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Transylvania between the Mongol Invasion


 and the 


Beginning of the Turkish Menace


    Transylvania recovered substantially during the two decades following the Mongol invasion.  Its internal order was peaceful.  Its situation changed after 1260, when Béla IV. gave it to his son, István. Transylvania suffered on account of the almost endless discord between father and son.  Béla IV. died in 1270, and his son ascended the throne  as  István V.    István  ruled only two years, 1270 ‑ 1272.  In spite of his short ruling period, he did not forget about Transylvania.  He rewarded the Székelys of Kézd for their bravery against the Tatars.  They were settled on a depopulated area of Torda County, in the surroundings of Torockó.     

After his death, he was succeeded to the throne by his son, László IV.,who was called Kun László; (1272‑1290).  Under his rule, life in Transylvania was characterized by disorder and anarchy.  The royal rule and laws were replaced by the law of the club and despotism.

The cathedral of Gyulafehérvár was attacked and burned  down by the Saxons on February 21, 1277.  Kun László defeated the invading Cumanians at Hódmezővásárhely in 1282.  The defeated Cumanians fled  to the Nogaj Tatars. While beating a hasty retreat, they devastated Transylvania. 


They returned in 1285 with the Nogaj Tatars.  The Cumanians got as far as Pest.  They were again defeated by the Royal Army.  As a repeat performance, escaping from the king's troops they withdrew with large booty across Transylvania.  On their way out  they found time to destroy Beszterce and Kolozsvár.  At the fortress of Torockó they were caught and badly beaten by the Székelys.  The Székelys  also destroyed another group, before they could leave Transylvania. 

The Cumanian raids did not end despite their defeat by the Székelys.  The Pope proclaimed a Crusade against the Cumanians.  The decisive battles of the war between the Crusaders and the Cumanians were fought in Transylvania.  The anarchy and chaos did not end until the death of László IV. in 1290.

László IV's successor, Endre III. (1290‑1301) travelled across Transylvania in 1291.  He convoked the Parliament along with the Transylvanian estates at Gyulafehérvár.  In a document he reinforced the nobles, the clergy, and the Saxons in their rights. 

Endre published another notable document, in which he mentions the Vlachs along with the nobles, Székelys and Saxons.  Several Rumanian historians came to the false conclusion that the Vlachs possessed equal rights with the Hungarians, Székelys and Saxons and were considered an emancipated nation during the period that the House of Árpád ruled, and they participated in the political and constitutional life of Transylvania as well. 

The historical facts, however, show that the participating Rumanians in the assemblies were  witnesses rather than legislators.  They were supposed to testify to whether it was the truth or not, that the properties of Fogaras and Szombathely really belonged to Master Ugrin.  The assembly in question was not legislative but judicial.  In the next year Vlachs, were not invited to the Parliament where Transylvanian nobles, Székelys, Saxons, and indeed the Cumanians participated.     


The document of Endre III., dated 1293, casts light upon why the Rumanians were not invited to the Hungarian or  to the Transylvanian Parliaments.  “Being forced by the regime's interest, with the agreement of the magnates, we order that all the Vlachs, residing on anybody's property, should be driven back to our royal property named Székes. Exempted are those sixty households, who were authorized to settle down by László IV, in Fülesd and Énőd, on the properties of the chapter of Gyulafehérvár.” 

This document shows   –  without the slightest doubt – that only the king and persons authorized by the king could give the immigrating Rumanians permission to settle down.  At this time only the churches   and bishops were allowed to colonize.  The landowners did not yet have the right to harbor Rumanian immigrants.     

On the basis of the above mentioned documents, it may be stated that the Rumanians were very small in number  under the rule of the House of Árpád.  Therefore, because of this fact, they could not be equal to the other three nations of Transylvania, the  Hungarians, the Székelys and the Saxons.  As we have already mentioned in Chapter 4., Megleno-Rumanians and  Arumanians came from the Balkans and occupied the area of Cumania from which those  40,000 Cumanian families were settled in Hungary; they then spread  over the entire Cumania. 

The newly settled people were Greek‑Catholic (Orthodox) with Slavonic liturgy.  King Károly Robert founded the voivodeship of Ungro‑Vlachia in 1324, based on the Cumanians, Germans and resettled Hungarians in addition to the immigrated Vlachs.  The name of Ungro‑Vlachia changed later to Muntenia, in Hungarian: Havaselve (Havasalföld).  The  first voivode of the voivodeship was Basarab, who was already in 1324 “Wallachia's only great voivode and ruler”.     

 Lajos the Great (1342‑1382) organized the feudal voivodeship by the name of Kara Bogdania,  the later Moldavia. It was located in the northern territories of  Cumania, between the eastern slopes of the Carpathian mountains   and the right bank of the Prut River. By the request of Lajos the Great, the Pope founded the third Catholic episcopacy at Curtea de Argesen, in Havasalföld (Wallachia), in 1382.  


   According to the order of January 29, 1322 by King Károly Robert, the abbacy of Kerc(xxii) was placed under the protection of the King due to the “evil attacks”. 

