The tragic developments in Hungary have involved a large and flourishing Protestant community there. Twenty-eight percent of the population is Protestant; of these, twenty percent are Reformed and six percent Lutheran. They have been suffering with their compatriots in the recent attempt to throw off Soviet domination and gain freedom.
Saga Of Suffering
Suffering is not a new experience for Hungarian Protestantism, however. Its history is a moving tale of glory and of woe. It is glorious because of the eagerness with which a large majority of the population at one time accepted the Reformation of the sixteenth century; because of the centers of learning which it founded and has maintained for centuries; because of its impact upon Magyar culture; and because of its loyalty to the faith through centuries of oppression and persecution. It is a tale of woe because of the almost incredible sufferings imposed upon its adherents by Turk and Romanist who expressed only contempt, in those centuries, for the Word of God and the re-forming people who sought to live by it.
The historian d’Aubigne writes that “it was by a kind of thunderclap that the Reformation began in Hungary.” Its spread was so rapid that within a few years, by 1525, the five royal, free cities in upper Hungary had already embraced the faith re-formed according to God’s Word. The following year, however, the first note was struck in a melancholy strain which threatened to develop into the funeral dirge of Hungarian Protestantism. For on the fateful twenty-ninth day of August, Suleiman the Magnificent, the Turkish Sultan who was to cause all Europe to tremble, killed the Hungarian King, the flower of the nobility, a long line of aristocrats, and ...1
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