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Ökumene ist der
Imperativ des christlichen

Erzbischof Alfons Nossol (Oppeln)

Pro Oriente

Union of Transylvania

From 2001 PRO ORIENTE conducted a research project on the Union of the Orthodox in Transylvania with the Catholic Church (1697-1761). The aim was to critically appraise sources relevant to controversial questions on the emergence and immediate consequences of the Union, and to examine the opposition to it.

2. Tagung Union von Siebenbürgen 2003

Historical Background

After the reauthorization and consolidation of the Greek Catholic Church in Romania after 1989, tensions arose with the Romanian Orthodox. A major reason for the disputes was the ecclesiastical history of Transylvania, especially the painful chapter of the Transylvanian Church Union at the turn of the 18th century. The facts necessary for an assessment of these historical events have been known for a long time. However, history books have usually discussed them in an unbalanced manner. From 1989 the question of the "Unions" has put a strain on the work of the official Roman Catholic-Orthodox Dialogue Commission.

Along with Univ.-Prof. Dr. Ernst C. SUTTNER, a long-standing member of this Commission, the Foundation PRO ORIENTE was convinced that developing a shared view of the historical events based on scholarly methods would be beneficial for an ecclesiological assessment of the unions. At Prof. SUTTNER's suggestion, PRO ORIENTE established a research group comprising around 20 historians and theologians from the Orthodox, Greek Catholic, Roman Catholic, Lutheran and Reformed Churches.

Methods and Aims

The aim of the project is to produce a description - jointly recognised by the participating confessions - of the origins, spread, and implementation of the Union of the Romanians of Transylvania with the Roman Catholic Church and the opposition to it.
The research group, comprised of historians and theologians from all the Christian churches of Transylvania, met at several conferences held alternately in Austria and Romania. They sought a balanced and jointly recognised historiography of the events from 1697 (the conquest of Transylvania by the Habsburg army) to 1761 (appointment of a bishop for the non-Uniate Romanians of Transylvania).

Results and Evaluation

While the first encounter was marked by distrust and criticism, a real dialogue emerged at the second conference (at an unofficial level) in a relaxed atmosphere characterized by mutual respect. Prof. Viorel IONITA, a Romanian theologian and senior staff member of the Conference of European churches (CEC), hailed the second conference as a historic breakthrough for its "healing of memories".

The conference papers were published in Romanian in the Annales Universitatis Apulensis of the University of Alba Iulia (with German summaries).
The project was solemnly concluded with a public presentation of the second volume of conference papers in Vienna in 2016.


Union of Transsylvania

Union of Transsylvania

Privatissimum des Instituts für Theologie und Geschichte des christlichen Ostens

1. Tagung "Union von Siebenbürgen" 2001