2014_4_Kádár

pdfVolume 3 Issue 4 CONTENTS

Zsófia Kádár

The Difficulties of Conversion Non-Catholic Students in Jesuit Colleges in Western Hungary in the First Half of the Seventeenth Century

The societies of the multiethnic and multilingual region of Central Europe became more diverse through the emergence of distinct confessions (Konfessionalisierung). The first half of the seventeenth century is especially interesting in this regard. In this period, the Catholic Church started to win back its positions in the Hungarian Kingdom as well, but the institutionalization of the Protestant denominations had by that time essentially reached completion. The schools, which were sustained by the various denominations, became the most efficient devices of religious education, persuasion and conversion. In this essay I present, through the example of the Jesuit colleges of western Hungary, the denominational proportions and movements of the students in the largely non-Catholic urban settings. Examining two basic types of sources, the annual accounts (Litterae Annuae) of the Society of Jesus and the registries of the Jesuit colleges in Győr and Pozsony (today Bratislava, Slovakia), I compare and contrast the data and venture an answer to questions regarding the kinds of opportunities non-Catholic students had in the Jesuit colleges. In contrast with the assertions made in earlier historiography, I conclude that conversion was not so widespread in the case of the non-Catholic students of the Jesuits. They were not discriminated against in their education, and some of them remained true to their confessions to the end of their studies in the colleges.

Keywords: conversion, Jesuit colleges, school registries, annual accounts (Litterae Annuae), denominations in towns, urban history, Hungary, Győr, Pozsony, Pressburg, Bratislava, Sopron

A student, the son of a soldier or a burgher, took leave of Calvinism, an act with which he completely infuriated his parents, so much so that his father planned to kill him. What did this young man do then? He unhesitatingly went down on his knees and cleared his neck for the lethal strike. ‘Do it, father’ he said, ‘do as you wish. I do not want to live as a bad Christian.’ The father was softened at the sight of this heroic cry. Moved, he kissed his son and burst into tears, and shortly, he followed his son’s example.1

The annual account (Litterae Annuae) of the Győr Jesuit College from the year 1639 describes a typical example of conversion in the case of an unusually dauntless student.2 Based on the college’s registries of students (matriculae) from the seventeenth century, he may well have been Ferenc Teyfalvai, a student who is mentioned in 1638 as a Calvinist but in 1640 as a Roman Catholic.3 By examining the two above mentioned basic types of sources, the annual accounts and the registries of the Jesuit colleges in Győr and Pozsony (today Bratislava, Slovakia), and comparing and contrasting their data, I have sought an answer to the question concerning the opportunities non-Catholic students had in the Jesuit colleges in Western Hungary. Was conversion really as “self-evident” as has been assumed, primarily on the basis of the narrative sources?

In the worldwide process of “Catholic renewal,” the Habsburg Monarchy and the Hungarian Kingdom, as part of the “militant Church,” were in a distinctive position because of the variety of nations and denominations. Moreover, the religious situation of Hungary in the Habsburg state-conglomerate was unique.4 In the Kingdom of Hungary, the first two-thirds of the seventeenth century were not yet an era of forceful Counter-Reformation, but rather one of the “missionary seigniorial Counter-Reformation.”5 There was no state intervention in religious life, nothing comparable to the activity of the Klosterrat in the Austrian hereditary provinces at the end of the sixteenth century, for instance. Furthermore, after the Bocskai uprising (1604–06), the Habsburg dynasty was forced to reach a compromise with the Hungarian Estates.6 In spite of the Thirty Years’ War and the reorganization of power, the Protestant population, which constituted the significant majority at the beginning of the century, only started to lose numerical superiority gradually, and did not reach a critical period, the so-called Protestant “Decade of sorrow” (1671–81), until the reign of Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Hungary.

Scholarship on conversion in Hungary, which is based on a more limited range of sources than similar scholarship in Western Europe, can also be furthered through case studies and intensive analysis. In addition to providing data, such as the numbers of conversions, information regarding the converts (such as their social status and relationships), and the institutional background of conversions (religious orders, papal institutions, educational institutions, missions, etc.), recent research has focused on the personal motivations, distinguishing between “real” and “unreal, extrinsic” conversions and shedding light on the preparation for, processes involved in, and consequences of conversion, and devising a new typology of the act.

Lieke Stelling and Todd M. Richardson examine a particular aspect of the theme by focusing on the individual and the “turn of the soul.” The volume of essays edited by them concentrates on three subjects: agency, authenticity and imitation. It presents the complexity of cases of conversion by drawing on literary compositions and works of the visual arts.7 Although I do not have many sources on which I could base conjectures regarding personal motivations, as I hope to make evident, the example of Zsigmond Holló can be interpreted as a kind of connecting point between the theme of conversion and works of literature because of the school dramas written about his case. Ricarda Matheus examined the process of conversions on the basis of the example of a central institution for conversion in Rome, the Ospizio dei Convertendi. Because of the large multitude and the denominational, national and cultural diversity of the converts, this subject can be studied from a number of perspectives. Research has shown that the central, elaborate method of conversion was adapted to the circumstances of individual converts.8 (Case studies could also compile data regarding the converts who arrived from a single state, e.g. from Hungary.) Ines Peper analyzed cases of conversion in the Habsburg Court in Vienna. Her analysis sheds light on the indicator role of the Court of a monarch and on the public discussion in connection with the conversion of a member of a dynasty on the basis of the example of later empress Elisabeth Christine von Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel.9 The questions raised by researchers are summarized in the study by Jörg Deventer.10 He enumerates the most important problems of conversion research. There are many problems with the numerical data, because the different types of sources have varying relationships to the numbers. He also mentions the annual reports of the Jesuits, which often give very high numbers of converts, even tens of thousands. The second question concerns the inclusion of social classes, because we have detailed knowledge about aristocrats and nobles, but we know almost nothing about members of the lower classes, the “anonyms.” Third, researchers have to reckon with the institutions, the various opportunities and manners of conversion, which ranged from persuasion to the use of military force. Finally, Deventer cautions his reader to examine conversion as a complex phenomenon and study not only its spiritual, but also its social, cultural, political and economic aspects.11

In this paper I focus on a special type of institution, the Jesuit college, which played a prominent role in the conversion processes and in the realization of the Tridentine reforms in the Early Modern period. In addition to the annual reports (Litterae Annuae) of the Jesuits, which are widely used by historians,12 I also use the college registers of pupils (matriculae) as control sources. My intention is to investigate the confessional identity of non-Catholic students of the Jesuit colleges in Western Hungary and, more specifically, their decisions to maintain their faith or convert.13 The aforementioned problems with numbers, the difficulties of identifying the individuals, and the question of motivations emerge in this case study as well, although these problems can rarely be solved.

