Since the Reformation brought Calvinism to Hungary and the Thirty-Years War (1618–1648) established Debrecen as a fortress of the Reformed faith, Hungary’s second largest city has been known as “The Hungarian Geneva.”
Calvinism gave Debrecen its first printing house, established in 1561 to publish works that buttressed Reformation theology. And in 1538, Protestants founded the College of Debrecen, later to become the Protestant College of Eastern Europe, famous for educating ministers and teachers for Reformed churches in Eastern Europe.
That college is now the theological faculty of the University of Debrecen, and in 1988 its then-dean Dr. Botond Gaal led the celebration of its 450th anniversary.
From his office in Princeton, where he spent the fall as a member of the Center of Theological Inquiry (CTI), Gaal was proud to talk about the theological faculty from which he graduated and where he is now professor of Christian dogmatics. “My country sided with the Calvinist part of the Reformation because of the high view those Reformers had of education,” he explained. “We needed schools, and the Reformers began them, including the College of Debrecen. At the end of the sixteenth century, more than 95% of our population was Protestant.”
A bloody Counter Reformation in Hungary changed the balance in favor of Catholicism, but today’s smaller number of Hungarian Protestants are mostly Reformed.
Henry Bogdan: From Warsaw To Sofia in particular Chapter 5: The Age of Ruptures:14th--16th Centuries and Chapter 6: Eastern Europe of the Habsburgs, the Turks and Russia
Reformation Literature and the National Consciousness of Transylvanian Hungarians, Saxons, and Rumanians by LOUIS J. ELTETO
F. Poland, Livonia, and Courland
Poles learned of the Reformation through some young students from Wittenberg and through the Bohemian and Moravian Brethren. Archbishop Laski of Gnesen and King Sigismund I (1501-48) energetically opposed the spread of heretical doctrines. However, the supporters of the Reformation succeeded in winning recruits at the University of Cracow, at Posen, and at Dantzig. From Dantzig the Reformation spread to Thorn and Elbing, and certain nobles favoured the new doctrines. Under the rule of the weak Sigismund II (1548-72) there were in Poland, besides the Lutherans and the Bohemian Brethren, Zwinglians, Calvinists, and Socinians. Prince Radziwill and John Laski favoured Calvinism, and the Bible was translated into Polish in accordance with the views of this party in 1563. Despite the efforts of the papal nuncio, Aloisius Lippomano (1556-58) free practice of religion was secretly granted in the aforementioned three cities, and the nobility were allowed to hold private religious services in their houses. The different Reformed sects fought among one another,In Livonia and Courland, the territories of the Teutonic Order, the course of the Reformation was the same as in the other territory of the Order, Prussia. Commander Gotthard Kettler of Courland embraced the Augsburg Confession, and converted the land into a secular hereditary duchy, tributary to Poland. In Livonia Commander Walter of Plettenberg strove to foster Lutheranism, which had been accepted at Riga, Dorpat, and Reval since 1523, hoping thus to make himself independent of the Archbishop of Riga. When Margrave William of Brandenburg became Archbishop of Riga in 1539, Lutheranism rapidly obtained exclusive sway in Livonia.
István Lázár: HUNGARY - A Brief History Chapter 8
Articles on History of Hungary
Johann Laski (Jan a Lasco) Click on flag for English version
Johannes Laski (Jan a Lasco), Polish reformer: a Short biography
LASICKI, January Johann -, historian, Bibliograph, defender of reformatorischen paging, * around 1534 in Lasice with Sochaczew; District Rawa, + after 1599. - as a young man it was already connected for the Calvinismus. L ranks to the opponents of the Antitrinitarismus and the Jesuiten and among the proponents of a combination of the Calvinisten also in Poland settled Boehmi brothers. Long time lived and studied it in Western Europe (Strasbourg, Geneva, Zurich, Heidelberg, Basel, Paris), where it itself with many prominent people (Calvin, Beza, Bullinger, Castellio and A.) made friends. L is considered as the first Polish Bibliolog and Bibliograph. It is also first poles, which wrote an outline of the history of France "De rebus gestis to Franciae libri". The ungedruckte manuscript was lost. He was also author of one of earliest European stories of the Boehmi brothers. In addition it rendered large services as industrious researchers of the pre-Christian heidnischen faith among different peoples of Eastern Europe. Its polarize-mixed writings against the Antitrinitarier "over the Unsterblichkeit of the soul, reason of the child baptism" were lost as manuscripts. Works: De diis Samagitarum caeterorumque Sarmatarum, Basel 1615; new expenditure hrsg. of W. Mannhardt with Nachtraegen of A. Bielenstein, Riga 1868; De Russorum, Moscovitarum et Tartarorum religione, Speyer 1582; De origine et rebus gestis Fratrum Bohemorum, quos ignari rerum Waldenses, Mali autem Picardos vocant, Lissa 1649. Lit.: Pole ski Slownik Biograficzny (Polish biographic dictionary) Bd. 18, 218-222; - H. Barycz, Le Prime Minister contacts de Jan Lasicki avec la culture occidentale (1556-1561), Acta Poloniae Historica XXV, Warsaw 1972. Karol Karski Johannes a Lasco in East Friesland. The Career of a Reformer. By Henning P. Jürgens. (Published in German) This new biography follows the activities of Polish nobleman, humanist, Reformer and theologian Johannes a Lasco (Jan Laski,1499-1560) in East Friesland. The reformer’s career spanned humanism and the Reformation in Poland, Italy, Switzerland and Germany. Jürgens begins his analysis with a Lasco’s education, his diplomatic and ecclesiastical activities in Hungary and Poland, his humanist sympathies in Basel and Poland and his turn towards the Reformation. Attention focuses on contacts to Erasmus of Rotterdam, whose library a Lasco purchased, as well as his participation in the Hungarian succession conflict and his encounters with Melanchthon and Albert Hardenberg. A Lasco’s efforts to define the East Frisian Reformed Church against Anabaptists and Catholics and to unify its organization and theology are examined. His negotiations between the developing confessions are analyzed theologically and politically from his energetic correspondence with leading contemporary theologians, organized for the first time here in an appendix. The book concludes with the Interim and a Lasco’s 1549 dismissal as East Frisian Superintendent. 2002. VIII, 428 pages (Spätmittelalter und Reformation Neue Reihe 18). ISBN 3-16-147754-5 cloth EURO 69.00 15
Good source for articles 17
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