14 September 2003

The Hungarian Reformed

Here in North America we know little about the Reformed Church in Hungary. Although the Roman Catholic Church is the largest of the ecclesial bodies in that country, the Reformed have a substantial presence. The number of Hungarian Reformed Christians, including those in the diaspora, is some 3 1/2 million. In east central Europe they live primarily in five countries: Hungary itself, Romania, Slovakia, Serbia and western Ukraine.

The Reformed Church in Hungary adheres to two confessions, the Second Helvetic Confession and the Heidelberg Catechism. The church is distinctive in that it is the only one of the Reformed churches to have bishops, who are nevertheless little more than district superintendents. Its members sing from the Genevan Psalter, as translated by Albert Szenczi Molnár in the 16th century.

Throughout the centuries there were close relationships between the Hungarian Reformed and the Dutch Reformed. These were lost during the four decades of communist rule in Hungary, but they are being re-established in the years since 1989. The Christian Reformed Church conducts its own Hungarian Ministries in an effort to assist the witness of its sister church in that part of the world.

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