Jesuit Colleges and Their Students

As of the 1610s, the Society of Jesus, which had come into being in the sixteenth century, began to expand rapidly in the Eastern territories of the Habsburg Monarchy, including Hungary. After the establishments in Zágráb (today Zagreb, Croatia) (1607), Nagyszombat (today Trnava, Slovakia) (1615) and Homonna (today Humenné, Slovakia) (1615), new colleges were opened in Pozsony and Győr in 1626–27 and Sopron in 1636. These institutions, according to the Jesuits’ assimilation strategy, were adapted to the local conditions. Despite the Hungarian prohibition (act 8/1608. before the coronation),14 according to which the order was not allowed to possess estates in the Kingdom of Hungary, they managed to obtain suitable buildings and estates with pontifical and aristocratic support. By this time, the profile of the Society of Jesus as a “teaching order” had proven essential. The order’s members had therefore increasingly undertaken to educate the laity on the basis of their uniform educational code, the Ratio Studiorum, published in 1599.15 They provided free education to anyone who met the minimal admission requirements, regardless of background and circumstances.

In this period, the region of Western Hungary was a frontier between Christian Europe and the Ottoman Empire, a borderland of Hungary. Essentially the two ruling forces in the communities were the town councils on the one hand and the military troops stationed in them on the other. The Jesuits found strong Lutheran and significant Calvinist communities, as well as multilingual and multiethnic populations in each of the three towns under examination, namely the free royal towns of Pozsony and Sopron and the episcopal market town and captain-general headquarters of Győr. Despite the conflicts accompanying the settlement of the Society of Jesus in towns with Lutheran leaderships (Pozsony, Sopron) and with local ecclesiastical institutions such as the chapters (Pozsony, Győr), all these new Jesuit establishments and colleges were successful.16 Within a couple of years, they functioned in a 5-7-year system with a large number—indeed hundreds—of students. The geographical catchment area of these schools exceeded even the regional boundaries (from Poland to the Croatian Trans-Drava regions, from Switzerland and the Holy Roman Empire to the Principality of Transylvania).

For the Jesuit colleges in Pozsony, which at the time functioned as the capital of the Kingdom of Hungary, and the free royal town of Sopron, the local Lutheran schools were the most significant competitors. The Lutheran community of Pozsony, which had had its own pastor since 1606, soon established a new school, to which a schoolmaster was invited from Bavaria. The institution was organized on the model of the town of Lauingen, according to the humanist Johann Sturm’s pedagogical method.17 A similar 4-year Latin school functioned in Sopron, which, after modest beginnings in the sixteenth century, flourished later on in the period in question.18 The arrival of Jesuits who settled in their community touched a tender spot for the Sopron city leadership, and they reacted immediately. According to one of the October 24, 1636 entries in the Ratsprotokoll (the minutes of the town council), they demanded that the leadership of the Lutheran school pay more attention to the youth because of the “danger from the Jesuit side,” and that the students remain together even in the afternoon so that the Holy Scripture could be expounded to them, and that they perform the vespers (evening service) in the proper order (the town offered to help the schoolmasters if necessary).19 The assumed competition seems to be justified by the fact that in 1638 the inner council proposed new motions in connection with the school that reflect the Jesuit model. They prescribed that the students compose essays and poems and perform orations and religious school dramas, that weekly revisions and rewards be introduced, and that the discipline among the students be improved.20

In Győr there was no functioning Protestant school in the period under discussion. Although the number of Lutherans and Calvinists was significant here too, by the middle of the century, because of the efforts of the bishops, the Jesuits, and the captain generals of Győr (Philipp Graf von Mansfeld and Maximilian von Liechtenstein, who were already Catholic), the influence of the Counter-Reformation had become perceptible. Still, given the fact that there was really no alternative, it is probable that the highest number of non-Catholic students attended the Győr Jesuit College. According to Lutheran historian Sándor Payr, the Lutheran and Calvinist students “were not accepted into the higher classes of poetics and rhetorics unless they converted.”21 This view is characteristic of the earlier historiography. However, the registry entries prove otherwise.

Models of Conversion in the Annual Reports

But let us first return to the source of the aforementioned annual reports, which serves as the best basis for comparison in the case of these three Transdanubian colleges. Despite the fact that the usefulness of these accounts is limited due to their generic features (the uses to which they were put within the order, their propagandistic functions, the tendency for anonymity, and the repetition of schematic stories),22 they nonetheless help fill a gap in the historiography on this geographical area at the beginning of the seventeenth century. The historia domus in Sopron is the only one preserved since its foundation, while of the one in Pozsony only a fragment is known, and of the one in Győr, nothing. However, the annual accounts before 1651 do not commemorate the major events of the year in thematic order, but rather according to colleges, so they are much richer in detail compared to later entries, and sometimes the cases of conversion, which regrettably are mentioned only anonymously, provide a very detailed image after one has peeled off the topical elements.

I focus on accounts of the conversion of children or youths.23 These suggest that, apart from the more “urgent” cases of elderly people nearing death, the Fathers paid close attention to the young, who were regarded as the pledges of the future.

