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College Archives of the Transtibiscan Reformed Church District

The Transtibiscan Reformed Church District was established in 1557 on the synod of the churches of the Debrecen-Nagyvárad and the Szatmár regions. In the beginning it was called “Cistibiscan” (Cistibiscana), from Transylvanian viewpoint but after the 1664 synod of Szatmár the name “Transtibiscan” came into general use, reflecting the western viewpoint. At the beginning of the 18th century the then largest church district of the Hungarian Reformed Church included 14 dioceses (Bereg, Bihar, Érmellék, Békés, Máramaros, Nagybánya, Szabolcs, Szatmár, Szilágy, Ugocsa, Nagykunság, Middle Szolnok, Zaránd and Debrecen). The Zaránd Diocese suffered from depopulation and ceased to exist in the 18th century. On the instructions of the 1821/1822 General Convent, the Máramaros and Ugocsa Dioceses merged, the Debrecen and Bihar Dioceses separated (Lower Szabolcs–Hajdú Region, respectively Nagyszalonta) and the Szilágy Diocese joined the Transylvanian Church District. In 1909 the Middle Szabolcs Diocese separated from the Upper Szabolcs Diocese. The Békés–Bánát Diocese made the greatest progress, both its territory and population increased to the size of a church district. Trianon put an end to the unified life of the Church District. Some of its congregations were annexed to Czechoslovakia, Romania or the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. From that time onward the remaining, mostly incomplete 11 dioceses formed the Transtibiscan Church District. In 1952 under pressure from the communist state nine dioceses were organized, their borders coinciding with the county borders (Bihar, Békés, Csongrád, Debrecen, Hajdú Region, Nagykunság, Nyírség, Szabolcs–Bereg and Szatmár). In 1952 the Cistibiscan Reformed Church District was abolished and a significant part of it was attached to the Transtibiscan District. From 1953 the increased Church District was called “Tisza Region” (Tiszavidéki), then in 1957 the earlier borders were restored.

The archives consist of sets of documents of different church officials and institutions of the district (bishops, agents, convents, college, dioceses and congregations). In the beginning the archival material of the church district was kept in the box of the church district by the bishops and the chief notaries. From the 17th century whenever a new bishop was elected, “archives transmitting committees” took stock of the material and handed it over to the new bishop. The considerable reorganization of the archives of the church district started in 1769, when the general assembly created the rules of the “Archives of the Superintendent” and in 1773 Sámuel Szilágyi Jr. was elected as archivist. Subsequently considerable archival material regarding the dioceses and congregations was taken in by the archives (visitation protocols, statistics, conscriptions of property, fee letters, foundation charters, etc.).

In accordance with the 1822 resolution of the general assembly, the systematic arrangement of the archives of the church district and the college started simultaneously. Separate church district and college archival committees were organized and these prepared the elenchus of both archives, then between 1823 and 1828 the archives of the church district were placed in the college. The college archives were arranged by Professor Ferenc Kerekes after 1823; whilst the arrangement of the church district archives was started in 1867 by archivist Imre Révész Snr. In 1868 the study by Révész, entitled “About the preservation and arrangement of the archives, with special regard to the Hungarian Protestant archives” was published in print. Révész died in 1881; by then archival aids were regularly prepared in the archives. In 1913 two archives officers and six clerks worked beside the archivist. In the college archives Professor Sándor Csikesz created a new system and made a new catalogue between 1923 and 1940. The rearrangement of the documents that had fallen to pieces during the Second World War lasted until 1951.

Meanwhile the question of the unification of the church district and college archives arose more than once and eventually it took place in 1952, when the college archives were attached to the church district archives and the institution was named “Archives of the Transtibiscan Reformed Church District”. László Kormos was appointed as director from 1973. Thanks to the high degree of processing and the good archival aids, the number of the researchers has continuously increased since the 1990s.


Further information:

Adress: 4026 Debrecen, Füvészkert u. 2.

Telephone: +36 52 614 340, +36 30 192 5188


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