Szeklers

Hardships followed by renewal in the case of the church of Hodgya

The community of the small Szekler village of Hodgya (Hoghia) in Hargita county celebrated last Sunday the renewal of its Reformed church, which had been devastated by a huge flood in 2005. The 19th century church and all of its appliances had been restored and reinforced with the material help of the Hungarian government and the joint effort of the people. The church’s building had been restored sooner, but the damage control actually lasted until recently.

The festive church service was celebrated in the presence of Béla Kató, the bishop of the Transylvanian Reformed Diocese and Réka Brendus, the leader of the national policy department of the Hungarian Prime Minister’s office.

“Expressing gratitude is never a private business. The task of our life is to be a joyful and grateful, and to be able to firmly state as a community: God is good” – said the bishop. He emphasized that the force of Providence can be seen in times of hardship, but in times of revival too. The members of the small local community had experienced the real meaning of solidarity, as the larger Hungarian community stood by them – Béla Kató said.

The local priest, Zoltán Juhász reminded, that the congregation with less than 300 members, would have had no real material means to finance the works needed to structurally reinforce the church, to carry out the restoration tasks on the roof structure of the nave and on the tower, to restore the bells and to implement all the protective measures for the building.

The works that had been carried out would have burdened financially every member of the community with almost EUR 2 800, which is a huge amount of money compared to the general living standard. At this point, only the landscaping works are left to be finished – said the priest, and thanked again for the help of the Hungarian government in the name of the congregation.

“Togetherness had paired with audacity, perseverance and a strong faith in achievement in this village” – stated the representative of the Hungarian PM’s office, Réka Brendus. She had also reminded that the most secure bastions of the Hungarian language, culture, faith and basically, identity are the community’s churches and schools. “Our most important job is not to lose faith, but to build a future for our children and grandchildren; instead of resignation we have to take on the fight with anyone or anything that tries to daunt us, to crush us” – the Hungarian politician emphasized.

“We have such values as this two-century-old church and the still lively community of Hodgya, due to the willpower and life’s work of our ancestors. And for the next generations to have lasting values they can as well protect, our own endeavor is needed. This church is not just a place for keeping and protecting our  faith, but an eternal symbol of our belonging, of togetherness” – she added.

The ceremonial service was nicely accompanied by the show of the local children’s choir, and after the agape-feast the Golden Griffin Order presented several renaissance dances. One of this organization’s main objectives is to reconstruct the armature, attire and tactics of the 14th–15th century Szekler warriors. Ever since 2013 they widened their activity with re-enactment of historical dances, experimental archaeology and alternative teaching as well. The folk dance-group of the young locals entertained the gathering as well with their keen dances.

Title image: The 19th century church stands again renewed and proudly in the small picturesque village  

Source: Facebook/Hodgyai Református Egyházközség

Author: Éva Zay