The History of Reformation in Hungary

2018. november 12., hétfő

Nicholas T. Parsons provides a comprehensive and detailed account of the history of the Reformation in Hungary. He reflects on the exhibition, “Grammar and Grace,” that was temporarily held in the Hungarian National Museum in celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017.

The first wave of Reformation in Hungary followed just a few years later after Luther’s pinning of his 95 theses to the door of the Wittenberg Church in 1517. Reformation naturally arrived first in the German communities of Hungary, and from there it spread through the mining towns, upper Hungary, and to Transylvania.

Nicholas T. Parsons shares an article reflecting on the temporary exhibition, Grammar and Grace, of the Hungarian National Museum in celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation just last year. He follows the path to Hungary, starting from the origins, “Reformation sprang from two intellectual and spiritual streams […] Renaissance humanism informed by a degree of skepticism and pragmatism, [And] there had been a stream of apocalyptic reformism within Christianity.”

Following the pinning of Luther’s 95 theses, ideas of Reformation spread through German communities. From the German-speaking communities living in Buda, it spread through the mining towns, to upper Hungary, Slovakia, and to the Saxon population of Transylvania. Parsons states, “The reason why the Reformation discourse found such a ready hearing in Hungary lies, however, as much in geopolitical and local political factors as it does in an altered state of mind stemming from propagation and polemic.” During the battle against the Ottomans in 1526, Hungarian nobility, as well as most of the great lords of the Church lost their lives. The lack of spiritual and administrative powers left a hole in the lives of the people which was quickly filled with the new teachings.

The development and success of Protestant beliefs in Hungary was due to the lack of political intervention, unlike most other European countries. Although they had their Catholic and Protestant populations, the Transylvanian princes also had people who had fled from Western Europe after persecution and embraced creeds such as Anabaptism and Unitarianism. Derived from the ideas of the Reformation, the Edict of Torda (1568) accepted the existence of other denominations.

Under the power of the Catholic leaders, Protestants in Hungary endured years of hiding their Calvinist or Lutheran beliefs until the Edict of Tolerance, issued by Emperor Joseph II in 1782, laid the foundation for the more pluralistic approach to religious conviction of the Enlightenment.

Read the full article written by Nicholas T. Parsons for a comprehensive account of the history of Reformation in Hungary.


Priscilla Yang


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Our church through American eyes

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