In Chapter IV.  of her book, Maria Holban dealt in detail with the argument, which had taken place between the Transylvanian Bishop and the provost of Szeben. The provost was supposed to fill the provostship's recently vacated position.   On pages 262 - 263,  Holban explained in detail that the abbacy of Kerc had not been endangered  by the peasants or by the actions of the Rumanian Greek‑Catholics.  The Transylvanian Archbishop  sent an encyclical letter on November 14, 1343, in which he encouraged the people to hand back the abbacy's stolen properties and other goods, and advised them not to interfere in the affairs of this abbacy (situated on the farthest border of the Hungarian kingdom). Not even from this letter may one conclude that  the Rumanians rioted against the abbacy.       

Maria Holban also demonstrated that the abbacy of Kolozsmonostor had been attacked by Rumanian and Hungarian peasants from the  neighboring estate, not by those who had been living on the abbacy's property.  Why were only the Hungarian Catholic abbacies the targets of riots and peasant revolts?  Why were only the abbacies  of Kerc and Kolozsmonostor attacked?  Why didn't the peasants turn against  Rumanian churches, monasteries or abbacies? 

Another  very important  question can be asked.  Why did Maria Holban write about the Rumanian‑Hungarian, Transylvanian‑Rumanian‑Hungarian connections of the 13th‑14th centuries?  Why did she not  write about such connections, for example,  in the 10th‑11th or the 11th‑12th centuries?  This  would be more relevant in the efforts to prove  the Daco‑Roman Continuity Theory.     


On the basis of the 1332 and 1337 Papal Tithe Collector's list, in his work mentioned above, Péter Pál Domokos (p.60) showed the religious composition of the people living in Transylvania on the territory of the Transylvanian Bishopric.  By that time, the rule of the Árpád's had just ended with the rise of the Anjou House. According to these data, 310,000 Hungarian Székelys, 21,000 Saxons and 18,000 Rumanians lived in Transylvania [61]. The low number of Vlachs suggests that  they could not have been present among the  conquered or surrendered  people in the time of Árpád's conquest of Hungary, and  could scarcely have had any cultic places or church organizations. Even if they had been present, their number would have been insignificant.  With the knowledge of these data we have to dispute the statement of the Rumanian historian Radu Popa.  He said that during the 11th and 12th centuries “...headquarters, fortified courts, chapels and small monasteries, serving as spiritual centres [62] had been built by Roman Kenez families” in Máramaros, Fogaras, Bihar, Bánság and Hátszeg (Hunyad county). The statement's indefensibility was also felt by the author, who added:  “...these wooden buildings were rebuilt as stone and brick buildings during the 13th-14th centuries.”

As regards Máramaros, any such building is excluded by the fact that the Rumanians did not immigrate there until the  last quarter of the 13th century.  The old Russian chronicles tell us that László IV. (Kun László), being afraid of another Mongol invasion, asked for help from Rome and Constantinople in 1284‑85. After evaluating his request, a large army was sent to him by Constantinople from the Ibar region,  (in present day Serbia).  These Vlachs,  fighting together with the Hungarians,  defeated the Mongols  in the upper Tisza valley.  Since they did not want to return to their homeland, the king settled them in Máramaros.(xxiii) 

We know from a document dated 1335, that Mikola's son, voivode Bogdan  settled with his Rumanians in Máramaros as frontier guards against the Mongols.  They emigrated from here to Moldavia in 1348; moving slowly towards the south, they met the Rumanians living in Wallachia. 


Beginning with the early 15th century, they occupied the territories which later (after 1859) were called Rumania (the United Principalities) and  became a politically distinct nation.  That is the reason why the Rumanian cultic places appeared 2‑3 centuries   later than the Hungarians'.  Radu Popa's statements would probably be true, if he had referred to the Ibar Region in Serbia.  It may be enough to refer to Romulus Dianu's work, in which he said that the monastery in Peri (Körtvélyes) in Máramaros county,  had been built in 1391,  at the end of the 14th century, and was  a donation of voivode Dragos  [63].     In the same writing of Romulus Dianu, the author mentions that the Transylvanian Greek‑Catholics (Orthodox) were considered schismatics – heretics – by the “Papal Princes”.  “The Bishops of Buda forbade the Rumanians the building of  churches in the towns.  This sentence of 1279 had a binding force of law until 1848” [64].  It is our duty to stop here, and enlighten Dianu's superficial reasoning and  baseless assertions.     

It can be determined that Buda did not have any bishops, not even one.  Philip of Fermo, Papal legate convoked a council in the Castle of Buda in  September, 1279.  Dianu might have been referring to this event.  The council's primary goal was the correction of the life and morals of the Polish‑Hungarian churchmen and laymen, “ order to  protect the Catholic faith and clerical freedom” [65].


Dianu sarcastically condemned the “Papal Princes” and the “Bishops of Buda“.  The plain truth is that Philip was Bishop of Fermo, therefore he did not live in Hungary, nor was he a Hungarian.  He was neither “Papal Prince” nor “Bishop of Buda“.  The council's verdict “...dealt mainly with the third estate, its tasks and the observance of the church services.”  Paragraph No. 126. deals really with the schismatical priests and the authorization of the houses of prayer and chapel buildings they wanted to erect, but not in the form as presented by Dianu.  He wrote that “the Bishop of Buda had forbidden the Rumanians to build churches in the cities.”  Such a resolution was not passed by the council.  The resolution did not say a word about the Rumanians.  It simply ordered that a schismatical priest should not be allowed to “deliver divine service” in the Catholic Church, and that the schismatics could only build their temples with the authorization of the diocesan bishop.  There is no word of Rumanians, cities or prohibition of church buildings. The resolution disposed of the building of houses of prayer and of chapels, not churches.   According to Dianu, the resolution had binding force of law until 1848.  If this had  been true, “schismatical” Rumanian churches could not have been built – for example – in Kolozsvár in 1797, in Marosvásárhely in 1811-1814, etc.