1. In what was from the Jesuits’ point of view the least successful case, the youngster recognized the truth of the Catholic faith, but fearing the wrath of his Protestant family, did not openly convert, as for instance in the case of an early example from Győr.24

2. In some cases, conversion was furthered by some external influence, such as miraculous recovery from an illness. In 1637 in Pozsony, two students of the Protestant school weakened in their newly acquired Catholic belief, so as a “punishment” they were both injured. They only recuperated after they had re-affirmed their Catholic faith.25

3. The most frequent type of conversion involved the freshly converted student who was incited against his “papist” faith by his family and was threatened or hindered in the practice of his religion. This type is well-known in the literature, because of the abovementioned example of Zsigmond Holló. He was the son of a Lutheran nobleman, a tricesimator in Szepesség (today Spiš, Slovakia). As young student in the Homonna Jesuit college, he converted in the 1610s. From his funeral sermon we know the story of his conversion, which is very similar to the case mentioned at the beginning of this study. His father wanted to kill him because of his “apostasy,” but the boy adhered to his faith despite the threat of death. Seeing this, his father converted as well. This case became so popular that in multi-confessional Upper-Hungary more school-dramas were written about him. These dramas were performed in the Hungarian Jesuit colleges, so the example of Holló probably incited other conversions as well.26 In addition to these examples, one could also mention the case of a nine-year-old boy who had to bear his Lutheran mother’s persecutions after having converted because of his attraction to the Holy Sacrament and the Holy Trinity and for wearing a rosary under his clothes.27 Another pupil from Győr was threatened with death for his faith.28 In another case, in 1647 the family of two youths who had converted to Catholicism wanted to make them eat meat mixed with bread during a time of fasting, but as soon as they noticed the trick, they disgorged the entire meal rather than fall from grace.29 In Sopron a student held out successfully against his family, which wanted to reconvert him, for half a year. An attempt was made to corrupt another young boy by his mother, who used a maid, in vain.30 We know of other similar stories from Pozsony.31 For instance, a seven-year-old boy, holding out against his family, wanted to attend Catholic services,32 and another student left his home for the sake of his conversion.33

4. To the missionaries’ great delight, the families of the students watched the boys’ examples not with outrage, but with interest. An entry from 1630 mentions the conversion of a seventy-year-old nobleman, who converted under the influence of his son.34 In Győr, Catholic practices and the strict penitence of a former Lutheran and a Calvinist student sufficed to prompt their families to convert as well.35

5. In extraordinary situations, the convert not only became an earnest believer, but also entered priesthood, as an allegedly talented pupil of the College of Sopron did in 1643.36

By mentioning negative examples in the annual accounts, the Jesuits in a few rare cases admitted not only their achievements, but also their limitations. In an exceptional case, a Catholic pupil came into conflict with his own faith. In the College of Pozsony a student who strayed from the true path reviled the Virgin Mary and the saints, so he was imprisoned and then expelled from the college.37 The accounts sometimes mention the opposite extreme too, when Catholic students helped the Fathers convert Protestants.38 However, in most cases the data only includes the number of converted students: in Győr 23 pupils were converted in 1630 and 20 in 1647. In Pozsony 5 were converted in 1646 and 6 in 1647.39

Counting Conversions in the School Registries

As it is clear, the schools were one of the main scenes of the rivalry between the confessions. Although the first half of the seventeenth century could be considered part of the period of the Counter-Reformation, bearing the stamp of influence of Archbishop Péter Pázmány (1616–37), the situation of the Protestant communities was not especially difficult in spite of the Catholic confession-building tendencies. The numerical superiority of Protestants was unquestionable in the whole territory of the Hungarian Kingdom. It is no wonder that in each of the three towns under discussion (but primarily in Pozsony and Sopron, both of which had Lutheran schools) all of the schools strove to attract more pupils. As no investigation of the Protestant institutions of the era is possible on the individual level due to the lack of relevant sources, the oldest school matriculae from the Győr and Pozsony Jesuit colleges, which cover the first half and the middle of the seventeenth century, are especially valuable. (The earliest registries from Sopron unfortunately have been lost or have not yet been found.) The value of the data they contain cannot be overestimated: their social, educational, cultural, and local historical significance is striking. To my knowledge, they have not yet been used in the historical research on Pozsony. In the case of Győr, Ferenc Acsay, who wrote the history of the local college, used the registry. But computer databases open up new perspectives in this field as well.40 By organizing the data on the individual pupils in separate rows (records), one can examine changes in longer terms on the level of the individuals. I compare and contrast the available data from the viewpoint of denominational affiliation and conversion from 19 years of the first two decades of the Győr registry (1630–50)41 with the available data from 9 years of the first decade of the Pozsony registry (1650–59).42 As the data regarding denominational affiliations is known for a high percentage of the pupils, the study can be considered representative.

In Győr, during the period in question, the denominational affiliations of 1,586 out of 2,836 students are known, which means a majority (56 percent). The chronological distribution of these entries is somewhat narrower than the whole period. This means on the one hand that the registry preserved scattered data about the denominational affiliations of the students only as of 1634. The earliest information about religion is linked with a senior student of rhetoric, the Lutheran András Huditius from Besztercebánya (today Banská Bystrica, Slovakia).43 On the other hand, the entries regarding denominational affiliation became more regular in 1637, but data are still missing on individuals or whole classes.

The majority of the students were Catholic, in the case of Győr three-quarters (75.3 percent). They were followed in number by the Lutherans, who constituted one-fifth (19.6 percent) of the students. Compared to them, a considerably smaller share, only 4.7 percent, were Calvinists. The two examples of “heretics” (perhaps also Protestants) represent extraordinary cases, as does the Israelite pupil Izsák Vecker, who attended the College of Győr (as a principist) for a single year.44

As the Table 1 shows, only an insignificant minority of the Protestant students converted, 47 pupils altogether. This means that the Jesuits’ missionary work was successful in the case of 13.5 percent of the Lutherans and 9.3 percent of the Calvinists. Therefore, the registry data does not confirm the favorable picture drawn by the Jesuit accounts.

 

Denomination

Number of Students

Converts

Catholic

1,195

 

Lutheran

311

42

Calvinist

75

7

“Schismaticus”

2

 

“Haereticus”

2

 

Israelite

1

 

Altogether

1,586

 49

Table 1. The denominational division of the students of the Győr Jesuit College (1630–50)

 

As further investigation of the registry entries reveals, in the multiethnic College of Győr the vast majority of the Lutheran pupils were Hungarian, and there were also smaller numbers of Germans, Slavs (Slovaks), Croats, and Transylvanian Saxons. The Calvinists, with the one exception of an Italian student (Rodolphus Picina),45 were all Hungarians. Compared to the total number of the students, therefore, the Hungarians were overrepresented in both Protestant denominations.

