Dr. Sándor Kolozsy
THE HISTORY OF THE CSÁNGÓ HUNGARIANS IN MOLDOVA (RUMANIA)
( in condensed version)
With the Treaty of Trianon in 1920, the 1000 year-old borders of Hungary have been altered. This has removed the barrier between two similar Hungarian peoples in Rumania, who live on either side of the Carpathian Alps. These are the Székely Hungarians and the Csángó Hungarians. Whereas the Székelys have always lived in Transylvania, Hungarian territory for over 1000 years, the Csángós lived in Moldova, Rumania.
Today, if a traveller wishes to go from Transylvania towards the east, it is possible, without any particular difficulty or Visa, to journey from the Carpathian Alps right to the Black Sea. Over the Borgoi Pass, beside the Carpathian Mountains, the culture and landscape appear to be almost exactly the same as just before the Carpathians in Székely land. We can see the same mountain scenery, the huge alpine timber mills, sheep grazing and villages with streets of heavily carved timber houses. Only the fashions in clothing show a trace of the Rumanian influence.
These people are the 'Csángós' - in appearance almost exactly the same as the people of Székely land, just west of the Carpathians. This land of the Csángós, east of the Carpathian Alps, was old Cumania, old Moldova. Even to this day, one can still find many Hungarian place names of Hungarian origin. These peoples, from east and west of the Carpathian slopes, in appearance, speech and life style, culture and architecture, are much closer to each other than even the Transylvanian Hungarian and the Hungarian of Hungary. Since early times, these two folk were almost identical. Their style of architecture, slate roofs on heavily carved wooden cottages and heavily carved decorated Székely gates, is the same. The Csángó dialect in speaking the Hungarian language is almost identical to the Carpathian in Transylvania, since they speak the ancient Hungarian version, which has not altered much because of their isolation from the Hungarian motherland.
In Moldova (Rumania today) on the East Side of the Carpathian slopes, at present there are well over 250,000 Hungarian Csangós living. The ancestors of the Csángó ( Mesopotamians, Sumerians, Scythians, Huns, Avars and ancient Magyars of Arpad) have never lived within the 1000 year old Hungarian borders. However they have still managed to preserve their very strong Catholic religion and their ancient Hungarian language. One can still find pure Csángó villages, with a population of many thousand, where even today they cannot speak Rumanian. This isolated large body of Hungarian people in the centre of old Cumania has not only managed to preserve their own language and culture, but they have their own folk tales, ballads and folk songs.
To the traveller, it appears that in this place time has stood still, particularly as over the long centuries, they still use the ancient pure Hungarian language, which proves, together with the historical facts, that the people in the territory have existed here for over 1000 years. Historians and scientists are now compiling data and proof on the existence and origin of these people. Hundreds of books and newspaper articles are appearing on these people -in Budapest and Bucharest. The Rumanian Chauvinist writers are doing everything possible to classify the Moldovan and Multeni Hungarians 'of Rumanian origin'. Hundreds of studies and comments appear in different Rumanian Newspapers in Bucharest.
"This is an unforgivable guilt and crime of our Government leaders, that they still have not managed to completely 'Rumanise' those foreign elements."
"In the heart of Moldova they have left these foreigners for centuries and centuries with their own language and culture." - shouts the Rumanian media.
Some of the Media now even try to prove that the Csángós of Moldova are actually Rumanians, who have become 'hungarianised' during the centuries and in this way, they try to explain the circumstances today, why the 250,000 Moldovan Hungarians do not have any Hungarian speaking schools. They are desperately making every effort to integrate this group of people into the 'great Rumanian nation'. According to Rumanian public opinion - "They are nothing but Rumanians".
But, let us examine and analyse the facts of history, and trace their origins as far as possible. We shall discover who the 'Moldovan Catholics' in Moldova really are.
