The General Convent of the Hungarian Reformed Church issued a public statement expressing serious concerns regarding the restitution of church property and the recent investigation in the case of the Wesselényi Reformed School, against the Bishops of the Reformed Church in Romania, i.e., Bishop István Csűry of the Church District Királyhágómellék (Oradea) and Bishop Béla Kató, head of the Transsylvanian Church Distirct (Cluj). The statement signed by Bishop Zoltán Balog, acting president of the General Convent, representing the Common Synod of the Hungarian speaking church in the Carpathian Basin, also questions the charges of “document forgery”, “bribery”, and “abuse of falsified documents” against the legally elected Church officials.
On behalf of the General Convent of the Hungarian Reformed Church, representing the Common Synod of the Reformed churches in Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Ukraine, Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia and in the diaspora, I make the following statement.
We recognize, that the return of church property that was illegally confiscated by the totalitarian communist dictatorship in Romania is not proceeding at the required pace. Thirty-one years after the fall of the infamous totalitarian regime in Romania, it is quite incomprehensible that Romania still maintains the deprivation of rights of minority churches, including the Reformed Church in Romania. Despite various restitution laws and countless deadlines for implementation, minority churches in Romania are still demanding thousands of their confiscated properties.
We emphasize, that church property restitution to minority churches in Romania is of vital importance, as churches need to undertake a special role and mission in the minority situation, namely to fulfil their traditional public service in education, culture and other social areas.
It is regrettable, that instead of the instant restitution of all confiscated church property in Romania, the newest development is that the Prosecutor’s Office in Zalău started an investigation in the case of the Wesselényi Reformed School, against the highest clergy of the Reformed Church in Romania, i.e., Bishop István Csűry and Bishop Béla Kató. We are astonished, that during the “own-initiative inquiries” to block church property restitution, the charges against the legally elected and consecrated Church officials of the hierarchy of the Reformed Church in Romania, were: “document forgery”, “bribery”, and “abuse of falsified documents”.
The General Convent urges the speeding up and completion of a legally binding and fair church property restitution process in Romania, on the principle of “restitutio in integrum”, so that the Reformed communities throughout Romania may regain their confiscated property.
As a sign of our solidarity we protest against the injuries of our sister church, the Reformed Church in Romania, including its both districts i.e., the Királyhágómellék Reformed Church District and the Transylvanian Reformed Church District. I issue this statement based on the mandate of the General Convent representing the Reformed Church Districts in the Carpathian Basin, i.e. the part churches of the Common Synod of the Hungarian Reformed Church.
We hope that legality will be restored.
Restitution in Transylvania Stopped
"It's about life and death," Béla Kató told me recently. The Transylvanian Reformed Bishop (Romania) made this statement in an interview to the Online journal Válasz speaking about the institutional development program (of the Hungarian government) that is essential for the preservation of Hungarian and Christian identity in Transylvania, but it can be applied to the restitution of church properties in Romania, as well.