The proportion of non-Catholic students within the individual grades does not deviate from the total. It is also noteworthy that in both colleges (the one in Pozsony and the one in Győr), not only the fluctuation of teachers but also the fluctuation of students was very high. The majority of the pupils only went to one college for one or two years. Almost half of the students only attended the lower—the principia and the parvist—classes. In light of this, it is remarkable that the chances of conversion did not necessarily increase with the number of years spent in the college. Among the non-converts, the “record-holder” is the Lutheran child of a noble family, Márton Szombaty, from Győr, who completed the 5 grades of the college in 9 years but did not convert.46 Among the Calvinists, István Collar could be mentioned, who, after having finished his studies in 6 years, still remained true to his faith.47

Unfortunately the sources do not enable us to retrace the individual stories of the converts. It is interesting, however, that of the Lutheran converts, on the basis of the registry entry 10 were from Győr. The high proportion of the local residents is also supported by the fact that in the Győr registry of citizens48 the surnames of these pupils are sometimes included. The same surnames occur in the last wills in Győr, although given the lack of sources we cannot even be certain of the identity of the people denoted by the same names. Nevertheless, I found one example. György Lesemprot (Lesenpront) from Győr, who attended at least 4 classes taught by Jesuits in 1637–42 and in 1640 was, as a syntaxist, already Catholic,49 also appears in the will of Anna Lesenpront, which was made in 1662.50 She calls György her brother and bequeaths 45 forints to him. The odd thing about the will is that in addition to leaving some of her estate to the cathedral chapter as landlord, the testator also leaves one forint to the Győr Cathedral, which was not a unique gesture among the Győr testaments. She does this in spite of the fact that, in addition to the 10 forints she leaves to the Lutheran denomination, she wills one golden forint to the Lutheran pastor, who in return is entrusted with the funeral sermon. In other words, she must have remained Lutheran in faith, while her brother converted to Catholicism (and perhaps was not the only person in the family to do this). This incident corroborates a sentence found in the annual Jesuit accounts according to which people of different denominations often lived side by side within a family.

Unfortunately there is very little information about the people who were regarded as heretics. The “heretics” János Makranczy and Dániel Zechmaiszter, as well as the “schismata” Pál Laszlo, only studied in Győr for one year each.51 Miklós Ifju, who abandoned his Catholic faith, attended the lowest class of the college for three years in 1637–40.52 After his conversion in 1640, he remained a pupil of the school for one more year, which throws into question the alleged religious intolerance of the Jesuits. Finally, again as evidence of the Fathers’ opportunistic behavior, I mention the example of the Lutheran Ferenc Kiraly, who was domiciled in Győr and who completed 5 grades in the college in 9 years, but only converted to Catholicism in the seventh year, as a syntaxist.53

Altogether 1,464 pupils studied with the Jesuits in Pozsony in the period under discussion, and the religion of the majority of them is known (60 percent). While this data dates to a later period than the data from Győr, it is nonetheless significant, because regular entries concerning denominational affiliation survived exclusively from this decade. The denominational homogenization, i.e. the gradual triumph of Catholicism over the other denominations, may have contributed to the fact that after 1659 entries regarding denominational affiliation are only sporadic.

In comparison with the institution in Győr, the College of Pozsony is different in one fundamental way. In the overwhelming majority of the cases (96 percent) the students were Catholic. Out of the tiny remaining minority, 22 pupils (2.4 percent) were Lutherans and 14 (1.5 percent) were Calvinists. There is no information about other religions. However, as was the case in Győr, in Pozsony, only a very small proportion of the non-Catholics, 4 students, converted (Table 2).

 

Denomination

Number of Students

Converts

Catholic

879

 

Lutheran

22

3

Calvinist

14

1

Altogether

915

4

Table 2. The denominational division of the students of the Pozsony Jesuit College (1650–59)

 

The ethnic division of the Protestant pupils of the Pozsony College is similar to the Győr data. The ethnicity of each of the Lutherans is known. There were only four Slovaks and two Germans among them, and the rest were all Hungarian. Each of the Calvinists was Hungarian. Furthermore, it is noteworthy (albeit not surprising) that in the case of both Protestant denominations there is a high proportion of students from noble families: 9 among the Calvinists and 10 among the Lutherans.

As was the case in Győr, in the college of Pozsony there was also considerable “through traffic.” This tendency was characteristic irrespective of denomination (in other words it was true of the Protestant pupils as well). More than half (13 pupils) of the Lutherans and one-third (5 pupils) of the Calvinists spent only one year in the institution. In the case of Pozsony progress in school did not necessarily correlate with conversion to the Catholic faith. A conspicuous example is János Váczy, a descendant of a noble family from Nagymad (today Mad, Slovakia), a village in Pozsony county, who finished all five grades, including rhetoric, and remained Lutheran.54

The only Calvinist convert was noble István Udvari from Nagyszombat, who completed the top three classes of the college in four years (1650–53) between the ages of 17 and 20. He is first mentioned as a Catholic in 1652, so he converted after two years.55 The Calvinist connection of the family is known. His ancestors were supporters of Albert Szenczi Molnár.56 How István’s conversion affected other members of the family we do not know.

Among the Lutheran converts, János Brunczlik from Galgóc (today Hlohovec, Slovakia) was probably not of noble origins, and his ethnic background is hazy. (He was presumably multilingual: he was registered as Hungarian in 1657 and as Slovak in 1658.) Between 1657 and 1659, he finished the three lower grades (principia, grammatica, syntaxis), and by his grammatical year he had been converted.57 András Czernyansky58 and Gáspár Zambokrety,59 both of whom were from a noble family, were registered as Slovaks. András finished college with the exception of the topmost grade, rhetoric, between 1650 and 1653, while Gáspár completed only the two lowest grades in three years (1657–59). Both of them converted to Catholicism after (or during) their first year. András was from Szedlicsna, Trencsén county (today Trenčianske Stankovce–Sedličná, Slovakia).60 Gáspár probably was the descendant of the well-known noble Sámbokréty family from Nyitra county, because according to the registry he was from Lieszkó (today Cerová–Lieskové, Slovakia).61

The enrolment of non-Catholic students was acceptable in the first decades of the Jesuit colleges in both Győr and Pozsony. All we can suppose about the character of the Sopron College, given that we do not have its registry, is that it may have resembled the College of Pozsony. In the case of Pozsony, it is obvious that the presence of the Lutheran school significantly diminished the presence of Protestant pupils in the Catholic college. Further instances in Hungary are not yet known, hence it is not easy to offer an answer to the question as to which institution could be considered the most typical from the viewpoint of denominational proportions.

