A letter from… Romania
Béla Kató and Gábor Markó report on church property seizure in Romania
Our faith in the rule of law, which has lasted 25 years, vanished today [28 November], when the Ploiesti Court Board renationalised the Reformed Székely Mikó High School, rightful property of the Transylvanian Reformed Church District. By this decision, the Romanian State clearly proclaims that members of the Reformed Church are not subject to the same rights as others in this country. We refuse to be second-class citizens, and we demand the state to define what rights minorities are entitled to. We would not like to find ourselves in the situation of the Saxon population, which during the communist regime became of secondary importance, and were sold out.
We need to reconsider the relationship between Church and state. The loyalty and faith which we nurtured toward the Romanian State in the past years is seriously offended. Our community – approximately 700,000 members of the Reformed Church – was slapped in the face. This is first of all a moral issue for us, of much higher importance than the existence or non-existence of a mere building. This act of re-nationalisation clearly sends the message that in this country the state can take anything from anyone at any time, and severe injustice was committed against those who conscientiously carried out their work.
This issue could be crucial in the near future, because, now this dangerous precedent has been set, all Reformed high schools face the same situation. According to the structure of the Reformed Church, each of its institutions has a separate legal entity, but when the state wishes to deny this truth it will always feign a legal error, allowing it to seize what it wants…
This is an extract from the February 2015 edition of Reform.