The Osijek Commercial Court, under the leadership of judge Dr. Mirjani, handed down the verdict pertaining to a legal succession case filed in 2003 between two Reformed denominations in Croatia: the Hungarian Reformed Christian Church in Croatia and the Calvinist Reformed Church.
It was declared that the legal successor of the former Reformed Christian Church of Yugoslavia is the Croatian Hungarian Reformed Christian Church registered in Croatia in1993. The current superintendent of this church is the Honorable János Kopácsi Kettős.

The Court has ruled that the Calvinist Reformed Church and its representatives are not permitted to identify, reproduce nor use any official documents, nor any personally identifiable numbers, particulars such as statistical number, tax number, registry number or the religious
identification number of the successor Church.

The honourable judge’s statement made it clear that the two churches are two independent legal entities. The Church, led by Bishop János Kopacsi Kettős was officially registered on February 24, 1993. The Calvinist Reformed Church was officially registered on March 4, 1999.

The Court found that the testimony of witnesses Josip Kel (chief curator of the Calvinist Church) and István Bogárdi Szabó (currently Bishop of the Reformed Church of the Hungarian Reformed Church and President of the Hungarian Reformed Synod) was in contradiction of the
documents submitted to the Court. Thus the court did not accept these testimonies.

The testimony of Endre Lángh’s witness was deemed by the Court to be neither true nor logical as it also contradicted the evidence presented in the documents of the file.

The various Church credentials submitted by the Calvinist Church (such as the letter of acknowledgment signed by the bishops of the General Convention) were found to be unreliable; that they were requested by the applicant to serve his own purposes. Therefore, these letters were not considered by the Court to be worthwhile evidence or decisive in resolving the matter.

On the basis of the assessment of the evidence submitted, the Court found that the successor church organized a committee of seven-members at the 2nd Synod in Laskó. Bishop Endre Lángh explicitly refused to recognize the Synod’s decision and organized an alternative Synod after which he filed an application at the Central Statistical Office to register a new church in Croatia.

The authority was aware that Endre Lángh had been a representative of the Reformed Christian Church before. However, as a representative of a new church, Lángh continued to represent himself as a representative of the Synod which he had refuted and claimed that his newly-founded church was the veritable successor. He claimed to have been the representative and successor to a formerly existing church which had only changed its name. His claim is without basis because the church he represents is a newly-founded church originally led by himself, that is, by Bishop Lángh (the second bishop of this church was Pastor Lajos Csáti-Szabó and the current leader is Péter Szenn).

Therefore, the Court found that the plaintiff’s claim on behalf of the HMRKE, represented by Bishop János Kopácsi Kettős, was well-founded and is to be upheld in its entirety. From the evidence presented, It is particularly clear that the applicant is the legal successor to the Croatian Reformed Christian Church, registered in 1993 and issuing from the former Reformed Christian Church of Yugoslavia.

(RefSajtó – HMRKE)