 

* * *

 

In conclusion, as this examination of school registries shows, the Jesuits were much more tolerant of non-Catholic pupils than has generally been assumed. This phenomenon can probably be taken as characteristic of other Hungarian Jesuit colleges, at least in the beginning and the middle of the seventeenth century. No one was deprived of the opportunity to attend higher grades, and it was not necessary to be Catholic in order to gain admission to the colleges. On the one hand, the reason for this can be found in the denominational proportions and the strength of the Protestant denominations in the Kingdom of Hungary. On the other hand, Protestants attended Catholic schools because these Jesuit colleges had hardly any competition: these institutions provided free education of the highest standard among the denominational schools.

Given the lack of sources, we can venture few conjectures regarding how the non-Catholic students participated in religious life, in Catholic liturgies, processions, prayers or even in dramatic performances of the school, if such participation was required of them at all. However, it seems that in their studies they were not discriminated against. For scholarship on the processes and trends in religious conversion in Hungary this statement is important: the use of new types of sources can enable us to challenge some the stereotypes that have gained widespread acceptance in the historiography. This can influence our understanding of ecclesiastical history and, in a narrow sense, the history of the Society of Jesus, but also, for the later centuries and with sociological methods, research on elites and schooling.62 Consequently, Jesuit colleges cannot be considered Catholic “wonder weapons” of conversion, although in the long run it is indisputable that their endeavors had a strong influence, which culminated in the Baroque Catholic Church.

 

Archival Sources

Archivum Romanum Societatis Iesu (ARSI)

Assistentia Germaniae, Provincia Austriae, Austr. 135–36.

Esztergomi Főszékesegyházi Könyvtár [Metropolitan Cathedral Library in Esztergom],

Matrica gymnasii Posoniensis ab anno 1650 usque ad annum 1725. Coll. Battyány, Cat. IX. Lit. Tit. I. f. (Matr. Pos.)

Magyar Nemzeti Levéltár Győr-Moson-Sopron Megyei Levéltárának Soproni Levéltára [National Archives of Hungary, Archives of Győr-Moson-Sopron County in Sopron], Sopron Város Levéltára [Archives of the Free Royal Town of Sopron]

Ratsprotokoll.

Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Handschriftensammlung (ÖNB)

Cod. 12218–12220.

Pannonhalmi Főapátsági Könyvtár Kézirattára [Library of the Benedictine Archabbey in Pannonhalma]

Catalogus discipulorum Jauriensis Gymnasii Societatis Jesu. 1630–1668. 120b A 19. (Cat. Jaur.)

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Deventer, Jörg. “Konversionen zwischen den christlichen Konfessionen im frühneuzeitlichen Europa.” Wiener Zeitschrift zur Geschichte der Neuzeit 7, no. 2 (2007): 8–24.

Fazekas, István. “Bevezetés helyett: katolikus megújulás a győri egyházmegyében a XVI. és XVII. században (kutatási lehetőségek és eredmények)” [Instead of an Introduction: Catholic Renewal in the Győr Diocese in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries (Research Options and Results)]. In István Fazekas. A reform útján: A katolikus megújulás Nyugat-Magyarországon [On the Way of Reform: The Catholic Renewal in West Hungary], 7–20. A Győri Egyházmegyei Levéltár Kiadványai, Források, feldolgozások 20. Győr: Győri Egyházmegyei Levéltár, 2014.

Fazekas, István. “Falusi közösségek hitváltoztatása a XVII. században” [Conversion of Village Communities in the Seventeenth Century]. In István Fazekas. A reform útján: A katolikus megújulás Nyugat-Magyarországon [On the Way of Reform: The Catholic Renewal in West Hungary], 187–95. A Győri Egyházmegyei Levéltár Kiadványai, Források, feldolgozások 20. Győr: Győri Egyházmegyei Levéltár, 2014.

Friedrich, Markus. “Circulating and Compiling the Litterae Annuae: Towards a History of the Jesuit System of Communication.” Archivum Historicum Societatis Iesu 77, no. 153 (2008): 3–39.

Horváth, József. Győri végrendeletek a 17. századból [Győr Wills from the Seventeenth Century]. Vol. 3. 1655–1699. Győr: Győr-Moson-Sopron Megye Győri Levéltára, 1997.

Horváth, Sándor. “Horvát diákok a nyugat-magyarországi jezsuita gimnáziumokban a XVII–XVIII. században” [Croatian Students in the West-Hungarian Jesuit Colleges in the Seventeenth–Eighteenth Centuries]. In A magyar jezsuiták küldetése a kezdetektől napjainkig [The Mission of the Hungarian Jesuits from the Beginning to Today], edited by Csaba Szilágyi, 520–38. Művelődéstörténeti Műhely Rendtörténeti konferenciák 2. Piliscsaba: Pázmány Péter Katolikus Egyetem, 2006.

Hsia, R. Po-chia. “Introduction.” In The World of Catholic Renewal, 1540–1770, 1–9. 2nd edition. Cambridge: University Press, 2005.

Kádár, Zsófia. “A jezsuiták letelepedése és kollégiumalapítása Győrben (1626–1630)” [The Settlement and College Foundation of the Jesuits in Győr (1626–1630)]. In In labore fructus: Jubileumi tanulmányok Győregyházmegye történetéből [Jubilee Studies from the History of Győr Diocese], edited by Gábor Nemes and Ádám Vajk, 209–34. A Győri Egyházmegyei Levéltár Kiadványai, Források, feldolgozások 13. Győr: Győri Egyházmegyei Levéltár, 2011.

Kádár, Zsófia. “A soproni jezsuita kollégium kezdetei: Dobronoki György SJ superiorsága (1636−1640)” [The Beginnings of the Sopron Jesuit College: György Dobronoki SJ’s Superiorship (1636−1640)]. Soproni Szemle 65 (2011): 381–402; 66 (2012): 54–70.

Kádár, Zsófia. “Jesuitische Kolleggründungen im westungarischen Raum in der ersten Hälfte des 17. Jahrhunderts: Die Beispiele von Győr/Raab und Sopron/Ödenburg.” In Frühneuzeitforschung in der Habsburgermonarchie: Adel und Wiener Hof − Konfessionalisierung – Siebenbürgen, edited by István Fazekas et al., 155−70. Publikationen der Ungarischen Geschichtsforschung in Wien 7. Vienna: Institut für Ungarische Geschichtsforschung in Wien, 2013.