Transylvania During the Times


of the Turkish Expansion



     During the reign of Nagy Lajos (1342‑1382), a menacing power appeared in the Balkans, the Ottoman Turks.  Turks endangered Hungary as well as the whole of Central Europe.  Realizing the danger, the King paid special attention to Transylvania.  He stayed there from April to August 1366.  He strengthened the Charters of the seven Saxon Seats.  He visited  every  important place in the Székely territory.     

Under the  reign of Nagy Lajos (Louis the Great), the  number of Vlachs increased considerably. He permitted the Vlachs to settle not only on the royal, episcopal and prebendal properties, and ruled that also the  cities and the  landowners  should have the right to allow immigrating Vlachs to settle.  In July of 1366, the Parliament gathered in Torda.(xxiv) According to the royal document, which summarized the orders of the Parliament, the public security was in constant jeopardy. The public law and order were extraordinarily bothered by the Vlachs, living in chaotic circumstances.  The King gave officials a free hand to kill off the “evil‑doers”.    


The King visited Transylvania in 1377 for the last time. He convinced the Saxons in Brassó to reconstruct Törcsvár, (xxiv) and to always take care of the fort's defenses. In return, he transferred the authority over the  villages of the Barcaság from the Székely sheriff  to Brassó.  He donated Erdőfelek  (Feleacu) with its Vlach dwellers to the city of Kolozsvár. He took all these actions knowing that  Transylvania was the south-eastern stronghold of the Hungarian Empire, the supporting pillar of the Hungarian  power politics towards the Balkans.  After the death of Lajos the Great, his oldest daughter, the eleven‑year‑old Maria inherited the Hungarian throne, but the king's widow, Elizabeth ruled.  She was killed by some aristocrats, who were dissatisfied with her rule. 

Maria, fiancee of the Prince of Luxembourg, was imprisoned.      Zsigmond led his armies to free his fiancee.  In 1387, he was crowned the Hungarian king by the nobles, faithful to Maria (1387‑1437).     

These events prompted the Wallachian voivode, Mircea, and the Moldavian voivode, Peter, to break away from the Hungarian kingdom and surrender to the Polish king (1380).  One of Zsigmond's tasks was to get the voivodes back in line. Mircea surrendered on his own, while Stefan, who followed Peter as the Moldavian voivode, was forced to surrender.

 The period of Zsigmond's reign was  critical  in the history of Transylvania.  During the first decade of his reign, the Turks conquered the Balkans. A little later, the Turks  started to threaten, and then annexed the Vlach  voivodeships.

 After the Battle of Rigómező (Kosovo), (1389) the Bulgarian, Serb and Bosnian rulers, still cooperating with the Hungarians, had to realize that their power and country could be saved only if they maintained good relations with the Turks.  The neighboring Rumanian voivodeships also had to engage in the way of equilibrium politics.     The Turks  first annexed Wallachia, and somewhat later Moldavia.  This circumstance led to further deterioration in the relations between the Rumanian voivodeships and Hungary.     


In 1396,  in the battle of Nikápoly, Zsigmond's army of 90.000 men was defeated by Sultan Bajazid's army.  After this battle, the Rumanian voivodes showed more willingness to maintain better relations with the Turks than the Hungarian king – because of religious reasons. The Turks required only political submission, taxes, loot and in case of war, troops to support.  They did not attack the religion of the voivodeship's people.  They did not want to convert them to Mohammedanism.  The proviso of the Hungarian king's assistance and aid was all the time the conversion to the Roman‑Catholic Church.  The Hungarian Anjou kings' diplomacy always sharply opposed the Greek Orthodox religion.  Lajos the Great's every effort tended towards the conversion of the Greek‑Orthodox Vlachs, in a peaceful way if possible, to recognize the Papal authority and unite them with the Roman‑Catholic Church. 

The Hungarian kings committed themselves to the spread of Roman‑Catholicism so deeply, that Catholicism was considered a “Hungarian religion” by the people of Eastern‑Europe and the Balkans, at least after King Imre's reign (1196‑1204) [66].     

In order to gain their goodwill, the Vlach voivodes turned the Turks' attention to Transylvania.  The first Turkish army broke into Transylvania in 1420, under the instigation of Dan, Wallachian voivode.  The Székelys and the Saxons resisted, but were defeated by the Turks’ numerical superiority.  The Turks destroyed Brassó and ravaged the Barcaság and Háromszék. (The Barcaság was inhabited by Saxons, Háromszék by Székelys.)     

The Hungarians started to take precautions against the Turks in the period that came after the Battle of Nikápoly. They fortified the southern borders.  At the news of the Turkish approach the forts' significance, primarily the ones capable of harboring large groups of people, grew among the defending Székelys and Saxons.  Where there were  few forts, a whole range of Székely and Saxon church fortresses formed a defense line [67].  There are no reports about Vlach churches having been  included among these.

The fortified castles and churches saved the material possessions of the village people in addition to the protection of their lives.  Within the walls, the defending families had their own chambers where they could put their valuable goods and food in a safe place.


