Did Hungary's pre-WWI Magyarization policy included trying to convert its Romanians and Ruthenians?

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
21,905
SoCal
I know that Hungary had a policy of Magyarization in the half century before WWI where it attempted to get its ethnic minorities to assimilate into the dominant Hungarian culture. What I am curious about is whether this policy of Magyarization also included attempts to convert the Orthodox Romanians and Ruthenians within Hungary's borders to either Catholicism or Protestantism. I am asking this question because I suspect that the different religion of the Romanians and Ruthenians within Hungary would have made it much harder for these groups to be successfully Magyarized even if the Magyarization program in Hungary would have continued for a much longer time period.

Anyway, does anyone have any information in regards to this?

Also, for what it's worth, there does appear to be a historical precedent for this type of thing. Specifically, AFAIK, the Russian Empire tried to convert its Ukrainian and Belarusian populations to Russian Orthodoxy--something that it largely succeeded in doing.
 

Tulun

Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
3,862
Western Eurasia
There was no attempt to convert them as far as i know in the Austro-Hungarian period.

There were some Calvinist missionary attempts in the 16-17th century among the Romanians, but as i can recall it only had some very limited success among Romanians in Hátszeg/Hateg and that had no Hungarianizing agenda at all. On the contrary, back then in the 17th century the protestants were pushing for the use of the mother tongue, which meant they opposed the use of Church Slavonic among the Romanian Greek Orthodox too, in favor of Romanian. The 17th century Transylvanian princes placed protestant supervisors above the orthodox church and ironically the Hungarian protestants wanted the Romanians to use Romanian, but the orthodox clergy opposed it. I'm not sure when did the orthodox switch to Romanian in the end in their church service, 18th, 19th century? The Ruthenes continued to use Church Slavonic ofc.

Then the catholic Habsburgs took over in the end of 17th century and the Ruthenes and more than half of the Transylvanian Romanians became uniate, that is they recognized the pope and became Greek Catholics.
The Romanian Greek Catholic clergy was quite prominent in the Transylvanian Romanian national movement, so being catholic didn't make any difference in this regard (maybe it could have in relation to their attitude toward the Habsburg dynasty for a while, but not to Hungarians).
The Transylvanian Romanian uniates returned to the orthodox church only during the commie period.

There were/are Hungarian speaking Greek Catholics too, but they got their own separate Hungarian speaking diocese quite late, only in 1912/13. Apparently the church resisted to permit the use of Hungarian language in the services for long time, but i don't know the background of it.
 
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deaf tuner

Ad Honoris
Oct 2013
14,533
Europix
To add to Tulun's post:

At first sight it might look odd, but conversion to Catholicism/Protestantism was something that worked out against magyarisation. Greek- Catholic (Uniates) in AH (Romanians and Slavs) was finally a political movement, as being part of the Catholic Church gave those populations a "protection", some rights and possibilities that they didn't had as Orthodox.

In the end, Greek- Catholicism was an extremely important factor in in the "rise of nations" in the AH.

It isn't the general approach, but personally I'm asking myself if the Magyarisation movement in the 19th c wasn't (at least partially) created (or just reinforced ?) by this "rise of nations" in AH. Austrians promoted a lot minorities, and often for the political goal of weakening the Hungarian part in AH, a policy they triggered/reinforced the Hungarian hard-line nationalism.

(I wouldn't mind some Hungarian/Romanian historumites' oppinion on that interpretation of mine).
 
Mar 2019
6
cucumber
To add to Tulun's post:

At first sight it might look odd, but conversion to Catholicism/Protestantism was something that worked out against magyarisation. Greek- Catholic (Uniates) in AH (Romanians and Slavs) was finally a political movement, as being part of the Catholic Church gave those populations a "protection", some rights and possibilities that they didn't had as Orthodox.

In the end, Greek- Catholicism was an extremely important factor in in the "rise of nations" in the AH.

It isn't the general approach, but personally I'm asking myself if the Magyarisation movement in the 19th c wasn't (at least partially) created (or just reinforced ?) by this "rise of nations" in AH. Austrians promoted a lot minorities, and often for the political goal of weakening the Hungarian part in AH, a policy they triggered/reinforced the Hungarian hard-line nationalism.

(I wouldn't mind some Hungarian/Romanian historumites' oppinion on that interpretation of mine).

There were no hqard-line nationalistic party in goverment until the 1906-1910 period. So that 4 year was the hard-line nationalist period only. Note: The wast majority of the voteers ruling Liberal party and its descendant the Hungarian Party of Work were from ethnic minorities. Moreover, more than half of their MPs had not ethnic Hungarian origin. The ruling parties (the Liberals) remained bitterly unpopular in the voting districts with Hungarian majority.
 
Jul 2012
763
Australia
The Uniates in the Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth were never accepted as true catholics, nor did they view themselves the same way that catholics did. It was largely a political compromise to have orthodox believers accept the authority of the Pope and officially widen the catholic sphere. The practitioners retained the right to maintain their rites, culture and church slavonic - so on the ground level there wasn't much of a change of mindset. In the Ukrainian lands, when the Ruthenian Aristocracy chose to polonise, and if they wanted to influence political affairs, they would fully convert to Catholicism. The Uniate path was chosen by those gentry who were more interested in their local areas rather than the affairs of the wider PLC. Orthodoxy remained the religion of the Ruthenians wanting independence from the PLC and was strengthened when Tsarist Russia took control of eastern Ukraine after 1667. When Galicia became part of AH the Uniate Church was better accepted and became the basis of a new Ukrainian movement. So by WW1 the Ukrainian movement had 2 distinct threads - a Russian influenced Orthodox thread and a more independent (and somewhat polish influenced) Uniate thread. In the PLC areas occupied by tsarist Russia the Uniates were forced to convert to Orthodoxy. So, during the PLC era the Uniate Church was strongest in Belarus, but forced conversions there after 1839 saw it almost totally eliminated.

I do not think the Uniate experience in other parts of the AH would have been any different. Becoming Uniate did not necessarily bring slavic peoples closer to their political masters of another culture. More likely it provided another platform to resist any assimilation policies, and later strengthen the connection to new nationalist movements.
 
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