The Paths of Faith
Many tourists find it essential to visit churches and places of worship. Those who wish to visit not only museums and historic places but also desire spiritual satisfaction can take a memorable trip in the world of Debrecen’s religious life.
Many things tell stories about this segment of the past in the city earlier called the “Calvinist Rome”. Debrecen’s yellow two-steepled symbol, the Big Church where you can see Kossuth’s chair is a witness of historic times. The 200-year-old lycium tree—a particularly high-grown box-thorn—is a botanical rarity and a significant relic of church history. The Kálvin Square Memorial Garden and the famous Reformed College relate their stories about the struggles of the Reformation to those interested.
Faith and religion have always had special significance. At the end of the 12th century the area of what is today Debrecen was occupied by villages with their own churches. In the Middle Ages the town was Catholic with the biggest church of the Great Plains, St Andrew’s Gothic church standing at the place of today’s Big Church. From the 16th century Debrecen’s religious life was dominated first by the Lutheran and later by the Calvinist Reformation. In 1551 the aldermen of the town prohibited the settlement of Catholics, and, therefore, Franciscans could return to Debrecen only 300 years ago—in 1715. The Jewish Congregation was established in 1852 while Greek Catholics started to settle down in Debrecen at the beginning of the 20th century.
Today, the city has several denominations with their own communities including Evangelicals, Unitarians, Baptists and even the Faith Church in addition to the ones mentioned above. They live in peace side by side which is one of the reasons why Debrecen is considered to be a spiritual centre. Besides the Reformed and Roman Catholic Episcopal Residencies, the Greek Catholic Metropolitan Residence and one of the largest Jewish Communities are located in the city.