Although the presence of Vlachs was a fact at the beginning of the 13th century in the Southern‑Carpathian area, there are no data regarding  fortification of Vlach churches  or castles. It all points to the fact that the  small  number of Vlachs, who had just recently became farm hands, were used only as soldiers  for defending the castles of the landowners.   

The appearance of the Turkish Army on the  southern borders of Hungary brought about different kinds of fortresses (royal, noble, and peasant).  The fortified churches  and castles played an important role in the country's defense.  Thick, high,  stone walls, bastions and towers were built around the  churches, turning them into real fortresses.     The building of Transylvanian forts,   and the fortification of the stone churches meant defense for the Vlach voivodes, too.  They were given a chance to increase their strength.  Among the owners of castles in Transylvania, we can also find several Wallachian and Moldavian voivodes. As vassals of  the Hungarian kings and the Transylvanian voivodes, several of them were given  castles in Transylvania, as will be shown in the next chapter.







Transylvanian Fiefs of Vlach (Rumanian) Voivodes;

 Rumanian Cultic Places   



   In the  13th‑16th centuries,  the voivodes of neighboring  Wallachia (Havaselve) and Moldavia were vassals of the Hungarian king, sometimes also of the Transylvanian vajda,  with shorter or longer interruptions.  (Transylvania, before it developed into a Principality, was governed by Hungarian royal governors,  vajda-s [voivodes]). In the Feudal System   the lord gave  an estate to his vassal who enjoyed the benefits of it as long as he fulfilled the obligations of the relationship.  The feudal lord  counted on the vassal's services in peace, as well as in wartime.  The vassal was obliged to give military service in addition to the mandatory hospitality and taxes, paid mainly in agricultural products and animals.     

We have to survey the contemporary history of Wallachia and Moldavia to get more information about the allegiance between the Vlach voivodes and the Hungarian kings.     

The Mongol invasion in 1241 basically changed the political conditions in south-eastern Europe.  The Tatars entrenched themselves in the western and north‑western coastal districts of the Black Sea, in the former principality of Kiev, in Moldavia, and in the eastern territories of the second Bulgarian Empire.  They swept away the Cumanians, and destroyed most of Hungary. After they settled down in the territories mentioned, they continued to raid their neighbors, Hungarians and Vlachs alike [68].     


Béla IV. tried to keep the Mongols far from the borders of Hungary.  In Transylvania, he reorganized the Székely borderguard  units. He built strong  fortresses, and made efforts to strengthen the southern borders.  In  Szörény, the power of the bán  (warden of the southern approaches  of Hungary) proved to be weak in keeping the Tatars away.  That is why the King donated the Banate of Szörény,(xxv) with its neighboring territories, to the Johannite Order of Knights, and considered the whole  of Wallachia to be his fief.  The papacy agreed with the Hungarian King's southern expansion.  With the Hungarian expansion, the Pope cherished the hope of further Roman‑Catholic gains.     

The Turk menace, however, approached. The  Turks secured a firm foothold on the Balkan Peninsula, and also endangered the security of Wallachia.  The voivodes of Wallachia built up family ties and friendly relationships with the Bulgarian and Serb rulers.  The Turk expansion could have been stopped only by an alliance of the South Eastern European peoples.  The Papacy  and the Hungarian foreign policy – influenced by  religious considerations,  were obstacles to such unity.     

Lajos the Great's Catholicizing foreign policy on the Balkans, with the unquestionable intention towards the political influence behind it,  brought only sham results.  With his campaigns he only weakened the people of the Balkans and made it easier  for the Turks to expand towards the yet free Balkan states, as well as towards Hungary.     

Greek‑Orthodoxy successfully resisted the Hungarian Catholicization   In 1359 the first Greek‑Orthodox arch-bishopric was founded in Wallachia.  The Greek Kritopulos Hiakintos was named  the head of this, and he called himself the  Archbishop of Ungro‑Vlachia, i.e. of Havasalföld (Wallachia).  The foundation of the first Wallachian archbishopric was soon followed by the establishment of the Greek‑Orthodox episcopacy of Szörény.  Orthodox monastery buildings were constructed.  Abbay Nicodim, who immigrated from Serbia to Wallachia, founded the monastery of Vodita and later the famous monastery of Tismana.  


   In the 13th century, the northern part of the other Vlach province,  Moldavia, developed as part of the principality of Kiev.  Later it belonged to the sphere of the principality of Galicia. The Mongols subjugated most of the Russians.  Moldavia was also under Mongol dominance, from where the Tatars often broke into and robbed throughout the Transylvanian cities.

In 1345, Lajos the Great, whose reign made possible the country's military strengthening,  cleaned Moldavia of the Mongols. When the Tatars were ousted, the King organized a military border zone for the defense of Transylvania.  The center of the new frontier zone was Baia.  Dragos, the voivode of Máramaros,  who participated in the fighting, was placed at the head of it.  He was the first voivode of Moldavia  under the federal authority of the Hungarian King. Moldavia lived under such authority until 1359, when voivode Bogdan came into power.   Bogdan ousted voivode Balk, vassal of the Hungarian King and founded the first independent Vlach principality.     

