Rather East

Királyhágómellék Reformed Church District (in present-day Romania) is quite close to the geometric centre of historical (pre-1920) Hungary. Nevertheless, as a consequence of the drastic reduction of Hungary’s borders by the Treaty of Trianon, we can no longer really say that we belong to the eastern section of Central Europe. Instead, what we can call our home these days is Eastern Europe. We joke with an ironic tone that we are the western section of this eastern region.

I openly grieve the fact that our historical status as Central Europeans has deteriorated into a status of Eastern European Balkanism. The land of Bocskai, Bethlen and the Rákóczis has been infiltrated with loose morals. Promises are broken, penitence is nowhere to be found, the other’s property is not respected at all, values are not lived by. Several principles that support society and individual relationships have disappeared without a trace. We as tolerant Protestants find the behaviour of the Orthodox church rather discordant, when it fails to reach even the level of acceptance (not being present at the Ecumenical Week of Prayer, re-christening, the requirements of mixed marriage etc.). It is difficult to comprehend how the Orthodox church can continue using the real estate that was acquired by dishonest means, how they can falsify history to their advantage, while more and more people speak out against such practices.

For us in the eastern part of Europe it feels good to look in the direction of Western civilisation. We perceive the growing success of Hungary with great pride in our hearts and souls. We are grateful for the share of this success that reaches us. This share could hardly have come at a better time, there is still a lot that can be salvaged or reversed. I would not have written down the introductory lines of this text if I did not believe that there were things to be achieved in this respect. A handful of people have already spoken up who wish, or rather want to have a more humane world in our country as well. They have appeared, and there need to be more of us who also realise how to achieve that more humane world. We teach and continue to learn how to spread the word of God, Who never ceases to create a more humane world, Whose word we follow to extend our mission in all directions.

To be at the western section of Eastern Europe means having the chance to become part of Central Europe. To increase the chances of that happening, we need to multiply our forces many times over. The European Union projects are promising. If we can raise the required own funds, several of our dreams could come true. At present we do not have funds of our own, and neither do we have connections with solid capital that would enable us to implement projects of this kind. We are in need of help, because we would like to assist our congregations in their service, the diaspora, mainly in the areas of education, family and health care. Europe will not achieve its aim to preserve values by filling up the glass cases of museums, but by protecting those who create values.

We truly hope that neither Hungary nor Europe will fail to notice that the border of the Hungarian language is getting closer and closer to the present borders of Hungary. In this respect, not only the areas of southern Transylvania, Bánság and Máramaros are in danger, but also the bigger cities. Székely Land and Érmellék are still holding out. Transylvania, which used to be the treasure chamber of Europe, is slowly but steadily turning into everybody’s dumping site. What our ancestors used to be proud of now seem to be mere legends. The Nagyvárad that developed into a truly European city at the end of the 19th century has deteriorated to a Balkanic level by the beginning of the 21st century. We are unable to preserve what has been constructed by our forefathers, even at the level of basic maintenance. No values are being created, even the preservation of values is a struggle at the moment.

We hope that from the direction of Europe, through Hungary, Partium and Transylvania will once more turn into a flourishing region of our old continent. We hope that we’ll see the birth of the successors of Misztótfalusi, Károly, Kölcsey, Kazinczy, Pázmány, Brassai, Apáczai (and the list could go on).

We hope that Europe will protect us, just like we protected Europe for several centuries.

István Csűry
Bishop of the Királyhágómellék Reformed Church District