The village of Nagybörzsöny is located in north eastern Hungary.  The mountainous area surrounding it is called:  Börzsöny which accounts for the naming of the village.  On older maps the German name is given as Pilsen or Grosspilsen.  The mountains in the area are heavily forested.  In earlier times when the community was at its zenith it was a   mining centre.  In the 15th century lead ore was extracted and rich veins of gold and silver were also discovered.

  The village existed from the earliest period at the founding of the Hungarian state.  A small stone church built in the 12th century was dedicated to St. Stephen of Hungary the nation’s first Christian king.  In the 14th century Nagybörzsöny was famous as a mining centre and obtained the rights and status of a free Royal town.


  In the beginning of the 13th century miners from the Tyrol were settled in the village and the Hungarian kings Sigismund and Albert settled professional experienced miners from Saxony from 1416-1438.


  The older descendants of these German colonists and settlers still spoke the same dialect into contemporary times which is only understood in certain parts of Saxony or among the Transylvania Saxons of Romania. 


  The next phase of the history of the community is closely related to the struggles it endured during the Counter Reformation.  Early in the 16th century, the teachings of the Lutheran Reformation had a powerful effect in Nagybörzsöny and were embraced by the population wholeheartedly as was true for all of Hungary.  An Evangelical Lutheran congregation was established but because this whole area was part of the Domains of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Estergom it found itself as the focal point of the ongoing oppression launched against it during the Counter Reformation which was unleashed all across Hungary.  Two centuries of repression followed.


  In 1702 there was great unrest in the village when it was occupied by two hundred armed soldiers.  These troops were billeted in the homes of the Lutherans.  A public announcement was posted to the effect that:  “Whoever does not convert to the Roman Catholic Church will have his property confiscated and will be expelled from the village.”  The inhabitants of the village went to their pastor Jakob Roth with the proclamation and he tore it in two.  For this action he was thrown into prison.  As soon as he was imprisoned the local Roman Catholic priest August Langer forced 315 of the Lutherans to sign a declaration that they “desired” to convert to Roman Catholicism.  This occurred on February 25, 1702.


  A document in the German language records this event as follows:  “We the officials and council as well as the whole Christian congregation hereby acknowledge and confess that we freely desire to return to the bosom of the Church of Rome which alone can grant salvation.  We also promise that we and our families will be faithful to the end of our lives and will not tolerate the presence of any heretics among us here in Nagybörzsöny and place ourselves under the fatherly protection and spiritual lordship of His Eminence the Archbishop of Estergom.”


  On that day the church was confiscated from the remaining Lutheran congregation that now numbered 563 persons.  More difficult times were still ahead for the congregation and their pastor was sent into exile.  The Kurucz Uprising led by Count Rakoczi brought some relief and the rebel troops drove August Langer the Roman Catholic priest out of the village and many of the families returned to the Lutheran fold.  After the uprising was put down in 1711 the priest returned.  The village became a religious battleground during the following decades.  The Lutherans were without a pastor and went a great distance to the nearest Lutheran Church in Selmeczbánya for baptisms, marriages and communion.  They held worship services in secret in the nearby forests, caves in the mountains and in their barns.  This continued up until the time of the Edict of Toleration of Joseph II.


  The congregation petitioned the king with the request for permission to build a church and call a pastor.  The Emperor personally came to the village and viewed the proposed site.  The church was dedicated on February 2, 1785.


  The Second World War brought new problems and difficulties to the whole population.  In the space of five months it was occupied on three occasions by the opposing forces.  The inhabitants were robbed and plundered.  No sooner had they managed to get back on their feet than the worst happened.  The expulsion ordered atPotsdam was carried out and 237 persons were deported.


  The chronicler of the village history concludes:  “The church in Nagybörzsöny had over a thousand members.  But now after the many war victims and the deportation there remain some six hundred souls.  All of the new settlers assigned to Nagybörzsöny were Roman Catholic.  In the following years repairs, renovations and the modernization of the church took place but the life style of many was also altered because many of our people moved away seeking a better future elsewhere.  Presently in 1983 only 317 remain.  God has preserved us through the centuries under extreme hardships and difficulties and we place our trust in His grace.”

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