One fact is clear. The ancestors of the Moldovan Catholics did not journey to Moldova from Transylvania. Right from the early days they were living there, long before the Rumanians came into the land. The Csángos are actually the fragments of the ancient Hun and Avar Empire and it is a historical fact that they were the ancient inhabitants of Moldova. They lived there long before the Moldovan Rumanian 'Vajda' War Lords, whose ancestors wandered from the south, from the Balkans into empty vast territories, which had been devastated by the Genghis Khan Tatar invasion of the 13th Century. History proves that the Csángós are the original inhabitants of Cumania.
To prevent the invasion of this territory of Cumania by foreign people and to protect the Csángós, in 1225 the Hungarian King ENDRE II established a military presence of Hungarian mercenaries and their families, who lived and later intermarried with their Csángó kinfolk.
In 1227, Robert, the Hungarian Archbishop of Estergom, Hungary blessed the first Bishop for this territory - and this was 150 years before the Rumanian principality was formed. This first Kun Bishop, named Theodorik, was a member of the Hungarian order. He spoke Hungarian and spread the Gospel in Hungarian among the Moldovan Catholic Hungarians. During this time, numerous towns and villages developed, and these towns and villages have, from time to time increased in population with kinfolk from Hungary. The Moldovan settlements have served the purpose of protecting the borders of the old Hungarian territory.
As time passed, we discover from church records that six Hungarian Catholic
Archbishoprics were created in Cumania starting in the
1227 Milkov diocese.
1252 Szörénytornya diocese.
1371 Szeret diocese.
1382 Kurta de Argos diocese.
1410 Moldva Ganya diocese.
1602 Bakó diocese.
With the exception of Milkov, they no longer exist, as they have passed with history. However, the people who belonged to those Bishoprics, the descendants of the actual ancient inhabitants have still preserved their Hungarian nationhood and language.
Browsing through the centuries, we find that Sigismund of Luxembourg, the Emperor of Rome and King of Hungary launched an attack against the Turks in 1394, with the Rumanian Vajda/War Lord Mircea Batran as ally. Together they succeeded in defeating the Turkish Armies. However, the Rumanian War Lord was horrified by the possible revenge of the Turks, so to please the Turkish Empire, he ambushed Sigismund's retreating Hungarian armies, succeeded in capturing many prisoners of war to take back to Moldova as slaves for his own estate. These new Hungarians soon melted into the existing Csángós.
As we proceed in the history of this area, we will find an extraordinary spate of mass kidnappings, such as in 1467, when the Moldovan War Lord Stefancil Mara fought and won a battle against the Hungarian King Matyas Hunyadi, then seized 10,000 Székely soldiers and carried them down into the heart of Moldova, once more increasing the Hungarian population. Added to this, throughout Hungarian history, we find various catastrophic episodes which have caused an increase in the Hungarian population of Moldova. This region owes much gratitude to the Hungarian population and the diligence of the Hungarian hands, which have made Moldova extremely prosperous in agriculture, animal breeding and vineyards. Cotnoi County Moldova is exceptionally wealthy because of the Csángó population.
In the year 1490 there was a new influx from Transylvania towards the East, at the time of István Báthory, King of Poland and Lord Chief Justice of Hungary. Many thousands of people could not tolerate the harshness of life in Hungary so fled to the East and Moldova. Of course, in 1526 the disastrous war against the Turks once more caused many hundreds to flee from Hungary to Moldova, where they met and joined their kinfolk, once again adding to the native population. In 1599, the first time in recent history, the Vlach War Lord Michael the Great attacked Hungary from the East. Under his command, many thousands of Székelys, Csángos and Magyar soldiers from Moldova and Multeni came back to Transylvania with the hope of resettling once more in their old ancestral lands.
In 1764 in the Székely village of Mádefalva, the Hapsburgs attacked the population and thousands of Székely families fled from the Austrian invasion into Moldova, to their kinfolk.
There are numerous similar circumstances, which we could bring forward from Hungarian history, which bear witness to the Transylvanian Hungarian tragedy. ' In Moldova, there are hundreds of Hungarian origin place names of mountains, rivers, creeks, towns and villages which strongly establish the ancient Hungarian origin.'
