The Forane Vicarate

After these events, the decision of the king on 17 September 1873 to create within the Eparchy of Munkács a forane vicariate located in Hajdúdorog for thirty-three Hungarian speaking parishes caused considerable disappointment. The governing body preparing the formation of the vicariate took as its primary consideration the fears of the Roman Catholic prelates concerning the Liturgy in the Hungarian language. Consequently, since the Greek Catholics openly admitted that one of the most important responsibilities of their own eparchy would be the elevation of the Hungarian language to the altar, this goal served as a serious consideration, despite their intentions, against the formation of a separate eparchy. The possibility of founding a vicariate had been raised by the parish of Hajdúdorog itself in case financial considerations prevented the creation of an eparchy, and naturally they desired to extend the jurisdiction of the vicariate to all Hungarian speaking parishes. The Hajdúdorog Congress of 1868, in contrast to the earlier recommendation, had already unambiguously requested the foundation of an independent eparchy. The government recognized that it would have to provide some type of answer to the needs of the Hungarian Greek Catholics, which, however, must be in harmony with other church interests. The creation of the forane vicariate could be considered as a compromise solution. The words of Lajos Farkas, who wrote with great bitterness “… mountains go into labor but only mice are born …” clearly show that contemporaries were well aware of this.




Ágoston Trefort, Minister of Religion and Public Education, notified the Hajdú District on 20 September 1873 of the establishment of the forane vicariate. He also noted in the correspondence that the ruler had ordered the transfer of 3,000 forints from the Religion Foundation for this objective. Due to the death of István Pankovics in 1874 the forane vicariate was organized by János Pásztelyi Kovács, the new Bishop of Munkács (1875-1891). Despite the disappointment, the town of Hajdúdorog, with considerable sacrifice, made a generous offer of 8,000 forints to assist in the purchase of a 690 square meter protosyncellus’s residence and contributed sixty-seven “hold” [one hold equals 0.57 hectares] of plow land to provide income for the vicariate. In 1875, Bishop Pásztelyi appointed János Danilovics, the cathedral canon to be the first forane protosyncellus, whose rather limited jurisdiction extended only to the parishes of the vicariates of Szabolcs, Hajdúdorog, Karász, Máriapócs, Nagykálló, Nyírbéltek, and Timár. Later it was expanded to include the Nyír district of the Vicariate of Szatmár but even so, it only included a fraction of the Hungarian speaking Greek Catholic parishes. The vicariate created a senate, whose first members were János Iványi, subdean of Karász and parish priest of Tornyospálca, István Fekete, subdean of Nagykálló and parish priest of Nyíregyháza, Gyula Orosz, subdean of Dorog and parish priest of Hajdúböszörmény, Pál Görög, priest of Bököny, Izaiás Torday, assistant priest (OSBM) of Máriapócs and monastery head, Sándor Véghseő, priest of Újfehértó, Bazil Kutka, priest of Tiszabüd, and Emil Petrovics, assistant priest of Hajdúdorog.



The parish of Hajdúdorog had reservations about Danilovics. On the one hand, they wanted to see their very popular parish priest György Szabó as the vicar, on the other Danilovics was known for his Ruthenian sympathies. He had been a prolific writer as the associate head of the St. Basil Sodality. In a Ruthenian language play he condemned those Ruthenians who had abandoned their nation. It was difficult to believe that he would take up the cause of a Hungarian Liturgy.  Danilovics, however, proved to be a pleasant surprise in this regard. Already at the first meeting of the senate, he provided evidence of his determination and recommended the establishment of a program for the training of Hungarian language cantors and teachers in Hajdúdorog. He also took concrete steps with the government authorities for its realization. Nevertheless, this concept was never implemented. He was considerably more successful in the preparation of translations of the Liturgy. In May 1879, he initiated the establishment of a translation committee and directed its work over thirteen years. The members of the committee were János Danilovics, protosyncellus, Mihály Kotradov, Canon of Eperjes and chancellor of the chancery office, Ignácz Roskovics, Canon of Munkács and chief eparchial supervisor of education, Antal Jámbor, canon and teacher of Eastern languages and the Bible in Ungvár, János Hrabár, parish priest of Nagykomját, János Turai, titular canon and teacher of theology in Ungvár, Emmánuel Fejér, parish priest of Hajdúdorog, Bertalan Sass, religious instructor in Eperjes, and Eugén Fenczik, parish priest of Duszina. The alternate members were Gyula Orosz, dean and parish priest of Hajdúdorog, Pál Görög, parish priest of Bököny.



The work lasting thirteen years produced the translations and publications of four liturgical books: 1. The Saint and Divine Liturgy of Father St. John Chrysostom, Debrecen 1882; 2. Greek Catholic Ecclesiastical Ritual Book (Euchologion), Debrecen, 1883; 3. The Saint and Divine Liturgy of Father Saint Basil the Great, Furthermore the Liturgy of the Living Saints and the Clerical Prayers for other Religious Services, Debrecen, 1890, this translation was made by Emil Melles, Kisdobrai priest, which he offered to the committee and the protosyncellus edited it with his permission; Greek Catholic Hymnal along with the Accompanying Prayers, translated by János Danilovics, Debrecen, 1892.