A Community Beyond Borders

2013. július 05., péntek

The community of Hungarian-speaking Reformed churches from across the Carpathian Basin gathered in Debrecen on 28 June for the Common Synod of the Hungarian Reformed Church (HRC) with a special emphasis on the 450th anniversary of the Heidelberg Catechism.

This is the HRC's first Common Synod session since the church's constituting Synod on 22 May 2009. In addition to the member churches, several guests from abroad came to share in the special meeting, including delegates from Poland, Lithuania as well as Rev. Dr. Guy Liagre, general secretary of the Conference of European Churches, and Rev. Jan-Gerd Heetderks, president of the World Communion of Reformed Churches Europe.

The main emphasis of the Synod was celebrating the 450th anniversary of the Heidelberg Catechism, one of the two principle confessions for the Hungarian Reformed churches. The preamble of the HRC's constitution depicts the importance of the Catechism: "Historical Reformed communities in the Carpathian Basin have retained their theological unity and their unity in Faith based upon the Word of God, ancient creeds and confessions, the Heidelberg Catechism and the Second Helvetic Confession."

Declaration of the Common Synod of the Hungarian Reformed Church


We Hungarian Reformed people, in the community of our Common Synod, give thanks to God for our confession, the 450-year-old Heidelberg Catechism, in confirming the alliance with God and with one another. We received the new revised Hungarian text of the Catechism with this in mind. The Heidelberg Catechism is a confessional writing, which with the limitedness of human expression formulates our faith in God and gives account of Christian life. It does this in a form which has affected many different cultures in the same way: gathering together and preserving.


We are of Christ who comforts, guides and maintains His people. The Heidelberg Catechism is  still today – a valid and clear expression of this joyful certitude and steadfast faith, reminding us at the same time that the Hungarian Reformed people belong inseparably to a community of values beyond borders and continents. There is no language, cultural or historical barrier that can break our Christian fraternity, which is expressed in this confession. The Heidelberg Catechism reveals in each language and in each age the same: salvation by and reality of Christ in man’s life and His sanctifying presence in the church. The fact that the Heidelberg Catechism has been published in the languages of the people in the Carpathian Basin is a message: in the reconciliation of nations, we are sisters and brothers belonging to the God of salvation.


Soli Deo Gloria!    

With this in mind, the Synod voted to accept a new Hungarian translation of the Heidelberg Catechism, which is a modern language adaptation of the historic confessional text. There have been several translations done before, and these different versions were being used throughout the Carpathian Basin, but the mutual adoption of the newly released translation by the HRC's member churches is the first step to preparing a common liturgy for the Carpathian Basin.

The Synod voted to accept the accession of the Reformed Christian Church in Croatia into the HRC as well as the subsequent constitutional modifications necessary for the membership. Furthermore, other changes to the constitution were presented and approved as a means of clarifying and further defining the text.

With this addition, the total number of member churches in the HRC stands at seven. Member churches retain individual autonomy but rejoice in their shared fraternal history and culture.

“Human relationships work only if we preserve and strengthen their uniting bonds. Our Church can gradually gather strength and empower us providing we together work for unity.”


Amy Lester

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Reformed Church in Hungary

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We encourage you to read our  former GM intern Kearstin Bailey's blog about her time, spent in Hungary.