Moderator joins Hungarian Reformation celebrations

30.1.2017 | Moderator, Reformation 500, Commemorations

The Moderator, Rt. Rev. Dr. Frank Sellar, is in Hungary this week to meet with leaders of the Hungarian Reformed Church (HRC) as it celebrates the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in the Reformed Great Church in the city of Debrecen.

Accompanied by former Moderator, Very Rev. Dr. Ivan Patterson, both ministers will travel to Debrecen, a designated ‘Reformation City’ in the north-east of the country.

“This week I am looking forward to two special events that celebrate the Reformation, our own ‘Luther 500’ conference in Belfast on Thursday and the 500th anniversary celebrations in the Great Reformed Church in Debrecen, where I will bring the greetings of the General Assembly,” Dr. Sellar said.

“The city is Hungary’s second largest and has rich connections with the Reformation from its earliest years. The ideas of Martin Luther and the influence of the Swiss Reformation lead the city to become known as the ‘Hungarian Geneva’ and ‘The Calvinist Rome’.

“Through Ivan and others, PCI has established a strong partnership with the Hungarian Reformed Church. I am looking forward to joining with them and representatives from other European reformed churches as well as some from further afield, in celebrating the continuing legacy of the Reformation,” he said.

Known in Hungary as Magyar Református Egyház, HRC incorporates Hungarian Reformed congregations in and outside Hungary, in particular Romania, Ukraine, Serbia, Slovenia, Slovakia and Croatia.

Dr. Patterson’s relationship with the Reformed Church in eastern Europe goes back to 1994. As the minister of Newcastle Presbyterian Church at the time, the congregation established links with a Hungarian-speaking HRC church in Romania.

“The Hungarian Reformed Church is made up of many Reformed congregations in Hungary and areas that were formerly part of the country prior to the First World War,” Dr. Patterson said.

“HRC Presiding President, Bishop István Szabó, was our guest at the General Assembly three years ago, so I am looking forward to meeting him again as well as joining with our brothers and sisters in celebrating this 500th anniversary and the ongoing development of our relationship with the Reformed Church.”

PCI began to develop its relationships with HRC in the mid 1980s and by 1988 a number of direct congregation-to-congregation links had been established. In more recent years other links have been established and personnel have been sent to serve with the Church in a number of locations and countries.

Based in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, for example, PCI overseas mission personnel Csaba and Ilona Veres serve in areas of youth and children's ministry that come under the influence of HRC, PCI’s partner church in Romania.

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