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Scientific Collections of the Reformed College of Sárospatak

The Reformed Dioceses of Upper Hungary north of the Tisza (Borsod, Abaúj, Zemplén and Ungvár) formed a union as early as the 16th century and until the 1660s they were in union with the Slovak Evangelical Churches in Zemplén, too. The Diocesan deans practically exercised bishop’s rights and often used the title superintendent (superintendens). This is why the Cistibiscan dioceses did not elect real bishops (superintendens) for a long time. They held elections only in 1735, at the invitation of the Bodrogkeresztúr General Convent and following the 1735 decree of King Charles III (II Carolina Resolutio). In 1799 the four dioceses were replaced by seven: Abaúj, Torna, Gömör, Upper Borsod, Lower Borsod, Lower Zemplén, Ung-Upper Zemplén, then in 1850 the latter was divided into two. Following the Trianon Peace Treaty narrowly the two-thirds of these dioceses remained in Hungary (Abaúj, Gömör-Torna, Upper Borsod, Lower Borsod, Lower Zemplén), the rest was annexed to Czechoslovakia. During the Communist dictatorship, in 1952 four dioceses were organized in the church district: Abaúj, Borsod, Zemplén and Heves; then in 1953 the latter was attached to the Danubian and the first three dioceses to the Transtibiscan Church District, which was named as Tisza Region (Tiszavidéki) Church District. In 1957 the Cistibiscan Reformed Church District was restored with its four dioceses. (From 1962 the Heves Diocese was called Egervölgyi.)

The archival material of the Cistibiscan Reformed Church District travelled for a long time between the current episcopal seats but in the 18th century it was held mostly in Miskolc. The documents were arranged by Péter Horkay between 1813 and 1823, and since that time the order was kept by the supervisor of the archives, the “secularis notarius”. Then in 1890 the archives were transferred from Miskolc to Sárospatak and merged into the archives of the college. The united archives of the church district and the college were arranged by Benő Zsoldos grammar school teacher, who worked on it for 22 years. He put the unbound records (83549 items) into strict chronological order, then marked them according to cabinet, drawer and serial number. He prepared the detailed catalogue (directory) of the collection at item level and an index of tens of thousands cards.

In the twentieth century the contemporary material of the College as well as the church district was continuously taken in by the archives, and the fragmentary archives of the dioceses, certain congregations and the Reformed Boys’ Grammar School of Miskolc were placed here, too. The items of the bound material were included into the earlier material according to their subject-matter. The unbound material was not processed by the Zsoldos method, it remained roughly in its original archival order. The archives of Sárospatak market-town and the lesser nobility (1567–1910, 31.80 running metres) were deposited in the church district archives in 1908/1909. Later the material of several other local societies as well as personal inheritances were deposited here, too. All in all 25 greater or lesser family archives were taken in; all of these families were somehow connected with the College.

In 1958 the archives became part of the Scientific Collections of the church district. The collection of the material (especially from the congregations that had lost their independence), the filing of the records and the preparation of archival aids became increasingly more professional and large-scale. These efforts brought positive results after the change of regime, when there was an increased interest in the material of the archives and the other sections of the Scientific Collection, and the number of researches multiplied. From 1999 there is a restoration workshop in the College building, which deals with the preservation of the archival material as well.


Further information:

Address: 3950 Sárospatak, Rákóczi út 1.

Telephone: +36 47 311 057 (Centre), +36 47 314 738 (Archive)

Telefax: +36 47 311 057