The Organisation of the Reformed Church of Transylvania in the 16th Century

II. The regional synod (synodus privincialis)

The synod of the Classis or deanery was the assembly of the church supervisors which gathered once a year. But if unavoidable affairs of local churches required, the synod could be convoked any time it was necessary. In this case they had to notify the public authority to convene an extraordinary meeting even before the regular date of the synod. The proper place for the synod was the main Church Town hall or the palatine’s assembly hall. Thus, the authority may be present at the synod as the one ordained by God to be the upholder and guardian of the church. The task of the chairman was to say a prayer, to collect the votes, to build a bridge between the public authority and supervisors, to see that the decisions of the synod are duly recorded and put in writing, to have them signed by all, and to give them to each participant to take to their congregations. During discussions the public authority has no decisive word like in public administration or society affairs, it has only the right to deliberate. For in ecclesiastical matters, it is not the approval and will of the authority that is decisive, but the word of God, and in the synod this word alone can have the authority of command. To this the authority also owes obedience, for the authority is not lord, but lamb and member of the church. God has not placed the authorities above the church, but in the church.

Bibliographic reference

Buzogány Dezső: The Organisation of the Reformed Church of Transylvania in the 16th Century. II. The regional synod (synodus privincialis). In: Református Szemle 114.6 (2021), 679--686

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