200 Years in a Nutshell

Short History of the Calvinist Church in Bucharest

The Calvinist (Reformatic) Community was initiated in 1815 by the pastor Imre Sukei. 

A few years later, in 1819, the community buyed from Boyar Iordache Filipescu, for 1650 piasters, a small house and the surrounding land in the “Fântâna Boului” (Oxes well) neigbourhood.

This land hosted the first church, then the first school in Hungarian language and the parish house, all built during the reign of Voyvod Alexandru Șuțu.

Soon this church turned out to be too small and, between 1860-1865, a larger, basilica-style church was built by the preast Ferenc Koós. The First lady Elena Cuza also participated at the ceremony of laying the first foundation stone, where she held a memorable speech about the spirit of tolerance in the United Principates (Romania’s name at that time), mentioning the many Hungarian freedom-fighters of the 1848 revolution, who eventually found a refuge in Bucharest.

In 1930 the Royal house proposed to buy the church and its land, to extend the gardens of  the Royal Palace. Initially, the community refused the proposal, but after lengthy negociations, on the 30th of January, 1940, the land was expropriated, and the community received, by Appeal Court decision, the sum of 14.942.035 lei. It buyed the land under no.11 Luterana street for 8.700.000 lei and it begun the construction of the Calvineum. But because of the war the building remained unfinished. On the 30th of  December 1947, King Michael abdicated under the pressure of the new, communist regime, and the building was taken over by the state.

In 1959, the Government decided to demolish the church. The Hungarian Calvinist community was left without a church and a parish. The furniture of the church, the pulpit and the seats, as well as the bells, have been moved to a house in Viilor street, turning this house into a church.

In 1972 the communist government permitted the construction of a new church. Following an exchange of land between the Church and the Romanian state, under number 13 on the Luterana street the today’s Calvineum was built. However, the building, placed behind the parish house, was not allowed to be taller than the surrounding buildings, not to be visible from the street. The plans were made by architect Rene Ghelman.

The new church was consecrated on the 31st of October, 1974.

In 2014 we celebrated the 40th anniversary of this event.

Non Nobis Domine, Non Nobis, Sed Nomini Tuo Da Gloriam! Soli Deo Gloria. Not to us, not to us but glory only to Your Name! Glory only to God!