The most important religious holiday, Easter is about to be celebrated in the next few days by Western Christianity, among them Transylvanians belonging mostly to the Reformed, Catholic, Lutheran and Unitarian denominations. This year’s Easter feast is definitely unprecedented, as it has to be celebrated under the special circumstances shaped by the novel coronavirus epidemic increasingly spreading throughout Romania. Church services of the abovementioned denominations have been held by priests for some time now in empty churches and broadcasted via online media to comply with the necessary requirement of social distancing. It is not going to be any different on the night of the Resurrection or on Easter Sunday or Monday either: There will be no masses, no passion games for Catholics reenacting the story of Jesus. None of the religious and social practices and habits entwined with the feast of Easter will be held in Transylvania – all celebrations have to happen inside, in people’s homes. But, it is possible to respect regulations and pursue some alternative solutions, as creativity and ingenuity have not been quarantined. So to speak, the bishop of the Transylvanian Reformed Diocese, Béla Kató has come up with an unprecedented solution for the members of the Reformed Church to participate in the Easter Communion.
“Besides the Word of God, Communion is what can really strengthen us in these hard times. Unfortunately, during the pandemic, the service of Communion cannot be held under regular circumstances. But, if God closes a door in front of us, at the same time he opens a window – we just have to be able to notice that,” stated Bishop Kató in his communiqué. As he emphasized, he had found a solution for the sharing of the Easter Communion with the congregation, a solution which is favored by all ten dioceses of the Hungarian Reformed Church.
On Easter Sunday at 10 o’clock, a church service will be performed by priest István Szabó, president of the Hungarian Reformed Church Synod in his home, and then he will take Communion with the members of his family. His service will be broadcasted by Duna TV, a station largely popular in Transylvania.
The picture shows a hand-painted God’s Table in a Reformed church from the Kalotaszeg ethnographic region
Source: Kalotaszegi Vándor/Facebook
“We can all participate in the ceremony. Everyone can lay the Table of God in one’s own home; when the priest calls on us during the service to do so, we can confess our sins, state our creed, then take Communion. Where possible, the head of the household will share the bread and wine to the members of the family. If one lives alone, one can take Communion by oneself,” detailed the bishop.
The head of the Transylvanian Reformed Church also pointed out that this unique practice proposed to the congregation might be something close to what ancient Christian communities did, when they broke bread in their homes. “Nevertheless, we will not be alone in performing this; many of our brothers and sisters in faith from all over the Carpathian Basin and maybe from several other parts of the world will all take Communion together,” emphasized the bishop.
„Moreover, maybe this way, all the formalities and hindrances that formerly might have distracted our attention from real repentance will disappear. When in church, we might rather think of the sins of those standing in front of us instead of our own… This way our Communion can be truthful and sincere,” he added.
“We can overcome this pandemic victoriously if we genuinely accept God’s redemption and we really commit to a renewed life. Let’s prepare for Easter in this spirit,” stated the bishop.
Title image: This Easter Sunday, the faithful of the Reformed Church will lay God’s Table in their own homes.