The Paths of Survival


With the establishment of the Apostolic Exarchate of Miskolc a new unit of Greek Catholic ecclesiastical government had come into being in Hungary. In terms of size, it was much smaller than the Eparchy of Hajdúdorog but due to the outstanding abilities of its clergy the exarchate played a decisive role in both ecclesiastical scholarship and in the sphere of the Church in public life. Among their initiatives was the new publication Keleti Egyház [Eastern Church], which, with the help of archbishop Antal Papp, was founded in January 1934 by István Szántay-Szémán, who also served as its editor-in-chief. János Kozma (1884-1958), a theology teacher at Miskolc and “the jack of all trades of the spiritual life of Hungarian Greek Catholics,” contributed significantly to the editing of the periodical, which appeared every month until the end of World War II. Studies of considerable value for theology, Church history, Patristics, Canon law, Church art, and Ecclesiastical music appeared on its pages. The authors were the most accomplished Greek Catholic clergy of the Eparchy and the Exarchate, and included Antal Papp, Miklós Dudás, Ferenc Rohály, György Papp, Gábor Krajnyák, József Legeza, Andor Bubnó, János Liki, Igor Konstantin Zapotoczky, the painter Emmánuel Petrasovszky, and many others. The periodical published reviews, which had been written in foreign languages and translated into Hungarian, of studies on Eastern Christianity and reported on all of the significant events in the lives of foreign and domestic Greek Catholics. The members of the editorial board, especially the canon law jurist and historian György Papp (1909-1975), as well as István Szántay-Szémán and Gábor Krajnyák, consciously strove to publicize the presence of the Eastern Church in Hungary. Furthermore, they published on the history of the Greek Catholics and their development in Church law in other scholarly periodicals and independent publications. The board of editors of Keleti Egyház also achieved lasting accomplishments in the sphere of liturgical publication. In 1938, they published in Miskolc the prayer book and hymnal, Dicsérjétek az Úr nevét [Praise the name of the Lord]. This contained the Church’s regularly used prayers and the hymns of celebration and hymns of the saints. Together with the Menologion this enormous publication of over 2,000 pages replaced the older liturgical translations, and the missing sections were translated into Hungarian by János Kozma and István Szántay-Szémán. The proof reading was done by Igor Konstantin Zapotoczky and Ferenc Rohály. The following year Énekeljetek a mi Istennünknek [Sing to Our God], a prayer book and hymnal for the faithful, appeared.

The formation of the Uniate Society of St. Nicholas in Hungary [Szent Miklós Magyarországi Uniós Szövetség - SZEMISZ] is also connected to the editorial board of Keleti Egyház. Under the leadership of István Szántay-Szémán and in the interest of promoting ecumenism among the Christian Churches, the members of 
SZEMISZ volunteered for a prayer apostolate, as well as for scholarly and publicity work. In addition to cultural activities, scholarship, and intensifying the faith, the problem of reorganizing pastoral work proved to be important for the Greek Catholics. Due to the international movements of the population and the migration within the country, after the Treaty of Trianon many Greek Catholics found themselves removed from the jurisdiction of the Eparchy of Hajdúdorog and the Exarchate of Miskolc. According to the ecclesiastical regulations at that time the Greek Catholic faithful now came under the legal authority of the appropriate local Roman Catholic prelates and parishes. The Roman Catholic bishops were responsible for providing Byzantine Rite priests for them. For the most part, however, this did not happen. Gyula Glattfelder, Bishop of Csanád (1911-1943), on the one hand, was sympathetic to the req
uests of the Greek Catholics, who came under his authority, and even donated a church building to the faithful in Szeged. On the other hand, Árpád István Hanauer, Bishop of Vác (1919-1942), who, due to the presence of several thousand Greek Catholic faithful in and around Budapest, was most concerned with the issue, turned a cold shoulder and refused to listen to the requests. The Görögkatolikus Szemle [Greek Catholic Journal], in response to an initiative by the energetic István Gróh, started a movement in 1934 to register the Greek Catholics in Pest County and to form parishes for them. Nevertheless, the resistance of the Bishop of Vác could not be overcome. The policy of bishop Hanauer caused many children between the two wars to be baptized in Roman Catholic parishes, and thus they were lost to the Greek Catholic Church. This development, along with the general antipathy that they experienced toward the Byzantine Rite, caused many as adults to choose to convert to the Latin rite. A 1928 directive of the Holy See, which gave the local nuncio authority over permission to change rites, made the process considerably easier. As a result, a wave of ritual changes began, and the thickest dossiers of the Budapest nunciature from the 1930s are those concerned with changing rites. At the same time, the number of Hungarian Greek Catholics in the Partium and in Transylvania also began to decline drastically. The faithful of the Hungarian parishes assigned to Romanian eparchy converted to the Latin Rite or to the Reformed Church in large numbers.
The lack of an independent seminary for the forming of Greek Catholic clergy led to a new crisis at the end of the 1920s. Jusztinián Serédi, Archbishop of Esztergom (1927-1945), in 1928, shortly after taking office, notified bishop Miklósy that he could no longer provide places for the Greek Catholic seminarians at the Esztergom seminary. The prelate reminded him without success that archbishop János Csernoch had prevented the establishment of a seminary in Nyíregyháza a few years earlier by arguing that there was plenty of room for the Greek Catholic students at the Esztergom seminary. István Breyer, State Secretary for Religion, was able to obtain for just one year a place for the three seminarians admitted that year at St. Imre College in Budapest. Beginning with the following year, with the intercession of the Minister of Religion and Public Education Klebelsberg Kuno, the Greek Catholic seminarists were assigned to the Central Seminary in Budapest, where Gábor Krajnyák assisted them in learning the rites. The assignment of the seminarians to the Central Seminary hardly solved the problem of forming new clergy. It meant a huge financial drain on the Eparchy of Hajdúdorog. The educational institution itself enjoyed an income ten times larger than the eparchy. Despite the annual support provided by the state, the Central Seminary only assumed the responsibility for the forming of sixteen seminarians. As a result, the Eparchy of Hajdúdorog was not able to accept as many future clergy as were required. It could not support the forming of clergy beyond the number financed by the state.