But still the Rumanian media and politicians continue to promote their false Daco-Roman origins and preach their own version of history.
"It is an unforgivable crime and sin on the part of our leaders that they still did not 'Rumanise' these foreign elements in Moldova completely!" This is the opinion of the Rumanian Press at Bucharest.
But really, the Rumanian rulers have pursued this dream for quite a long time
now. In fact, let us examine their behaviour from halfway during last century.
For example:- the Csángó Hungarians belong to the Jass/IASI Diocese in Moldova and they live there in total isolation, and in fear they are desperately protecting their strong faith and Catholicism, together with their Hungarian traditions in the pure Hungarian villages, such towns as Bogdán Falva, Fonófalva, Klézse or Szeret. At K. Lutzi, the Jass Archbishopric does everything possible to 'Rumanise' this quarter million people as urgently as they can.
We can find that already in 1881, the Archbishop Jozsef Cahillio of Jass, with the full support of the King Karl Hohenzollern, took under his personal jurisdiction the rearing and training of the secular priests. At this time, a rule was made by the Archbishop of Jass - that the young Csángó students of Theology could only speak to or communicate with their visiting parents in the presence of the prefect of the seminary. As a result of the strongly reinforced use of only the Rumanian language at the Monastery they have succeeded in breeding out a race of young Catholic Hungarian Renegade Priests, who willingly preached with a strong Rumanian Spirit, while in fact they were of Hungarian origin with Hungarian blood coursing through their veins.
So, just over 100 years ago, the pressure on the Csángó began. In 1889, between the 7th and 27th September, a circular letter was dispatched by the Archbishop of Jass, demanding that in every parish and in every church, the prayer must be conducted in the Rumanian tongue, at the various nationality masses. The Csángó Hungarians, with fear and concern, on hearing this distressing news, with requests and letters turned to the Archbishop, to ask permission to sing and pray and praise God in their own Hungarian language, in their own churches.
The abrupt reply from the Archbishop of Jass was uncompromising - "In Rumania, the Rumanian people’s tongue is the Rumanian language. Is it an enemy of the nation, an unlawful act, if somebody wants to speak another language - for instance Hungarian ? I think YES, because if you people are Hungarians, well - return to Hungary where the mother tongue is spoken, but if you are Rumanian, as you really are, because you were born here, then in that case, be ashamed, because you do not know your country's language!"
In Moldova, the situation of the Moldovan Catholic Csángós has not changed for the better at all. In fact as time has passed, the circumstances have become worse. After many years, even today there still does exist a great depression and forced Rumanization, because the subsequent deputy Archbishop at Jass, Moldova, Peter Gergely, has continued to develop the education of the modern renegade priests. He, himself, was born a Csángó Magyar, but he cannot speak Hungarian, does not wish to speak the language and is openly prosecuting and forbidding the use of the Hungarian language. The quarter of a million Moldovan Catholic Hungarians are pleading for their own language speaking priests, but their pleas are falling on deaf ears. The Moldovan Catholic Priesthood today is a renegade priesthood. The fervent ambition of these renegades centres on the fate of the 250,000 Csangó Hungarians, who have lived in Moldova for many, many centuries, applying strong pressure to force them to blend and melt into the large Rumanian nation. The Csángós face the same fate as their kinfolk - the Hungarians in Transylvania. We find that in Moldova 'the word of a Priest or a Bishop is the word of God.'
"If the Priest says that you are Catholic, then you are Catholic, nothing else but Catholics. If he says that you are Rumanian, then you are Rumanian, and nothing else but Rumanian."
This Renegade priesthood in the past was working together with the Rumanian leader Ceausescu, hand in hand, towards a mutual goal, for the same cause - for the "Great Rumania" and now they continue to cooperate with the present Government. The chauvinist Rumanians even dominate religion also, and they will decide who will live and who will perish. According to them "Rumania belongs to the Rumanians, and in this land every other element must perish."
