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Some key dates

Late 9th century
Hungarians seize the Carpathian basin. The immigrating population is mainly pagan (the Slav population present is already mainly Christian), missionaries both from the Byzantine and the Latin Church are active

Medieval Hungary
996: first Benedictine Abbey (Pannonhalma) founded
1000: coronation of Saint Stephan I as the first king of Hungary, receiving the crown from pope Sylvester II. Establishment of the Kingdom of Hungary, the solid structure of public and church administration are laid down
1182: major Cistersian abbey (Zirc) founded (earlier foundations did not prevail)
1222: Magna Charta, regarded later as a cornerstone of the historic Constitution
1241-1242: devastating invasion of Tatars
1458-1490: under King Matthias the medieval kingdom is at the peak of its power

Turkish wars, denominational disputes
1526: after the Battle of Mohács, Hungary is cut into three parts: while the central part of the country becomes under Ottoman occupation (the capital, Buda falls in 1541), the Principality of Transylvania gains a relative independence and the remaining Kingdom of Hungary becomes part of the Habsburg Empire (the capital becomes Pozsony - today Bratislava, Slovakia)

16th century: Reformation and Counter-Reformation.
1568: act on religious peace in Transylvania (Lutherans, Calvinist, Unitarians and Catholics regarded as received religions, enjoying the freedom of worship)
1635: Cardinal Pázmány archbishop of Esztergom (under Turkish occupation) founds a university in Nagyszombat (today: Trnava, Slovakia; the university was moved to Buda in 1777)

Late 17th century: Turks driven out by the Holy Alliance (Buda liberated in 1686)
1703-1711: fight for independence lost, also Transylvania becomes part of the Habsburg Empire

18th century: enlightened absolutism
1740-1780: Maria Theresa: new dioceses, parish and school structure
1780-1790: Joseph II ("Josephinism") dissolution of monasteries and tolerance for Protestants
1791: act on the tolerance of Lutherans and Reformed

19th century
1825-1848: reform era, national revival (Hungarian replaces Latin as official language in 1844)
1848-49: revolution and war of independence with Austria, ethnic tensions with national minorities, equal citizens’ rights with respect to religion (emancipation of Jews)
1867: with the Austro-Hungarian Settlement in Hungary – having had an independent legal system until 1849 – a parliamentarian form of government is established
1895: act on the freedom of religion, liberal legislation on mandatory civil wedding

Mid-war period
1918: Hungary gains independence of Austria
1919: communist revolt (collapses after four month)
1920: Hungary loses 2/3 of its territory (besides territories inhabited by former national minorities). 1/3rd of ethnic Hungarians become minorities in successor states
1938: beginning of anti-Jewish legislation

World War II
1941-1945: Hungary takes part in World War II as a (sometimes unwilling) ally of Nazi Germany
1944: Hungary occupied by Germany in March. Jewish population deported from rural areas mainly to Auschwitz in May and June

Post-war years
1945: Hungary occupied by Soviets. Democratic forces – backed by the large majority of the electorate – lose space against communists backed by Soviets
1948: Church and private schools nationalized. Cardinal Mindszenty arrested

Communist period
1949: restrictions on religious education
1950: ban on religious orders
1956: national uprising, crashed by Soviet troops, followed by massive repression, the emigration of 200 thousand citizens

Democracy after communism
1990: Free elections. Democracy, rule of law and freedom of religion restored.
2004: Hungary joins the European Union.
2011: New constitution (Fundamental Law of Hungary) and religion law adopted.

D 20 January 2016    ABalázs Schanda

CNRS Unistra Dres Gsrl

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