In this period, the territory of Moldavia became well defined.  The international trade played a very important role in its strengthening.  The Hungarian King as well as the Polish King was interested in the security of such trade.  The tax income and material interest, related to such commerce made understandable the ambitions of the Hungarian and Polish kings toward the feudal rule of Moldavia. 

Since Poland could more firmly enforce its influence over Moldavia because of its geographical location, after the death of Bogdan, those in power in Moldavia soon recognized the suzerainty rights of the Polish king.     The rulers of Moldavia protected themselves with the well tested methods of Wallachia against the Catholicizing ambitions of the Polish kings. They, like the Wallachian rulers, organized the Greek‑Orthodox Church. The first monastery was built with the financial  assistance of the ruler Peter Musat (1375‑1391) in Neamt.  The construction was carried out by the monks of the Serbian Archbishop, Nicodim, who had already established the basis of the cloistered life in Wallachia. [69]


In both voivodeships, the Vlach leadership helped with the organization of the Greek‑Orthodox Church against the spread of Catholicism, and the political influence of the Hungarian and Polish kings, for the defense of their country's independence.  They spared neither their monetary nor political assistance.  In exchange and recognition, the Orthodox Church rendered strong assistance against the discordant feudal aspirations and popular movements.     

The kenézships and voivodeships were united by Basarab, who was already in 1324 “the only voivode and ruler of all Wallachia“. He also occupied the Banate of Szörény.  He came into conflict with King Károly Robert, who had been his suzerain and had supported his wars against the Mongols.  The King started a military campaign against Basarab, but was badly beaten in 1330, near the village of Posada.  Even though the castle of Szörény remained in Hungarian hands, Basarab's victory ensured the Wallachian independence. 

A couple of years later, Basarab could not avoid joining the Hungarian King again, due to the looming Mongol danger.  After the death of King Károly Robert, the feudal relationship was restored with the kings' successor, Lajos the Great. 

During the time of Basarab's grandson, Vladislav, the Hungarian‑Wallachian relationship further improved.  The King gave the castle of Szörény to Vladislav and donated the estates of Transylvanian Fogaras and Omlás to him. Vladislav recognized the Hungarian King as his suzerain.  At the cost of feudal relationship, the Wallachian  reigning prince, even as vassal of the King, gained a foothold into the Eastern part of Hungarian Transylvania with his household; nobles, serfs and slaves.    

 The development of both principalities was markedly hindered by the Turkish advance and conquests.  Almost immediately after the establishment of the states, the fight against the  invading Turks began.     


After their victorious battle of Rigómező (Kosovo-polje) in 1389, the Turks posed the most immediate danger to Havasalföld (Wallachia), whose voivode was Mircea cel Batrân (Old Mircea).  In 1394, a  large Turkish army began to occupy Havasalföld under the leadership of Sultan Bajazid.  Mircea could not defeat the Turks, but repulsed them in the famous battle of Rovine.  Mircea withdrew and escaped to Transylvania, where he formed an alliance with Zsigmond of Luxembourg (1368‑1437, Hungarian king from 1387) in Brassó to push back the Turks.  Under the terms of the treaty, Mircea recognized Zsigmond and the Hungarian kings in general, as his suzerain.     

In the meantime, the Turks annexed Havasalföld (Wallachia) and appointed a pro‑Turk voivode.  Zsigmond, fulfilling the conditions  of the treaty, hastened to the help of Mircea.  They together defeated the pro‑Turk voivode in 1395.  Mircea regained his position.     

King Zsigmond gathered an army of crusaders in 1396.  He tried to oust the Turks from the Balkan Peninsula, but was badly defeated at Nikápoly .(xxvi)  Mircea pulled back his troops north of the Danube and prepared himself to fend off the Turkish attack.  He was successful.  He defeated the Turks two times, in 1397 and 1400.     

The Turks occupied two fortresses of Mircea, the fortress of Turnu Magurele and Giurgiu along the Danube in 1416.  In spite of the new Turkish pressure, due to other pressing problems, King Zsigmond neglected his previous alliance.  He used all his might to carry out his Western plans.  Mircea made a pledge to pay yearly taxes to the Turks –  the independence of Havasalföld (Wallachia) ended.  Turkish raids occurred more frequently along the Hungarian borders.  The Turks conquered Fort Galambóc in 1428, and Fort Szendrő in 1439.     

The Turks now menaced the other Vlach voivodeship also, Moldavia. Voivodes Alexandru cel Bun (Alexander the Good, 1400‑1432), and Petru Aron (1451‑1457)  were fighting the Turks with alternating luck.  Finally, in 1456, voivode Aron declared Moldavia a country under the authority of the Turks.  Moldavia became the feudal principality of the Turks.    



Voivode Stefan cel Mare (Stephen the Great, 1457‑1504) did not resign himself to the situation. In one and a half decade, he made Moldavia one of the most important states of southeastern Europe.   In his foreign policy, he aimed to ensure Hungarian and Polish help against the Turks. [70]. He defeated the Turkish army with Hungarian and Polish assistance in 1475 at Vaslui, but was defeated in 1476 near Razboien.  After his loss, he marched to the north behind the line of strong Moldavian castles. Facing the united Rumanian-Hungarian army, the Sultan retreated.  He even had to give up Havasalföld (Wallachia). 

