The academic year 2023-2024 has begun

On September 17, 2023, the new academic year commenced at the Protestant Theological Institute in Cluj-Napoca. The student body welcomed 24 new first-year theology students.

On September 17, 2023, the new academic year commenced at the Protestant Theological Institute in Cluj-Napoca. The student body welcomed 24 new first-year theology students.

The Sunday morning celebratory service was held in the Aula, with Bishop Béla Kató of the Transylvanian Reformed Church District delivering the sermon, based on the biblical text from 1 John 2:12-17. In his sermon, he emphasised that there are few academic opening ceremonies where the message of 'love one another!' is addressed to teachers, students and staff. However, in an institution where these words are already familiar, it is even more critical to ensure that they do not remain empty statements.

The Sunday afternoon opening ceremony featured the liturgical service conducted by Levente Horváth, the newly appointed lecturer at the PTI, mentor of the first-year BA students.

In his opening address, Rector Sándor Kovács discussed the conversion to Unitarianism of the well-known 16th-century Transylvanian theologian, Gáspár Heltai. Heltai, originally a German-speaking minister and renowned linguist and printer, played a crucial role in the development of unified Hungarian spelling, in addition to his high-level theological pursuits. The presentation examined Heltai Gáspár's conversion to Unitarianism based on data from the 1568 Gyulafehérvár (Alba Iulia) debate, framing the discussion within a historical and philosophical context.

For the students and young theologians, the key takeaway was: "What can we learn from the German-speaking Heltai in the 21st century? We can certainly learn the Hungarian language! But we can also consider his view that it is worth reading and understanding various theological trends of our time. Following Heltai's example, it might be worthwhile to invest in modern technological advancements if they are directed toward order, good news and the spread of the Gospel. I believe that Heltai, using all modern technological means available today, would still preach what he formulated in his interpretation of Psalm 68: 'The Gospel is God's gift. Preachers are not shaken from a tree'. In other words, and this should also be a message to the esteemed students: God calls those who are considered suitable for the pastoral task. I sincerely hope that you will never regret stepping through the vaulted gate of the Protestant Theological Institute in Cluj-Napoca."

A total of 129 students enrolled for the new academic year, distributed among denominations as follows:

- Transylvanian Reformed Church District: 67 (52%)
- Királyhágómellék Reformed Church District: 39 (30%)
- Hungarian Unitarian Church: 18 (14%)
- Romanian Evangelical Lutheran Church in Romania: 5 (4%)

During the ceremony, the academic community paid respectful tribute, with a moment of silence, to Dr. Zsolt Kozma, emeritus theology professor, who passed away on August 5, 2023.

The 2023-2024 academic year also brings some personnel changes. Professor Dr. Zoltán Adorjáni will retire starting from October 1, 2023. The academic community expressed its gratitude for his conscientious and expert work and his humanity.

Two new temporary instructors have been added for the new academic year. Éva Éles, a doctoral student, has been admitted temporarily to the New Testament department. Additionally, Dr. Levente Horváth has been employed at the Systematic Theology department.

The Rector also extended his gratitude to adjunct professors for their contribution to the institute's smooth operation.

Looking ahead, the rector highlighted upcoming challenges, including the implementation of changes brought about by the new higher education law that came into effect in September 2023, as well as the preparation of the accreditation dossier for the master's program.

The rector thanked the supporters for their willingness to contribute to the institute's functioning and concluded by invoking God's blessings on the new academic year.

(The full text of the rector's speech is available for download at the provided link.)

The rector's inaugural address was followed by the oath-taking ceremony of first-year students. During the ceremony, 25 newly enrolled students pledged their commitment to the theological way of life and the observance of the institute's regulations.

As part of the festivities, the institute's mixed choir, under the direction of Timea Benkő, performed Gaudeamus and a modern rendition of Psalm 98, composed by contemporary German composer Michael Schütz.