For this reason, they do not want to keep it before their eyes, they do not want to acknowledge or even consider the other nationalities who were living there much earlier, or to make any effort to live together in harmony. According to their plans, everything and everybody that is not Rumanian must disappear forever. The interesting truth is that until the 19th Century, there never existed such a country as Rumania. Still, in spite of this and the historical facts, according to them "only Rumanians have the right to live in Rumania."
For them, everything foreign, the descendants of the ancient inhabitants also, must be assimilated or removed and yet Rumania as a country has only ruled Moldova for just over a century. These actions and behaviour of the Rumanian Chauvinist answers the question of why the Hungarian Csángó do not have their own Hungarian speaking schools in Moldova. The teachers and lecturers do enforce the rules, with violent physical punishment for the students, if they, by accident use a Hungarian word, even in the street. The Rumanian Police also behave without mercy to those people who even by accident may have contact or help from Hungarian tourists or visitors from over the border. We can quote numerous facts about these unfortunate people, when they were assisting the historians and anthropologists to collect material for the Csángó History.
Letters are coming by the hundred from Moldova, from the Csángó Hungarians, who are desperate, begging for the helping hand of the free world, before their final hour, before they are totally lost from the human race. In the meantime, the Rumanian Government does everything possible for the "Great Rumania". They do not hesitate to use whatever tools are necessary to reach their ultimate goal. They even use those renegade Catholic Hungarian Priests, who are more easily able to persuade those pure innocent souls. The Rumanian Government does abuse the fact that the Csángó Hungarians are extremely superstitious, but pure in heart, and with a humble attitude, they listen to the words of their Priests and without any question, they listen and follow the teaching of the priests in simple trust and faith.
The Rumanian Government takes advantage of the slogan "the Priest's word is the Word of God". Unfortunately, it is a sad fact that these Renegade Priests are only serving the chauvinistic Rumanian Government. They only serve and promote the "Great Rumania". Even last year, when some of the Csángós travelled over the mountains to Transylvania in order to worship God in their own language in their own Hungarian church, when they returned to their homes in Csángó land, the Rumanian Priest cursed them in the church and said to them, 'You are nothing but descendants of SATAN.'
And the Rumanian Government, in the first week of July 2002 in the City of Jass in Moldova organised an International Forum for United Europe Cultural Committee and some of the so called foreign Csángó experts and, with the presentation of falsified history, the Rumanian Government tried to prove to the world that " The Hungarian speaking Csángós in Moldova Rumania are nothing but Hungarianised Rumanian origin."
We cannot allow this situation to continue without protest. Let us turn together to our own political leaders, to do everything possible to stop the destruction of the fast disappearing Csángó nation. We must save the Csángós from Annihilation.
Dr. Alex Sándor Kolozsy, CDVA
Transylvanian World Federation, Sydney Branch.
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Italy Friday 29th April, 2005
Most Holy Father,
REQUEST FOR HUNGARIAN SPEAKING CATHOLIC PRIEST
FOR THE CSÁNGO HUNGARIANS IN MOLDOVA.(RUMANIA)
First of all please accept my sincere good wishes for Your Holiness selection as The Pope under Holy Spirit guidance! I am asking the Good Lord to bless Your Holiness and the work and provide good health, strength and wisdom, so on this earth with its chaos, battles and turmoil, unlucky people and nations can turn to Your Holiness for solving their problems with wise decisions.
And now, as I remember the struggles and evils of this world, I would like to draw Your Holiness attention to middle Europe, Rumania, the Carpathian Mountains East side slopes- to the Moldovan Csango Hungarians, with over more than 1000 years of ancient Hungarian history. Even today, in their own Catholic Churches they are not allowed to pray or worship God in their Hungarian language mother tongue.
This area was not part of Hungarian territory, but just outside the borders. However Moldovan Hungarians have lived there for over 1000 years, during 1800's the population reached 450,000 people, today still around 250,000.
