THROUGH THORNS… Chapters from the 350-year history of the Reformed College in Odorheiu Secuiesc
Strada Beclean 2-6, Odorheiu Secuiesc 535600, Romania
Per spinas ad rosas”… “Through thorns to roses,” proclaims the motto of the Reformed College, which can be read on the school’s coat of arms created in 1716. The thought of a difficult, thorny path to acquiring knowledge seems to succinctly sum up the school’s past as well.
The beginnings of Reformed life in Odorheiu Secuiesc date back to the second half of the 16th century. Three hundred and fifty years of secondary Reformed education began in our city in 1670. The “rose garden” in Odorhei was planted during a difficult historical period. At the end of the 17th century, the Reformed Church was in a position of power in Transylvania, but the princedom was already in its last, declining period. The change of power at the end of the century, the establishment of Habsburg rule and a moderate but systematic counter-reformation gradually forced the Protestant denominations into a defensive position. However, the state-level religious intolerance and headwind of the 18th century would not only have eroded the material and spiritual strength of the Reformed life in Odorhei, but, on the contrary, also resulted in an unbroken, upward development by developing self-defense mechanisms. However, there still were plenty of thorns in the 19th and 20th centuries as well: revolution, retaliation, imperial and regime changes, wars and minority existence. Alongside or in spite of these, the result was not missed either: increasing number of students, growing material capital, significant construction projects, scientific, intellectual successes and results indicate the roses among the thorns. Between 1927 and 1940, the Reformed Teacher Training School took the place of the College, which, although relaunched for a few years of war, became a victim of communist nationalization in 1948. The intellectual and material heritage of the College was saved by the Teacher Training School during the decades of dictatorship, until in 1994 the Reformed grammar school education was finally able to continue its historic mission.
In our exhibition we would like to present this journey full of thorns, highlighting the most important historical stages, personalities and accomplishments that prove that among the thorns of the past, roses bloomed and still bloom for an entire community.