Eight years later, a war broke out between the Hungarian king, Mátyás (Mathias) (1458 - 1490) and the German Emperor.  King Mátyás was forced  to conclude a peace treaty with the Turks, who, profiting from the occasion, immediately annexed the two big trade centers of Moldavia, the cities of Chilia and Cetatea Albǎ. 

Voivode Stephen was still able to destroy two Turkish armies in 1485 and 1486, but he could not achieve more significant results.  The forces of Moldavia were not enough to resist the military might of the strengthened Turkish Empire.  The ruling prince made efforts to establish an anti‑Turk coalition.  He started  negotiations with King Mátyás.  Mátyás gave him two Transylvanian forts, Csicsó and Küküllővár, to flee to in case he was defeated in a battle.  Thus another Rumanian  ruler, with all his household, nobles, serfs and slaves, won a foothold in the eastern part of Transylvania. 

King Mátyás died in 1490. The country was in decay.  In spite of the Hungarian help, voivode Stephen recognized  the Polish king as his feudal lord.     


During the time of Stephen's descendants the Turkish pressure increased.  There were twenty‑six transfers of sovereignty  in the principality during a hundred‑year period. There were only two extraordinary persons among the rulers. Petru Rareş (1527‑1538), ally of János Szapolyai and Ioan Vodǎcel Viteaz (voivode John the Gallant), who ruled between 1572 and 1574.  John liberated  Brǎila in Havasalföld  (Wallachia). The Sultan, being afraid of an uprising of the Christians living south of the Danube against the Turkish rule, sent 100.000 armed men to Moldavia.  After courageous fights, Voivode John was forced to capitulate.  Despite the treaty, the Turks massacred the prisoners of war and killed the reigning prince. We have already pointed out that Lajos the Great donated the properties of Fogaras and Omlás to Vladislav, the Voivode of Havasalföld (Wallachia).  Fogaras and Sebesvár were owned by Mircea cel Bǎtrin.  On the basis of the treaty with king Mátyás, the owner of Csicsóvár and Küküllővár was Stephen the Great. Later, his successor, Petru Rareş, inherited his possessions.

The Hungarian king János I.  (1526‑1540) donated the entire Beszterce area with the Radna  Valley to Petru Rareş, in addition to the forts of Csicsóvár and Küküllővár.  The voivode founded an Orthodox Episcopacy on his fief at Rév.  The Bishops  came from Moldavia, and governed this Church between 1523 and 1561.  – The Rumanian Orthodox Church of Barcarozsnyó (Rum. Rîşnov) was built with the help of the Wallachian ruler in the 14th century. Mihai Viteazul (Michael the Gallant, 1593‑1601) restored it.

The construction of a stone church began in Brassó in 1495, with the help of Vlad Cǎlugǎrul, Wallachian Voivode. Between 1519 and 1521, this church was enlarged with the assistance of Neagoe Basarab.  Aron Vodǎ, Moldavian ruler, decorated its walls with frescos in 1594.  The building,  erected in   the courtyard of the church, included the old Rumanian School.  The school building replaced an older wooden structure, and was built in 1597 with the monetary help of Aron Vodǎ.  The teaching was in Slavonic (the language of the Rumanian Orthodox Church) before 1559, then it was changed to Rumanian.   The building of Rumanian churches and monasteries continued in Transylvania  with the help and financial assistance of the voivodes of the two Rumanian lands. 


Finally, we have to remember that István Báthory (1533–1586), Transylvanian ruler, founded the Orthodox Episcopacy of Gyulafehérvár. According to a decree of the Parliament, the bishop was elected by the Rumanian priests and approved by the ruler.  The bishop asked – after having received the approval of the voivode – the Wallachian Orthodox bishop of Târgovişte (xxvii) to consecrate him.  After 1577, the Rumanian  Orthodox Bishop of Gyulafehérvár named himself the Orthodox Archbishop of Transylvania.  Every Rumanian Orthodox priest in Transylvania was placed under his authority.     

In the light of these historical facts, it may be stated that the Carpathians did not make pose an obstacle between the Rumanians living in Moldavia, Wallachia and Transylvania.  The present day community of  Rumanian historians tries to forge an argument for the theory of  Vlach continuity in Transylvania from the fact that  Rumanian voivodes, who were in a difficult situation because of the Tatar and later the Turkish attacks, were helped by the Hungarian kings. Most of the time,  this help included granting of temporary possession of land, in exchange for their services as vassals of the Hungarian Kingdom,  and safe haven in times of defeats and temporary setbacks.  Rumanian  historiography dares to elevate the well documented vassal relationship of the voivodes of the two Rumanian states and Hungary, that is the Transylvanian vajda-s and the Hungarian kings, to  the level of “political orientation” and “wider trade relationships”.


It would be enough to mention only one example to refute this statement.  Voivod Mircea cel Bǎtrîn stayed in the Transylvanian city of Brassó as a refugee on March 7, 1395.  He wanted to make an alliance with his feudal lord, the Hungarian King, Zsigmond of Luxembourg, against the Turks.  He had a place to which to flee, because the  Wallachian voivodes had had access to the fiefs of Fogaras and Omlás for more than a hundred years. In return for the use of the estates, the voivodes, as vassals, had to fulfill several services for their masters.  There is no other way to understand this relationship.  It is possible that in retrospect, and by using today’s standards, these centuries of  Hungarian‑Vlach relationship were a  painful period in  the history of the Rumanian people,  but this cannot constitute the basis or cause for deliberate falsification of history.    

