Above image: Aladár Körösfői-Kriesch's 1896 painting depicts Rev. Dávid Ferenc (Francis David), the first Unitarian minister and the spiritual advisor to King János Zsigmond Zápolya, holding forth in a debate concerning the trinity before the king, Catholic, Calvinist and Unitarian clerics, delegates of the three nations of Transylvania and Hungarian nobles.
In January 1568 at the meeting of the Transylvanian Diet in the city of Torda, in the Carpathian region of the Eastern Hungarian Kingdom, King János Zsigmond Zápolya, encouraged by his "Antitrinitarian" (precursor to Unitarian) spiritual advisor, Rev. Francis David, issued the decree, known as the Edict of Torda, also known as the Patent of Toleration.
Three months later king Zsigmond convened protestant Hungarian ministers from Hungary and Transylvania to a synod in his palace at Gyulafehérvár (Alba Iulia) to debate the nature of the Trinity. For ten days, from March 8 - 17, the debate went on with Francis Dávid eventually gaining the upper hand and winning the dabate for the Antitrinitarian viewpoint. Word quickly spread, and upon his return to Kolozsvár (Cluj) he was greeted by enthusiastic crowds.
Ever since then, the ethnic Hungarian Unitarians of Transylvania and Hungary have marked 1568 as the official founding of their Unitarian Church.
In 1968, to honor and commemorate the 400th anniversary of the founding of the world's earliest strain of Unitarianism, Rev. Dana McLean Greeley, president of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), commissioned journalist China Altman and photographer Ivan Massar to undertake a journey as tourists into Transylvania in March of 1968. Their mission: to capture in words and images what life might it have been like 400 years earlier when Francis David was debating for the Antitrinitarian viewpoint and for religious freedom, and what it was now like under the dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu's communist government of Romania.
The result was the 400th Anniversary Issue of the UUA NOW magazine published in the Summer of 1968.
Above: Cover ~ Somewhere on the vast Hungarian plains ~ as China drove their rented VW Beetle from Vienna across the breadth of Hungary towards Transylvania ~ Ivan captured a typical Hungarian farmstead with its characteristic well sweep slanting into a sunset sky. (cover copyright © 1968 UUA, Image copyright © Ivan Massar)
Introduction to this On-Line production
As celebrate the 450th anniversary of the founding of Unitarianism in Transylvania, looking out from our position in a world now seeming to veer away from a long and hard won trajectory toward peace, love and tolerance, it seems fitting to look back almost 50 years to the 400th anniversary and how it was commemorated and celebrated by the UUA.
Now in 2018, we can surely gather strength and resolve from the examples of those who have come before us. As we commemorate and celebrate the 450th anniversary of our liberal faith's ancestors, may we draw strength from the seeds they have sown, from our movement which has now spread world-wide, and from whose roots we inherit a robust heritage. May these examples help us carry on the work so desperately needed in our ever-more uncertain world.
This production honors and celebrates the work of Rev. Dana McLean Greeley, China Altman and Ivan Massar.
It does so with the digitally restored reproductions of pages from that summer 1968 issue of the UUA Now magazine, as well as many restored images from Ivan's original 35mm slides taken during his Transylvanian travels which were not included in the original article.
All of the images and text presented in this production are the result of a collaboration between Rodger Mattlage and Ivan Massar who worked together over a period of more than eight years to preserve and protect, both physically and digitally, the slides and images Ivan took during his Transylvanian travels, as well as the resulting content from the magazine.
Content Digitization and Restoration
Rodger scanned images of the pages of Ivan's original copy of the UUA NOW magazine using a high-end flatbed scanner, and scanned Ivan's original 35mm slides on a high-end digital film scanner.
He then painstakingly restored the resulting scanned images using special-purpose image-restoration and post-production software
He extracted the texts from the restored images of the magazine's articles and its photo captions using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software, and, finally, corrected the restored the texts by hand.
The copies of the original texts appear in the content below in italicized text.
Additional captions, comments and clarifications are by Rodger and appear below in plain text.
As an aid to Hungarian readers, and their North American partners, the original article's Romanian place names have been augmented by the corresponding Hungarian equivalents, and appear in the content below in plain text in parentheses.
Copyright © Information
All images of, and content from, the summer 1968 issue of the UUA Now magazine are copyright © 1968 UUA, and are used with permission.
All of Ivan's original images are copyright © 1968 by Ivan Massar, and copyright © 2010 by The Transylvanian Unitarian Church (TUC), and are used with permission.
This joint copyright was effected by Ivan Massar and Gyeró David (Counselor to the TUC.) in a ceremony at the UUA Headquarters in Boston on June 17, 2010.
Also during that ceremony, Ivan donated digital copies of the images of all 458 of his Transylvania 35mm slides, as well as 378 of the original slides, to the Transylvanian Unitarian Archives of the Hungarian Unitarian Church in Cluj (Kolozsvár), Transylvania, Romania. The remaining 80 slides remain in the possession of Ivan's family.
This production is dedicated to the memory of Ivan Massar (1924 - 2014)
Edited and produced by Rodger A. Mattlage, December 2016
This production copyright © 2010 by Rodger A. Mattlage
Please forward questions, comments, suggestions, corrections, etc. to Rodger at email@example.com