On November 3, the Reformation Truck started its journey from the city of Calvin, Geneva, initiated by the Community of Protestant Churches in Europe. The events are marking the 500-year anniversary of the Reformation and are focusing on European cities that had a major role in the Reformation. Debrecen is, of course, among the 68 stops of the truck. The ultimate destination of the truck is Wittenberg, where the World Reformation Exhibition opens on May 20, 2017.
The truck has been turned into an interactive exhibition, which presents information about the Reformation and the cities in which the truck stops. The truck usually stays for three days in each stop. On the second day, every city along the stop has the opportunity to hold their own Reformation Day around the truck with a focus on a theme related to the city hosting it.
In Hungary there will be three stops: in Debrecen on January 31, 2017, in Sárvár on February 3, and in Sopron on February 4.
Connecting to the European events, the Hungarian state ceremony will start on January 6, 2017 followed by the opening event of the Reformed Church. The programmes will take place all day long. The Church would like to organize exhibitions together with the museums in Debrecen during this occasion. Brochures in foreign languages will be prepared and touristic programmes are also planned. Service will be held in the Reformed Great Church in Debrecen and representatives of the European Protestant Churches will be welcomed in Debrecen as well.
From the time of Reformation till our days, Debrecen has developed as a cultural and spiritual center of Hungarian Protestantism. With the high standards of the Biblical-humanist, Greek-Latin and empirical-scientific studies, the Reformed College of Debrecen became one of the guardians and lighthouses of sciences in Europe. For these reasons, the city has acquired several nicknames over the years such as The Lantern of Hungary and Transylvania (Huszár Gál), The Calvinist Rome (Kazinczy Ferenc), and The Hungarian Geneva (Édouard Sayous). During the preparation time for the 500-year jubilee, Debrecen received a new nickname from the Community of Protestant Churches in Europe as well – it is now a City of Reformation. As the Reformation Committee of the Transtibiscan Reformed Church District required it, 22 places will be marked with information boards in English and in Hungarian, as signals of importance concerning the history of Reformation.
2017 marks not only the 500-year anniversary of Reformation, but also the 450-year anniversary of the 1567 Constitutional Synod, from which we count the existence of the Transtibiscan Reformed Church District and the Reformed Church in Hungary. On this occasion, we will hold a Carpathian Basin Synod, remembering for the acceptance of the Second Helvetic Confession, signed first by the Swiss reformed cantons in 1566. As very few know about the documentation of the 1567 Synod, we would like to present them. Melius Juhász Péter, a reformer in Debrecen, played an important role in preparing the confession too.
The Transtibiscan Reformed Church District, in accordance with the Presidium of the Synod of the Reformed Church in Hungary, is waiting for the representatives of the General Convent for a plenary meeting on June 24-25, 2017 in Debrecen. The new Hungarian translation of the Second Helvetic Confession will be accepted on this ceremony as well.
A program called “Preach the Gospel” aiming to reach out to more people with the Good News will be continued into 2016-2017 with the Reformer Foundations series. The program will be driven by three key themes: the power of God prevails in Christ over the world, our lives are taking place in front of God, and the inside testimony of the Bible.
While studying the Reformer Foundations, the RCH will launch a Bible for a journey between Church Districts, which will go through all of the Transtibiscan reformed congregations from January 1, 2017 to December 31, 2017, from Záhony to Szeged. We will read the whole Bible, according to the previously prepared timetable.
The peak of the year will be on October 31, 2017, when a Reformation Memorial Day will be held by congregations throughout the country.
Article by Bishop Károly Fekete
Translated by Ágnes Kovács