Radu Popa refers to excavations in Transylvania carried out in 1964‑65 (p. 7.).  He states that –  although the written sources do not mention  Rumanian semi‑autonomous kenézships and voivodeships until the 13th,  and especially the 14th centuries –  in Máramaros, Fogaras, Bihar, Bánság and Hátszeg, a feudal Rumanian society had existed. According to Mr. Popa, the objects, discovered in the excavations gave evidence of Rumanian court chapels, and small monasteries from the 11th and 12th Centuries.  The construction was financed with the money of  the Rumanian kenéz families.  In the 13th‑14th centuries, these buildings  were reconstructed in stone and brick like everywhere else in Europe.     

Popa, however, did not give any evidence of the existence  of these church centres in the 11th‑12th centuries.  He could not prove that such buildings had been financed by the Rumanian kenéz families.  He did not have any data about the names of the leaders of the church centres.  He was unable to  name a single place where these supposed 11th and12th century chapel or monastery ruins could have been found, even though he was referring to official documents.  If person- and place names did not exist in those official documents – then what did they contain? 

Popa´s assumptions serve only one goal: to date back the origin of the cultic places built in Transylvania during the 13th and 14th centuries to the 11th‑12th centuries, from which period there are  no  relics of Rumanian origin.  He passes over the fiefs and the senior‑vassal relationship between the Hungarian kings, Transylvanian vajda-s (later princes), and the Wallachian and Moldavian voivodes.  However,  these well documented historical facts – not the alleged Daco‑Rumanian Continuity – were the reason that the Carpathian Mountain Chain never stood as a dividing line between the Wallachian, Moldavian and Transylvanian Rumanians, either from the South or from the East.      

The comparison of construction dates of the Hungarian and Rumanian cultic places presents important evidence against  the Theory of Continuity. 



Let us review the construction dates of the cultic places (churches) in  the Transylvanian cities:

(Rumanian place-names in brackets.)


Place:                                     Hungarian:                                Rumanian:

                                                                (Catholic)                                (Orthodox)

Arad (Arad)                                 1139                                        1865

Beszterce (Bistrita)                     1288                                    19th century

Bethlen (Beclean)                    15th century                            19th century

                Bonchida (Bontida)                 13th century                            18-19th cent.

                Brassó (Braşov)*                        1223                                         1495

Fogaras (Fǎgǎraş)                    16th century                            17th century

Fugyivásárhely (Oşorheiu)     13th century                            18th century

Gyulafehérvár (Alba‑Iulia)     11th century                            1600‑1601

Kolozsvár (Cluj-Napoca)       12th century                            1796‑1797

Lugos (Lugoj)                          15th century                                1759

Marosvásárhely                      14th century                                1750


Nagyenyed (Aiud)                  14th century                            20th century

Nagyszeben (Sibiu)                 12th century                            17th century

Nagyvárad (Oradea)                      1093                                        1784

Piskolt (Pişcolt)                       14th century                                1869

Temesvár (Timişoara)                   1323                                        1936

Tövis (Teiuş)                            13th century                            17th century

Vizakna (Ocna Sibiului)*          13th century                            16th century



Note:  the churches marked with * were built by Moldavian or Wallachian voivodes as vassals of the Hungarian King on  their feudal lands in Transylvania.



Several Other ancient Hungarian Church Constructions:


Place:                                                    Built in:


Alvinc (Vinţu de Jos)                        13th century

Aranyosgerend (Luncani)                    1290

Árapatak (Araci)                                14th century

Boroskrakkó (Cricǎu)                        13th century

Bögöz (Mugeni)                                13th century

Csíkménaság (Armǎşeni)                  13th century

Érmihályfalva (Valea lui Mihai)            1284

Gelence (Ghelinţa)                                  1245

Gernyeszeg (Gorneşti)                       13th century

Kerc (Cîrţa)                                              1202

Kisdisznód (Cisnǎdoara)                   12th century

Kistorony (Turnişor)                          13th century


Kolozsmonostor (Mǎnǎştur)              1059‑1063

Magyarvista (Viştea)                           13th century

Marosnagylak (Noşlac)                            1298

Nagycsűr (Şura Mare)                         13th century

Nagydisznód (Cisnǎdie)                      13th century

Réty (Reci)                                             11th century

Székelyszáldobos (Doboşeni)            13th century

Torda (Turda)                                        12th century

Vadász (Vînǎtori)                                   13th century


                                                                                                        Other Rumanian Church Constructions in Transylvania:               

Place Name                                                Built in:


Alsolugas (Lugaşu de Jos)                    18th century

Bánlaka (Banlaca)                                        1700

Demsus (Densuş)                                    13th century

Füzesmikola (Nicula)                                    1700

Kristyor (Criştior)                                         1404

Lesznek (Lesnic)                                      14th century

Lippa (Lipova)                                          14th century

Nagylupsa (Lupşa)                                       1421

Oravicabánya (Oraviţa)                                1872

Pártos (Partoş)                                           14th century

Ribica (Ribiţa)                                                 1417

Szelistye (Sǎlişte)                                       18th century

Sztrigyszentgyörgy (Streisînghergiu)         1313

Zeykfalva (Streiu)                                      13th century




It is interesting to see when the Rumanian churches of Havasalföld (Wallachia) and Moldavia were built.


