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The history of the Mission House in Budapest
(later the Bela Bartok Unitarian Church of Budapest)

In 1.October 1899 Miklos Jozan was elected and installed as Unitarian minister in Budapest Unitarian Church. Until 1920 he was the only Unitarian minister in Budapest. In 1921 was established an other ministry job or called a second minister, first in the person of Lajos Biro, after him followed by Istvan Barabas. Inn 1921 for this job was called Gabor Csiki. His ministry job was to take care of the Unitarians emigrated from Transylvania. In 1921, Gabor Csiki visited Great Britain representing the Unitarian interests and mentioned about a Mission House established in Budapest. Next year, in 1922, the British and Foreign Unitarian Association, which took care of the transylvanian and Hungarian Unitarians, bought the building situated in Rakos street nr.3 (today Hogyes Endre street). The building served the purpose of the Unitarian mission. One part was changed into a church, sanctuary; one apartment was transformed into parsonage for the minister, other apartments for dormitories, used by students and others into offices. The building was donated to the Hungarian Unitarian Church as a Foundation for mission purposes, for this reason was called the Mission House.

A Unitarian engineer, Janos Gotthard jr, made the plan for the church rebuilding. The works were started in 1928, and the church dedication was on 10th February 1929.

A Committee led the Mission House. In the sanctuary were held Sunday services, it was the place for religious education and other church, association activity, and it was the center for the whole country mission. It became the headquarter for the Francis David Association, for the Women Association and for the Youth Association. There were held lectures, performances and congregational gatherings. It offered a home for students arrived from Transylvania with bread and breakfast.

The first minister was Gabor Csiki, started from 1928, until his retirement in 1953, when with the support of the American Unitarian Association retires.

The next minister is Istvan Petho, from 1953 until his retirement in 1966.

From 1966 until his retirement 1997, the next minister was Marton Bencze.

The following minister between 1993 and 2000 was Jozsef Kaszoni, until he was called in the Church situated in Nagy Ingacz street by the members.

The Budapest Unitarian Church until 2001 had one president and one board, but was working with two church buildings, one in Nagy Ignacz street and the other in Hogyes Endre street (the Mission House). Having two or more ministers serving. From 2001 the congregation splits into two around the two building.

In 29th October 2000, a special meeting of the Budapest Unitarian Church elects Minister Rev.Csaba Razmany in Hogyes Endre street church, which was minister before in the Pestszentlorincz Unitarian Church. The actual bishop, Marton Bencze appoints him starting from 1st January 2001.

The Hungarian Unitarian Synod elects Rev.Csaba Razmany bishop of the Hungarian Church on its 3rd February 2001 meeting. His installation was on 10th June 2001 special meeting.

In 14th May 2001, the Church leaders are dealing with the splitting the Budapest Unitarian Church into two, around the two buildings, which happens at that meeting. According to the agreement the Nagy Ignacz street church and congregation includes the 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,12,13,14,15,16 districts of Budapest, the Hogyes Endre street church and congregation includes the 8,9,11,21,22,23 districts of Budapest, and the third church in Pestszentlorincz which was before includes the 10,17,18,19,20 districts of Budapest.

With this starts an independent life the congregation with its center in Hogyes Endre street building, the former Mission House. Are taken the first steps: the congregation changes its name into Bela Bartok Unitarian Church of Budapest. The name dedication ceremony was held on 22.September 2001. In 30th September 2001, on the Hungarian Thanksgiving, the congregation elects the president and the board members, and also the congregation accepts a second ministry in the person of Rev.Sandor Leta. He starts his ministry from 1st October 2001, according to the bishop’s appointment.

With this starts the Bela Bartok Unitarian Church its independent life with its new president, new board and two ministers.

Source:

  1. In the number of Hungarian Historical Sketches Regnum (Magyar Egyhaztorteneti Vazlatok Regnum) number 1998/1-2, Miklos Kelemen: The History of the Budapest Unitarian Church.
  2. Papers in the church archives between 2000 and 2001.
  3. Unitárius Értesitö (Unitarian Information) monthly magazin, 1926-1937.