According to the chauvinistic Rumanian authority, since 1864 newly created Rumania, "Rumania is only for the Rumanians." "Mare Rumania"..." is the dream of Great Rumania which means that everything not Rumanian must perish."
Rumanians follow the Greek Orthodox but the Moldovan Csango are traditionally Catholic. Even today we find that between the Rumanian speaking Catholic Priests, some of them also local Renegade Csango Hungarian origin, but all still faithfully serve the Rumanian Government, so terrorize the Moldovan Csango Hungarian population. In spite of this persecution these faithful Catholic followers have never given up the hope, faith and love for their Church and for their own language, Hungarian.
To help overcome this problem, during the last several years the Csango make a religious pilgrimage in large numbers. Carrying the crucifix, flags and painted saints in a traditional Catholic procession, they climb over the Eastern Carpathian mountains into the Szekely (Hungarian) villages of Transylvania, such as "Csiksolyom," where among very large crowds from the various parts of large Hungary and from exile, the faithful gather to spend days in prayer, songs, worship in their native Hungarian language with Hungarian speaking Priests.
Unfortunately on their return to their homes and villages in Moldova, when they attend Church, they are ridiculed and humiliated by the Rumanian speaking Priests and Church hierarchy in the "JASI Diocese," in front of other Church members, they are accused and cursed, some are excommunicated, told that " whoever has been part of this Hungarian Catholic Pilgrimage in Csiksolyom are all children of the Devil/ Satan!"
In spite of appealing to the Holy Father in the 1980's and 1990's as well as the Csango Hungarian leaders sending numerous Petitions to The Vatican , requesting a Hungarian speaking Priest to say the Mass and give Communion, so they can freely praise the Lord in their own language, in their own Churches, not one positive reply has yet been forthcoming from The Vatican. Unfortunately it is apparant that The Vatican accepts the word of the Rumanian Catholic Priests and Church leaders, who answer only to Bucharest. One of the standard replies to all of us,
"From recent surveys, it appears that the priests, seminarians and faithful "Csango" claim to be Roumanians and do not want religious care in the Hungarian language."
Dear Holy Father,
I appeal for your compassion for these sad people, who are continually facing racial and religious discrimination. At the beginning of this new Century as Rumania is ready to join the European Union, surely the Csango are entitled to the same human rights, to freely worship God in their own language. I intreat you to please look at the website www.csango.ro which I have recently seen. These Csango are not Rumanian by race! They have always been and still are Hungarian origin! On their website one can see their villages, culture, folk costumes, Hungarian language and they are still appealing to The Vatican for a Priest in their own native Hungarian language.
In recent years some Hungarian speaking Catholic Priests from various parts of Hungary and Transylvania have volunteered from time to time to visit the Csango Hungarian villages in Moldova and hold services in private properties, which is not legal, but these people are desperate for worship in their own language so prepared to risk persecution and harassment from the Church Leaders and Rumanian Authorities. One of those outstanding persons is a very dedicated Hungarian Fransican Monk Father Bojte Csaba, who comes from my own birth city of Kolozsvar, Klausenburg or Napoca (today). With general Hungarian support worldwide, Father Bojte has already established a Sunday School in Hungarian language in Transylvania, Deva, Parajd for the Hungarian children and orphans. He is working very hard to establish the same for the Hungarian speaking Csango children at Moldova.
I am asking Your Holiness to pray for them and send Your blessings. Please come to the aid of these faithful Catholic followers, who only ask for a Catholic Hungarian speaking Priest for religious instruction, prayers and Communion in their Hungarian mother tongue, which will strengthen and increase the Catholic Church in Moldova!!!
Dr. Alex Sandor Kolozsy, C.D.V.A.
President of the Transylvanian World Federation, Sydney Branch.
Please study the attached document.
THE HISTORY OF THE CSANGO HUNGARIANS IN MOLDOVA (RUMANIA)