                                           HAVASALFÖLD  (WALLACHIA)



Place Name                    Cultic Place                   Built in


Buzǎu                         Episcopal church                1500

Cǎciulata                    Cozia‑monastery                1388

Cîmpulung Muscel   Negru Voda monastery    14th century

Curtea de Argeş        ruler's church                     14th century

Horezu                        Varatec monastery             17th century

Piteşti                          ruler's church                      17th century

Rîmnicul Sǎrat           monastery‑church              1691

Snagov                       Snagov monastery             14th century

Tismana                      monastery                           14th century

Tîrgovişte                  ruler's church                       15th century





            Place Name                      Cultic Place                       Built in


Arbore                            church                                16th century

Bacǎu                              church                                15th century

Cotnari                            church (ruins)                    15th century

Dolheştii Mari                church                                    1450

Galaţi                               fortified church                 15th century

Hîrlǎu                              church                                     1492               

Iaşi                                   church                                    1495

Piaţra                               St. János church                    1498

Probota                           monastery                          16th. century

Putna                              monastery                          1466‑1470

Rǎdǎuţi (Bukovina)        church                                14th century

Siret                                church                                     1384

Suceviţa                           church                                     1584

Vaslui                              church                                     1490

Vînǎtor Neamţ                 monastery                               1375

Voroneţ                            monastery‑church                   1488



 On the basis of these data, it can be concluded that the Hungarian Christian churches (monasteries, abbacies) appeared at the beginning of the 11th century in Transylvania. The first church of the Rumanian population  –  the one in Demsus –  was built towards the end of the   13th century, almost three hundred  years after the first Hungarian churches that is, after the Magyar homecoming.     


The oldest Wallachian and Moldavian Christian churches (monasteries)  were built in the second half of the 14th century.  Numerous structures, however, did not follow the first church buildings until the second half of the 15th, and later centuries.  This leads to the conclusion that the Vlachs, infiltrating Transylvania at the end of the 12th century and at the beginning of the 13th century, lived under better, more advanced conditions than those of their brothers living on the northern shore of the Danube.  This is also in accordance with the fact that the Vlachs founded their states several centuries later than the neighboring peoples.

Referring to the history of the Transylvanian Christian cultic places,  we have only pointed out the circumstances that are enough to prove the untenability of the Theory of Continuity.  We do not desire to praise or to disparage anyone or anything.  We only want to state and prove that those, who consider Hungarians to be later arrivals, have proclaimed war upon the historical facts.  Our work proves that the Hungarians made Transylvania theirs on their own.  They fused the people they found there with themselves.  We support the belief that Saint Stephen was an outstanding ruler.  According to the opinion of his times, as well as judged by present day standards, he was a European authority and an apostle of Christianity.  He was the first European ruler  canonized by the Roman‑Catholic Church.     

The Theory of Daco‑Roman Continuity  is untenable and baseless, among other things, because it ignores the basic and decisive question of Christian cultic places in the 10th‑12th centuries.


 Using the construction dates of the Christian cultic places, the existence, or the lack of them, we wanted to prove the falsehood of  such doctrines.  These doctrines, born of political considerations, show a totally misconceived idea of the ethnic picture of the Carpathian Basin in the first half of the 10th century.  “...they revise the Carpathian Basin's political and ethnical relationships in the 10th century by false data and basic errors.”[71] The romantic legend of the  Daco‑Roman‑Rumanian Continuity  serves only political purposes without any scientifically acceptable proof.



61.  Domokos, Pál Péter: op. cit. p. 60.

62.  Popa, Radu: op. cit. p.7.

63.  Dianu, Romulus:  Transilvania eterna. Transilvania, 80/8, p. 61.

64.  Dianu, Romulus:  op. cit. p.60

65.  Pauler, Gyula:  op. cit. Vol. II. p. 357.

66.  Bellér, Béla:  Nagy Lajos és a pápaság. (Louis the Great and the Papacy.) Vigilia, Vol. 49, 1., p. 7.

67. B. Nagy, Margit: Várak, kastélyok, udvarházak, ahogy a régiek látták. (Fortresses, castles, manor-houses,  as Seen by our       Ancestors.) Kriterion Könyvkiadó, Bukarest, 1973, p. 20.

68.  Biró, Sándor: op. cit. p. 19.

69.  Biró Sándor: op. cit. p. 27.

70.  Biró, Sándor: op. cit. p. 53.

71.  Kristó, Gyula: op. cit. p.64.














(xxii) Kerc can be found northeast of the city of Nagyszeben toward the city of Brasso and its abbacy, founded by King Imre (1174-1204) and its sanctuary is now used as an Orthodox church.

(xxiii) Máramaros is a county in the northeastern territory of Historic Hungary.

(xxiv) Torda is a city in Aranyos county in Transylvania.  It is the oldest Hungarian city in Transylvania.

(xxiv) Törcsvár is a village in Transylvania where there was a pass from Transylvania to Havasalföld. Nagy Lajos gave permission in 1377 for its stone castle to be built.

(xxv) The Banate of Szörény is the part of Havasalföld that lies west of the River Olt. It is today Oltenia, which before the Turkish rule was Hungarian territory.  

(xxvi) Today Nikopol, a Bulgarian city on the banks of the Danube.

(xxvii) Tǎrgovişte was the capital of the Havasalföld, the seat of the voivode.