In 1930, Minister of Religion and Public Education Klebelsberg desired to change this unfortunate situation by proposing the establishment of a Greek Catholic Faculty of Theology at the University of Szeged, and that the Greek Catholic seminarians be housed in the newly established seminary. This idea was adamantly rejected by bishop Miklósy. He insisted that the seminary be established at the seat of the bishop; “… there will be others and different times. We must not surrender our rights …” he wrote to the diocesan ecclesiastical court. In addition to the forming of new clergy, the need to find enough teachers became an increasingly burning issue. True, the state had established a teachers’ college in the town, and this had been an important consideration at the time of the selection of the bishop’s seat. Despite the hopes for a Greek Catholic character for this institution, in reality relatively few Greek Catholics were accepted and received their diplomas there.
The Basilians of Máriapócs became engaged in the forming of clergy through the summer courses on religious rites. Bishop Miklósy wanted the Sacred Shrine to play an important role in the life of the eparchy. He considered Máriapócs to be the center of Hungarian Greek Catholic religious life. He planned a major celebration of the 200th anniversary of the Second Weeping (1715) but due to the war this could not be carried out. The more intensive involvement of the Basilians in the life of the eparchy was hindered by the fact that after the war the Monastery of Máriapócs remained in the province of Galicia, whose leaders proved to be determinedly hostile toward the Eparchy of Hajdúdorog. In 1929, MAGOSZ, whose founding had been assisted by the Basilians, turned to Pope Pius XI and asked that the monastery at Máriapócs be autonomous from the Galician province and that the Pope make it possible for the only Greek Catholic Basilian Monastery on the territory of Hungary to serve the development of the Hungarian Greek Catholics. Bishop Miklósy supported this effort completely but noted that these plans could only be realized in an independent province for which new monasteries would need to be founded in Hungary. In 1932, the Holy See settled the situation of the Basilian monasteries that had once been in the former territory of Hungary. The monasteries received a common province, named after St. Nicholas, while the monasteries of the successor states were to be led by a regional superior. The Holy See appointed Miklós Dudás (1902-1972) the superior of Hungarian branch, who along with two colleagues, János Liki and Máté Jőcsák, had studied theology as seminarians at the German-Hungarian Collegium in Rome. The decision of the Holy See provided the Hungarian Basilians with the desired independence, and they began the preparations for the establishment of a new monastery the following year. They were helped by the husband and wife teachers János Lengyel, a principal, and his wife Mária Szabó, a teacher, who left their estate to the Order of St Basil the Great. The generous grant allowed the order to settle in Hajdúdorog and to begin construction.
Miklós Dudás, the regional superior also took steps to settle basilian nuns in Hungary. As a result, in 1935, four nuns arrived from the monastery in Ungvár to Máriapócs. Two years later they opened a school for novices. They took over the care of the church of the Shrine, and the home for pilgrims. Later they established an orphanage. In 1945, they also settled in Hajdúdorog and Sátoraljaújhely and opened a school for girls and an orphanage.
In addition to supervising the pilgrimages to Máriapócs and maintaining the Sacred Shrine, the basilian fathers also became involved in pastoral work. They organized highly successful popular missions not just in Hungary and the surrounding countries but also to the United States. The Görögkatolikus Szemle [Greek Catholic Magazine] first reported the illness of bishop Miklósy in September 1933. The then seventy-five year-old prelate recovered from his illness but spent the remainder of his days in complete seclusion. He died of a heart attack on 29 October 1937. He was buried on 1 November by the exarch Antal Papp, and the funeral sermon was given by Grand Provost Jenő Bányay. The deceased bishop was buried in a tomb provided by the town. His ashes were later transferred to the church in Nyíregyháza and in 1979 placed in the crypt of the Basilica of the  Shrine in Máriapócs. 
After the death of bishop Miklósy the position of Bishop of Hajdúdorog remained unfilled for nearly a year and a half. While the Holy See and the Hungarian government searched for a successor, the eparchy was supervised by protosyncellus Jenő Bányay. The XXXIVth Eucharistic Congress held in Budapest 24 to 28 May 1938 occurred during the vacancy of the bishop’s seat. The Greek Catholics in preparing for a significant international Catholic event, especially due to the organizational work of the prelate István Szántay-Szémán, did all they could so that “… at this congress our Eastern Church should play a representative role in which the equality of Eastern and Western Rites is conclusively demonstrated before the whole world.”
The scholarly protosyncellus was able to arrange for the inclusion of a Saint Greek Catholic Liturgy and a formal Greek Catholic meeting in the program of the congress. The Saint and Divine Liturgy in the Greek language was celebrated on 27 May in the St. Stephen Basilica. Georgios Kavalasi, titular archbishop and Bishop of Athens, Dionysios Varuhas and Kirill Kurtev, Greek and Bulgarian bishops respectively, and István Szántay-Szémán presided over the celebration. The papal legate Eugenio Pacelli, later Pope Pius XII, was present and actively participated in the Liturgy. The theme of the Greek Catholic formal meeting held on 28 May was “The Eucharist and the Idea of the Union.” A number of foreign speakers gave lectures, and the highly successful meeting was well-attended by prelates from both the Eastern and the Western Rites.