June 14th, 2013

US Congressmen press for return of church property from Romanian gov’t

Twenty US congressmen turned to Secretary of State John Kerry urging him to put pressure on the Romanian government to restitute Hungarian church property confiscated after 1945.

The letter signed by US representatives including Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the chair of the committee for foreign affairs, and Christopher Smith, co-chairman of the US Helsinki Committee, said illegally confiscated religious institutions should be immediately returned in a fair and equitable manner.

“The communist government of Romania confiscated 2,140 schools, hospitals, orphanages and other charitable and civic institutions from the Roman Catholic, Hungarian Reformed, Evangelical Lutheran, and Unitarian churches, as well as 1,980 Jewish communal properties, as well as all properties, including church buildings themselves, from the Greek Catholic Church that it summarily banned,” the letter said.

The congressmen – 13 Republicans and 7 Democrats – asked Kerry to protest against the latest Romanian law on the restitution of church property, which raises from 5 to 10 years the period which churches must wait before coming into ownership of restituted property.

The letter also asks the US government to monitor the case of the Szekely Miko Reformed High School in Sepsiszentgyorgy (Sfantu Gheorghe), in which case on June 28 last year, the Buzau Court of Appeal reversed the original decision of restitution to the Hungarian Reformed Church, fined the church retroactively and sentenced three members of the Romanian Property Restitution Committee to three years imprisonment for performing their duty.

The Romanian supreme court will rule in the case of the three accused on June 27, the congressmen said.

The letter noted that the US House of Representatives had urged already in 2005 that the Romanian government should return confiscated assets to all religious denominations.

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  • Aloof

    Been going on since 2005 and here is the source:

    “It has been 23 years since the fall of communism and the Romanian government has still not restored over half of the 2,140 schools, hospitals, orphanages and other charitable and civic institutions it illegally confiscated from the Roman Catholic, Hungarian Reformed, Evangelical Lutheran, and Unitarian churches after 1945. The state also confiscated 1,980 Jewish communal properties. Now, on April 17, the Romanian Parliament adopted yet a newer law the government drafted without consulting the effected churches, and against their express objection. Then, in another blow to religious liberty, on April 23 the Romanian Parliament adopted a discriminatory law which deliberately omitted return of archival materials to religious denominations confiscated from them in 1974.”

    I mean it’s pretty clear that the intent here is not to just stop at “church property.”

    I mean good luck and all that but the US has jurisdiction here. Hungary should be bringing up these issues with the EU

  • patriot

    did they ask the US gov. to investigate Barna killing by the Hungarian police?
    How about the US Gov. to return the confiscated properties from the native Indians?

    • Daniel

      Hungary may be pissing off the west, but it still holds prestige. Romania? well… I don’t want to rub it in.

      • patriot

        that’s a good one, they piss off the west but still holding prestige!

        I am asking for what? for being the Nr in suicide, paprika production or for 98% of women being whores???

        • Hungarian

          I am sure your mother was in that 98% kibbutz boy. Don’t ask why I know it.

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