Karády, Viktor, and Péter Tibor Nagy. Iskolázás, értelmiség és tudomány a 19–20. századi Magyarországon [Schooling, Intellectual Class and Science in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Hungary]. Szociológiai dolgozatok 5. Budapest: Wesley János Lelkészképző Főiskola, 2012.

Kolosvári, Sándor, and Kelemen Óvári. A dunántúli törvényhatóságok jogszabályai [The Laws of the Transdanubian Municipalities]. Vol. 5, bk. 2 of A magyar törvényhatóságok jogszabályainak gyüjteménye [The Collection of the Laws of the Hungarian Municipalities]. Budapest: n.p., 1904.

Lukács, Ladislaus. “De origine collegiorum externorum deque controversiis circa eorum paupertatem obortis (1539–1608).” Archivum Historicum Societatis Iesu 29 (1960): 189–245; 30 (1961): 3–89.

Markusovszky, Sámuel. A pozsonyi ág. hitv. evang. lyceum története kapcsolatban a pozsonyi ág. hitv. evang. egyház multjával [The History of the Pozsony Lutheran Lyceum in Connection with the Past of the Pozsony Lutheran Church]. Pozsony: Eder István, 1896.

Matheus, Ricarda. “Forschungsstand.” In Ricarda Matheus. Konversionen in Rom in der Frühen Neuzeit: Das Ospizio dei Convertendi 1673–1750. 3–18. Bibliothek des Deutschen Historischen Instituts in Rom 126. Berlin: de Gruyter, 2012.

Márkus, Dezső, ed. Corpus juris Hungarici. Magyar törvénytár: 1608–1657. évi törvényczikkek. Translated by Sándor Kolosvári and Kelemen Óvári. Budapest: Franklin-társulat, 1900.

Morvai, Gyula. Mezővárosi időszak 1600–1743 [The Market Town Period 1600–1743]. Vol. 1 of Győri Polgárkönyv [Citizen Register of Győr]. Levéltári Füzetek 10. Győr: Győr Megyei Jogú Város Levéltára, 2007.

Nagy, Iván. Magyarország családai czimerekkel és nemzékrendi táblákkal [Families in Hungary with Arms and Genealogical Tables]. Vol. 12. Pest: Beimel J. és Kozma Vazul, 1865.

Pálffy, Géza. The Kingdom of Hungary and the Habsburg Monarchy in the Sixteenth Century. Translated by Thomas J. and Helen D. DeKornfeld. CHSP Hungarian Studies Series 18. East European Monographs 735. Boulder, Col.: Social Science Monographs, 2009.

Payr, Sándor. A Dunántúli Evangélikus Egyházkerület története [The History of the Transdanubian Lutheran Diocese]. Vol. 1. Sopron: Székely és Társa, 1924.

Payr, Sándor. A reformáció kezdetétől az 1681. évi soproni országgyűlésig [From the Beginning of the Reformation to the Diet of Sopron in 1681]. Vol. 1 of A soproni evangélikus egyházközség története [The History of the Sopron Lutheran Parish]. Sopron: Soproni Ág. Hitv. Evang. Egyházközség, 1917.

Péter, Katalin. “A jezsuiták működésének első szakasza Sárospatakon” [The First Phase of the Jesuits’ Activity in Sárospatak]. In Katalin Péter. Papok és nemesek: Magyar művelődéstörténeti tanulmányok a reformációval kezdődő másfél évszázadból [Priests and Noblemen: Essays on the Hungarian Cultural History from the One-and-a-half Centuries after the Reformation], 186‒99. A Ráday Gyűjtemény tanulmányai 8. Budapest: Ráday Gyűjtemény, 1995.

Peper, Ines. “Einleitung.” In Ines Peper. Konversionen im Umkreis des Wiener Hofes um 1700. 13–28. Veröffentlichungen des Instituts für Österreichische Geschichtsforschung 55. Vienna–Munich: Böhlau–Oldenbourg, 2010.

Pintér, Márta Zsuzsanna. “A jezsuita ifjúság 17. századi példaképe: Holló Zsigmond” [The Model of the Seventeenth-century Jesuit Youth: Zsigmond Holló]. In Historicus Societatis Iesu: Szilas László Emlékkönyv [Historicus Societatis Iesu: Memorial Volume of László Szilas], edited by Antal Molnár, Csaba Szilágyi, and István Zombori, 322–31. METEM Könyvek 62. Budapest: METEM, 2007.

Pongrácz, Denis et al., ed. Pozsony vármegye nemes családjai [Noble Families in Pozsony County]. Somorja: Méry Ratio, 2008.

Scheutz, Martin. “Glaubenswechsel als Massenphänomen in der Habsburgermonarchie im 17. und 18. Jahrhundert: Konversionen bei Hof sowie die ‘Bekehrung’ der Namenlosen.” In Geheimprotestantismus und evangelische Kirchen in der Habsburgermonarchie und im Erzstift Salzburg (17./18. Jahrhundert), edited by Rudolf Leeb, Martin Scheutz, and Dietmar Weikl, 431–55. Veröffentlichungen des Instituts für Österreichische Geschichtsforschung 51. Vienna–Munich: Böhlau–Oldenbourg, 2009.

Shore, Paul. Narratives of Adversity. Jesuits on the Eastern Peripheries of the Habsburg Realms 1640–1773. Budapest–New York: CEU Press, 2012.

Stelling, Lieke, and Richardson, Todd M. “Introduction.” In The Turn of the Soul: Representations of Religious Conversion in Early Modern Art and Literature, edited by Lieke Stelling, Harald Hendrix, and Todd M. Richardson, 1–17. Intersections. Interdisciplinary Studies in Early Modern Culture 23. Leiden: Brill, 2012.

Winkelbauer, Thomas. Ständefreiheit und Fürstenmacht: Länder und Untertanen des Hauses Habsburg im Konfessionellen Zeitalter. Vol. 8, bk. 2 of Österreichische Geschichte 1522–1699, edited by Herwig Wolfram. Vienna: Verlag Carl Ueberreuter, 2003.

1 Litterae Annuae 1639. Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Handschriftensammlung (= ÖNB) Cod. 12218. 358r. – My research in Rome and in Vienna was supported by the scholarships of “Campus Hungary” (2013) and “Collegium Hungaricum (CH/2)” (2013) of the Balassi Institute (Budapest).

