Hungarian Church and Cultural Sensation: COVID-Bible

Presentation of the Covid-Bible in the Church of  Nagykároly-Kertváros, Dean István Tolnay and Pastor Judit Pálfi
Presentation of the Covid-Bible in the Church of Nagykároly-Kertváros, Dean István Tolnay and Pastor Judit Pálfi (photo: Sebestyén - Transl. Lajos Békefy)
By Dr. Lajos BekefyFebruary 2nd, 2022

All those who attended the service held on Sunday, January 23, 2022 at the new Hungarian Reformed Church Center, Nagykároly-Kertváros/ Reformed Church District in Királyhágómellék, witnessed a touching and historic moment. It was then that the Covid Bible was introduced. The handwritten Scripture, published in 14 volumes, was completed by the second half of January. Born in Nagykároly, Károli Gáspár, was a Hungarian Reformed pastor and translator of the first complete Hungarian Bible (published in 1590). Károli's translation created the literary Hungarian language. Out of respect for him, Nagykároly became the first settlement where the 14-volumes Bible, copied by the members of the Reformed Church district of Királyhágómellék, was presented. Starting from here, the goal is to get to as many congregations involved as possible.

Reverend Vinczéné Judit Pálfi, a missionary adviser to the Reformed Church district of Királyhágómellék, opened the worship morning. The prayer week worship service also provided an opportunity to open a one-week Covid-Bible exhibition. The pastor recounted the great story of the birth of the 14 beautifully bound, hand-copied Covid-Bibles. The preparation of the Covid Bible was initiated by Rev Vinczéné Judit Pálfi, two years ago. The 1,200 church members of the  parishes in Churchdistrict Királyhágómellék, undertook the task of copying out a chapter from the Károli Bible by hand.

"The idea to copy the Bible came from Switzerland. There the St.  Gallen Reformed Congregation and its pastor, Rev. Uwe Habenicht, began copying of Bible in the first phase of the pandemic. 1,000 hands worked on it from Switzerland, Austria and Germany. Eventually, the world’s first Covid Bible was brought together in seven major volumes. The motivating news arrived to us by dr. Lajos Békefy, from Hungary. The Reformed pastor and public writer wrote several articles about the great Swiss initiative. Rev. Békefy encouraged us personally to adopt the idea of Covid-Bible. It was a huge job. The material was distributed in September 2020 with the help of 50 coordinators. Mostly pastors, presidents of the Reformed Women's Association, and religious teachers helped in the coordination. Everyone distributed this material compiled in the autumn of 2021. And finally, this week Friday we brought home the bound Covid-Bible books from Cluj-Napoca. Pastor József Kurta, librarian of the Protestant Theological Institute in Cluj-Napoca, undertook to bind the biblical books in this beautiful form. At the same time, conductor Gyula Kozma made a beautiful cover for each volume, ” - said Judit Vinczéné Pálfi.

"At the beginning of each book is a writing in which I tried to briefly summarize why we copied the Bible and why it became the Covid Bible. I urge everyone to ask and take the Bibles to their own congregations" - added Rev. Judit Pálfi.

István Tolnay, the dean of Nagykároly, host pastor, said that it was an honor to contribute to the preparation of this Scripture by copying a Bible chapter. But at the same time the parish was happy to donate 1,000 lei (ca. 200 Euros) to the production of this  Bible. He emphasized that it is interesting to be able to exhibit this Bible on the day of Hungarian culture. Károli Gáspár translated the Scriptures into Hungarian 432 years ago - this  shaped the Hungarian culture, literature and speech. He  expressed his hope that this 14-volume Covid Bible to be a very serious symbol of Hungarian culture as well.

The binding of the Covid Bible cost about 8,000 lei (1,617 Euros), But the ideological value of this kind of Bible is much more than that.

(News sources: Felvidé, - Sebestyén/Békefy)

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