Our Paths - Byzantine Rite Catholics in Hungary - A Historical Retrospection by Tamás Véghseő

IntroductionChristifideles graeci, 1912

The foundation of the Eparchy of Hajdúdorog constituted a milestone in the history of the Greek Catholics in Hungary. Based on his feudal right of patronage as the King of Hungary, Franz Joseph Iissued a decree on 6 May 1912, which was followed one month later by Pope St. Pius X’s bull Christifideles graeci, and put an end to a long process that had lasted for decades. Those Hungarian Greek Catholics, or as we might say today, the pioneering Greek Catholics, who had struggled for acceptance and their own ecclesiastical organization, experienced these decades as a true road to Calvary. The foundation of the Eparchy of Hajdúdorog fulfi lled the hopes of several generations and opened new perspectives and new ways for Hungarian Catholics observing the Byzantine Rite. The historical circumstances, however, soon demonstrated that the search of the Hungarian Greek Catholics, who had founded a new eparchy, had not come to an end because the First World War had broken its momentum, post-Trianon Hungary’s political and economic circumstances had eliminated the instruments for development, the second confl agration of the world had extinguished the emerging hopes, and the communist seizure of power and dictatorship had reduced the opportunities to a minimum. Almost eight decades after the foundation of the eparchy, the political changes of 1989-1990 opened an era that provided for our Church, Eparchy of Hajdúdorog and for the Exarchate of Miskolc, which had been in existence since 1924, the necessary freedom to progress and the opportunity to develop appropriate answers to the challenges of the time. 

If we invoke for assistance the metaphor of travelling a path, we will fi nd in the history of our Church a constant searching for ways, the reopening of roads to Calvary over and over again, the constrained possibilities imposed by outside forces, the returning dilemma of the “broad way” and the “narrow path,” and the losing of our way and the dead ends that inevitably stemmed from these constrains, as well as the pilgrimages and the joyous arrivals at our destinations.