open in the Transylvanian Protestant Museum at Bocskai Square. Also, the Romanian Evangelic-Lutheran Church and the two Romanian Protestant Parishes, Erdély and Királymellék, will join together in a celebratory synod; the date of the event is being decided.
A support tender is announced
Zoltán Ferenc Ballai also told our magazine that education institutions, colleges, and individual pastors are preparing for the Memorial Year not only together, but individually, as well. The Parish is trying to help, therefore they announced a tender for EUR 50 thousand to support the events held by smaller congregations and schools. “We are always brainstorming, there will certainly be contests about the topic of Reformation, and concert and exhibition series’, and pilgrimages. We would also like to reinforce the relationships between the sister congregations”, explained the Councilman.
They plan to advertise the 95 Theses of Martin Luther in all Romania in two languages, supported by the Word of the Bible. Zoltán Ferenc Ballai also shared that inspired by the Hungarian Forest Law of 1896, they will plant 500, 50, or at least 5 fruit or other trees in every community, based on their resources, and this would also realise the forestation of the Congregations’ lands.
The Partium is also looking forward to a rich year: all nine dioceses of the Királyhágómellék Protestant Parish are planning individual memorial events. They are mostly honouring historical personalities that had to do with Reformation: for example, at Nagykároly, Bible translator Gáspár Károli, at Erdőd, the nobleman who first accepted and supported Reformation, Gáspár Drágffy will be remembered, and a Memorial Week for poet Ferenc Kölcsey will also be organised, as Bishop István Csűry told us.
The day of Hungarian Protestant Unity will also be a featured day, celebrated at Nagyvárad in 2017. As Mr Csűry reminded us: since 2009, the event is organised on the closest Sunday to 20 May every year, and the day before, on Saturday, the Unity festival is held. This time, the two-day event, for which more than ten thousand participants are expected from the entire Carpathian Basin, will be held in Nagyvárad’s renovated castle. “Nagyvárad is, geographically speaking, the geometric centre of the Carpathian basin, it can be reached from anywhere in the same time, and it was always a strategically important Hungarian city”, explained the Bishop of the Királyhágómellék Protestant Parish.
Remembering the past, thinking about the future
István Csűry emphasised: they are not denying their Roman Catholic heritage, they believe in the universal Holy Mother the Church, that’s why the main idea of their events is ‘Keep the Fort’. They say this to relate to the past, the heritage of Saint Stephen and Saint László, and the events 500 years ago, but also to draw attention to the fact that we are also responsible for the future.
The bishop also added: In the Szatmár area, four medieval churches have recently been restored, and they are continuing the project towards Nagyvárad, therefore the monument restorations will be part of the Memorial Year. He added that the Memorial Year will end on the 31st of October in Budapest, but all 300 congregations of the Parish will organise their own celebrations.
The Romanian Evangelical-Lutheran Church will also organise presentations, symposiums and youth events as part of the Memorial Year, episcopal secretary Oliver Fejér told the Chronicle. The individual congregations are also going to host a rich variety of events. The yearly assemblies are organised around the topic of the 500th anniversary, and the three dioceses organise a multi-day meeting around Brassó together. The topic of the Summer National Youth Camp will be Reformation, and they will discuss it in a relaxed atmosphere.
Oliver Fejér pointed out: for this year, a liturgical reform is planned, and the songbook will be renewed by the end of the year. In the pre-Christmas, Advent period, a closing ceremony with the North German, Danish, Slovakian, and Hungarian sister churches will be held.
Author: Blanka Bíró