2 The story resembles the conversion of Zsigmond Holló, which was also the object of numerous school dramas, see below. Pintér Márta Zsuzsanna, “A jezsuita ifjúság 17. századi példaképe: Holló Zsigmond,” in Historicus Societatis Iesu: Szilas László Emlékkönyv, ed. Antal Molnár, Csaba Szilágyi, and István Zombori, METEM Könyvek 62 (Budapest: METEM, 2007), 322–31.

3 Catalogus discipulorum Jauriensis Gymnasii Societatis Jesu, 1630–1668. Pannonhalmi Főapátsági Könyvtár Kézirattára, 120b A 19. (= Cat.Jaur.) 44v, 47v.

4 On the contemporary religious situation of the Habsburg Empire see: Thomas Winkelbauer, Ständefreiheit und Fürstenmacht: Länder und Untertanen des Hauses Habsburg im Konfessionellen Zeitalter, vol. 8, bk. 2 of Österreichische Geschichte 1522–1699, ed. Herwig Wolfram (Vienna: Verlag Carl Ueberreuter, 2003), 9–90. Cf. R. Po-chia Hsia, “Introduction”, in The World of Catholic Renewal, 1540–1770. 2nd edition (Cambridge: University Press, 2005), 7–8.

5 On the notion of “missionary seigniorial counter-reformation” (“térítő földesúri ellenreformáció”) see: Katalin Péter, “A jezsuiták működésének első szakasza Sárospatakon,” in Katalin Péter, Papok és nemesek: Magyar művelődéstörténeti tanulmányok a reformációval kezdődő másfél évszázadból, A Ráday Gyűjtemény tanulmányai 8 (Budapest: Ráday Gyűjtemény, 1995), 186–99, and István Fazekas, “Falusi közösségek hitváltoztatása a XVII. században,” in István Fazekas, A reform útján: A katolikus megújulás Nyugat-Magyarországon, A Győri Egyházmegyei Levéltár Kiadványai, Források, feldolgozások 20 (Győr: Győri Egyházmegyei Levéltár, 2014), 187–95.

6 Cf. Géza Pálffy, The Kingdom of Hungary and the Habsburg Monarchy in the Sixteenth Century, transl. J. Thomas and Helen D. DeKornfeld, CHSP Hungarian Studies Series 18, East European Monographs 735 (Boulder, Col.: Social Science Monographs, 2009), 209–33.

7 Lieke Stelling and Todd M. Richardson: “Introduction,” in The Turn of the Soul: Representations of Religious Conversion in Early Modern Art and Literature, ed. Lieke Stelling, Harald Hendrix, and Todd M. Richardson, Intersections. Interdisciplinary Studies in Early Modern Culture 23 (Leiden: Brill, 2012), 1–17.

8 Cf. Ricarda Matheus, “Forschungsstand,” in Konversionen in Rom in der Frühen Neuzeit: Das Ospizio dei Convertendi 1673–1750, Bibliothek des Deutschen Historischen Instituts in Rom 126 (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2012), 3–18.

9 Cf. Ines Peper, “Einleitung,” in Konversionen im Umkreis des Wiener Hofes um 1700, Veröffentlichungen des Instituts für Österreichische Geschichtsforschung 55 (Vienna–Munich: Böhlau–Oldenbourg, 2010), 13–28.

10 Jörg Deventer, “Konversionen zwischen den christlichen Konfessionen im frühneuzeitlichen Europa,” Wiener Zeitschrift zur Geschichte der Neuzeit 7, no. 2 (2007): 8–24 (with a comprehensive bibliography).

11 These questions are also studied by Martin Scheutz, “Glaubenswechsel als Massenphänomen in der Habsburgermonarchie im 17. und 18. Jahrhundert: Konversionen bei Hof sowie die ‘Bekehrung’ der Namenlosen,” in Geheimprotestantismus und evangelische Kirchen in der Habsburgermonarchie und im Erzstift Salzburg (17./18. Jahrhundert), ed Rudolf Leeb, Martin Scheutz, and Dietmar Weikl, Veröffentlichungen des Instituts für Österreichische Geschichtsforschung 51 (Vienna–Munich: Böhlau–Oldenbourg, 2009), 431–55.

12 On the genre and documentary value of the Litterae Annuae see: Markus Friedrich, “Circulating and compiling the litterae annuae: Towards a history of the Jesuit system of communication,” Archivum Historicum Societatis Iesu 153 (2008): 3–37.

13 The registries have only been used to a lesser extent and with debatable success, e.g. Sándor Horváth, “Horvát diákok a nyugat-magyarországi jezsuita gimnáziumokban a XVII–XVIII. században,” in A magyar jezsuiták küldetése a kezdetektől napjainkig, ed. Csaba Szilágyi. Művelődéstörténeti Műhely Rendtörténeti konferenciák 2. (Piliscsaba: Pázmány Péter Katolikus Egyetem, 2006), 520–38. The analysis of the matriculae is proposed by István Fazekas, “Bevezetés helyett: katolikus megújulás a győri egyházmegyében a XVI. és XVII. században (kutatási lehetőségek és eredmények),” in Fazekas, A reform útján, 15.

14 Dezső Márkus, ed., Corpus juris Hungarici. Magyar törvénytár: 1608–1657. évi törvényczikkek, trans. Sándor Kolosvári and Kelemen Óvári (Budapest: Franklin-társulat, 1900), 15.

15 On the early phase of the development of the Jesuit college as an institution see: Ladislaus Lukács, “De origine collegiorum externorum deque controversiis circa eorum paupertatem obortis (1539–1608),” Archivum Historicum Societatis Iesu 29 (1960): 189–245, 30 (1961): 3–89.

16 On the foundation of each college see: Tamás Dénesi, “Missziótól a kollégiumig: Jezsuiták Pozsonyban 1635-ig,” Magyar Egyháztörténeti Vázlatok 10, no. 3−4 (1998): 87–115; Zsófia Kádár, “A jezsuiták letelepedése és kollégiumalapítása Győrben (1626–1630),” in In labore fructus: Jubileumi tanulmányok Győregyházmegye történetéből, ed. Gábor Nemes and Ádám Vajk, A Győri Egyházmegyei Levéltár Kiadványai, Források, feldolgozások 13 (Győr: Győri Egyházmegyei Levéltár, 2011), 209–34; Zsófia Kádár, “A soproni jezsuita kollégium kezdetei: Dobronoki György SJ superiorsága (1636−1640),” Soproni Szemle 65 (2011): 381–402, 66 (2012): 54–70; Zsófia Kádár, “Jesuitische Kolleggründungen im westungarischen Raum in der ersten Hälfte des 17. Jahrhunderts: Die Beispiele von Győr/Raab und Sopron/Ödenburg,” in Frühneuzeitforschung in der Habsburgermonarchie: Adel und Wiener Hof − Konfessionalisierung – Siebenbürgen, ed. István Fazekas et al., Publikationen der Ungarischen Geschichtsforschung in Wien 7 (Vienna: Institut für Ungarische Geschichtsforschung in Wien, 2013), 155−70.

