(Hung. Erdély; Ger. Siebenbürgen). Region in NW and cen. Romania. Part of Dacia in Roman times; later overrun by Germanic and other tribes; conquered by Hungarians 1003; soon thereafter, Szeklers (probably akin to Magyars) settled in the east and southeast and Saxons (Germans from the Rhineland and Luxembourg) in northeastern and southern passes; origin and hist. of the Vlachs (after whom Walachia, or Wallachia, was named) is much debated (their authentic hist. begins ca. the end of the 13th c.). Invaded by Mongols 1241. Tributary to the sultan 1540 in reaction against royal Ger. Hapsburgs. Part of Hung. 1867. Made part of Romania 1918/20. N part assigned to Hung. 194045, returned to Romania 1947.
Christianity probably reached Transylvania in Roman times. Won decisively for RCm in the 11th c.; diocese of Transylvania erected 1103. Hussite* doctrines spread. When Transylvania became a vassal principality under Turkish rule in the 16th c. most of its Caths. became Prot..
M. Luther's writings reached Transylvania ca. 1519; a reform movement begun Hermannstadt 1519 was short-lived, but a more successful one began Kronstadt in the early 1540s under leadership of J. Honter(us).* The AC was adopted 1572 largely as result of leadership of M. Hebler.*
In the 17th and 18th c. the Luth. Ch. in Transylvania experienced various persecutions. The 1861 ch. const., adopted after negotiation with the Austrian govt. (which saw advantage in good relations), gave the ch. autonomy free from state rule and led to lay participation in ch. administration. Nazis took control of the ch. 1940, communists at the end of WW II; many ch. activities, esp. educ., are highly restricted. Hungs. and Gers. each organized their own Luth. ch.
Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
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