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Religious composition and contexts in the Czechoslovak Republic

October 28, 1918: Declaration of the independence of the Czecho-Slovak Republic. Slovakia entered it with the Martin Declaration on October 30, 1918. Problem occurred with the organization of church structures. Catholic archdioceses resided in Hungary and did not comply with the border of the new state. Similarly, Lutheran districts did not follow the state borders. However, their organization was more decratic and copied the national structure of the inhabitants. Lutheran congregations in Slovakia gave up voluntarily their autonomy and for the duration of two years handed power (supervision) over the church over to the hands of the new state until the new church constitution, new church laws had been adopted, and church reorganized according to new state borders. German-speaking and Hungarian-speaking Lutherans did not fully accept the new political conditions and organizations and tried to press for the national principle rather than for the territorial principle. In the Greek-Catholic Church, a majority of parishes remained in Zemplin under the management of the Eparchy of Mukachevo, while the rest of Slovakia belonged to the Eparchy of Prešov. Between 1913 and 1920 the bishop Štefan Novák managed the Eparchy of Prešov. He refused to take a vow of loyalty to the new state. Besides, he introduced Hungarian as the language of instruction into church schools. Then, Cyrillic started disappearing from sacral and prayer books and the Roman alphabet with Hungarian phonetics was introduced.

1921-27: Lutheran Church put all its grammar schools and teaching institutes voluntarily under state ownership, mainly for financial reasons.

1928: Modus vivendi between Czechoslovakia and the Holy See regarding the establishment of diplomatic relations (interrupted in 1925), about appointing bishops and adjusting borders of church provinces, orders, and monastic congregations to correspond to the state borders.

1933: Establishment of the Evangelical Lutheran Theological Faculty at the Commenius University in Bratislava.

September 30, 1938: An agreement was signed in Munich, Germany, which allowed Nazi Germany to partially dismember the country by occupying what was called the Sudetenland (a mainly German-speaking region bordering Germany and Austria). The remainder of "rump" Czechoslovakia was renamed Czecho-Slovakia and included a greater degree of Slovak political autonomy. Southern and eastern Slovakia, however, were reclaimed by Hungary at the First Vienna Award in 2 November, 1938. On 18 November, the autonomy of the Slovak country in Czecho-Slovakia was declared. German-speaking Lutherans required an independent church organization within the Lutheran Church in Slovakia.

D 13 October 2020    AMiroslav Tížik

CNRS Unistra Dres Gsrl

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