17 Cf. Sámuel Markusovszky, A pozsonyi ág. hitv. evang. lyceum története kapcsolatban a pozsonyi ág. hitv. evang. egyház multjával (Pozsony: Eder István, 1896), 1–31.

18 Cf. Sándor Payr, A reformáció kezdetétől az 1681. évi soproni országgyűlésig, vol. 1 of A soproni evangélikus egyházközség története (Sopron: Soproni Ág. Hitv. Evang. Egyházközség, 1917), 202, 297–99.

19 Magyar Nemzeti Levéltár Győr-Moson-Sopron Megyei Levéltárának Soproni Levéltára, Sopron Város Levéltára, Ratsprotokoll, October 24, 1636.

20 Cf. Sándor Kolosvári and Kelemen Óvári, eds., A dunántúli törvényhatóságok jogszabályai, vol. 5, bk. 2 of A magyar törvényhatóságok jogszabályainak gyüjteménye (Budapest: n.p., 1904), 187–88. The statute of free royal town Sopron (1638), point 2.

21 Sándor Payr, A Dunántúli Evangélikus Egyházkerület története, vol. 1 (Sopron: Székely és Társa, 1924), 370.

22 Cf. note 11.

23 The conversion reports of juveniles are repeated in the Litterae Annuae almost every year; in the cases of Pozsony and Győr from 1630, and of Sopron from 1636.

24 Archivum Romanum Societatis Iesu (= ARSI), Austr. 135, 684 (Győr, 1630).

25 ÖNB Cod. 12218, 243v (Pozsony, 1637).

26 Cf. Pintér, A jezsuita ifjúság.

27 ÖNB Cod. 12218, 451r. (Győr, 1640).

28 Ibid., 12219, 136r. (Győr, 1642).

29 Ibid., 12220, 38v. (Győr, 1647).

30 Ibid., 12219, 81r. (Sopron, 1641), ÖNB Cod. 12220, 345r–v. (Sopron, 1650).

31 E.g. ARSI Austr. 136, 385. (Pozsony, 1635).

32 ÖNB Cod. 12220, 50r. (Pozsony, 1647).

33 Ibid., 226v. (Pozsony, 1649)

34 ARSI Austr. 135, 681. (Pozsony, 1630).

35 ÖNB Cod. 12219, 136r–v. (Győr, 1642).

36 Ibid., 180r. (Sopron, 1643).

37 Ibid., 12218, 448r.

38 Ibid., 12218, 245r. (Győr, 1637), ÖNB Cod. 12220, 38r. (Győr, 1647).

39 ARSI Austr. 135, 684., ÖNB Cod. 12220, 38r., ÖNB Cod. 12219, 404r., ÖNB Cod. 12220, 50r.

40 Ferenc Acsay, A győri kath. főgimnázium története 1626–1900 (Győr: n.p., 1901), 88–143.

41 Data from 1639 and partly from 1645 are missing. In 1644, schooling was interrupted due to the plague.

42 The register of 1655 is missing. The Pozsony register: Matrica gymnasii Posoniensis ab anno 1650 usque ad annum 1725, Esztergomi Főszékesegyházi Könyvtár, Coll. Batthyány, Cat. IX. Lit. Tit. I. f. (= Matr. Pos.).

43 Cat. Jaur., 21v.

44 Ibid., 25v. – We also know of other converted Israelites, especially young boys and their mothers, e.g. from Eperjes (today Prešov, Slovakia) in 1701, cf. Paul Shore, Narratives of Adversity. Jesuits on the Eastern Peripheries of the Habsburg Realms 1640–1773 (Budapest–New York: CEU Press, 2012), 102.

45 Cat. Jaur., 46r.

46 Ibid., 24v, 30r, 32v, 36v, 42v, 47r, 51r, 54v.

47 Ibid., 17v, 23v, 29r, 31v, 35v, 41v.

48 Gyula Morvai, Mezővárosi időszak 1600–1743, vol. 1 of Győri Polgárkönyv, Levéltári Füzetek 10 (Győr: Győr Megyei Jogú Város Levéltára, 2007).

49 Cat. Jaur., 38v, 47v, 51v, 54v.

50 József Horváth, Győri végrendeletek a 17. századból, vol. 3, 1655–1699 (Győr: Győr-Moson-Sopron Megye Győri Levéltára, 1997), 66–67 (no. 266.).

51 Cat. Jaur., 50v, 52v, 66v.

52 Ibid., 40r, 50v, 54r.

53 Ibid., 38r, 44v, 48v, 52r, 56r, 59r, 64r, 65v.

54 Matr. Pos., 11v, 18v, 24v, 30v, 36v. About the family: Denis Pongrácz et al., ed., Pozsony vármegye nemes családjai (Somorja: Méry Ratio, 2008), 398–99.

55 Matr. Pos., 9v, 16v, 22r, 30r.

56 Pongrácz, Pozsony vármegye, 395.

57 Matr. Pos., 50r, 55r, 59v.

58 Ibid., 11r, 18r, 23v, 30r.

59 Ibid., 49v, 56r, 60v.

60 I could not identify the family, it is not mentioned in the work of Iván Nagy (see below).

61 About the family: Iván Nagy, Magyarország családai czimerekkel és nemzékrendi táblákkal, vol. 12 (Pest: Beimel J. és Kozma Vazul, 1865), 25–29, Gáspár is not indicated.

62 Cf. e.g. Viktor Karády and Péter Tibor Nagy, Iskolázás, értelmiség és tudomány a 19–20. századi Magyarországon, Szociológiai dolgozatok 5 (Budapest: Wesley János Lelkészképző Főiskola, 2012), 9–29.

 

 

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